22 February 2013
OSCAR'S FAMILY TREE
In two days, the 85th Academy Awards ceremony will be held, honoring the best films of 2012 in the United States. Because I live in a town whose theaters cater to the lowest common denominator (i.e., showing popular movies which rake in the maximum revenue, as opposed to showing excellent movies) I have seen only one of this year's nominees ~ Lincoln. It is a superb film.
Today's NYTimes featured a fascinating visual resembling a six degrees of separation chart. On it are the photos and names of the actors and directors of the year's most prestigious films. Lines connect individuals via films in which they've worked with other nominees. Other, short lines connect to dots representing an association with films nominated in years past. If you place your cursor over the various intersections and dots, the relevant film title, year, and award nomination appears.
For many years, the tradition was to limit the number of nominations to five in the top categories ~ best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress. This year there are nine nominations for best picture ~ one hopes this is a reflection of the high number of excellent films shown in 2012.
An aside ~ I've always thought it odd that, in our culturocentricity, we only have one category with five nominees devoted to "foreign" films (those made outside the U.S.). World cinema is far more extensive, nuanced, and diverse that American films alone can possibly represent. The list of wonderful movies from other countries is impressive, and most are short-changed by the rules of the Academy. This limitation is a disservice to those films, and a disservice to American audiences.
In any event, I'll probably tune in and out of the televised awards. It's fun to star-gaze, but the speeches can be interminable.