Wednesday, August 08, 2018

About the Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a new category for the Oscars; Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Nobody’s actually decided what the criteria might be for said film, how they might calibrate said popularity, whether there’s an online poll or a focus group or a pin in a list or they just put the question to the same people who vote for the... what will it be now, Unpopular Film? Is there a certain level of ticket sales or rentals a film has to hit in order to qualify? Is it down to likes on Facebook or Instagram or whatever the young folk will be into next year? Or they could just ask Warren Beatty what he reckons – and then pick something else.

The funny thing is that nobody at the Academy thinks that these elusive Popular Films actually need such an award; they’re popular, which is an award in itself. It’s just that very few people are bothering to watch the Oscars ceremony on telly, so the Academy isn’t making enough money from it, which is another reason I’d be wary of taking their word on what popularity and how it should be done. And will anyone who hasn’t already seen a movie be tempted to see it because it’s the Best Popular Film?

“So this is the Best Film?”
“No, it’s the Best Popular Film.”
“Well it can’t be that Popular, if we haven’t seen it.”
“No, not the Most Popular – the Best Popular. The Most Popular Film wasn’t nominated.”
“Why not?”
“It wasn’t very good.”
“But we saw it.”
“Yes. Everyone did. Hence its Popularity.”

In essence, what a Best Popular Film award will say is that This Film Is Good – Just Not Quite As Good As The (Less Popular) Best Film. Which I’m sure will look great on the posters.

And it’s going to be Black Panther anyway, so there we go.

PS: Oh, hang on though...


PPS: Apparently it’s Piers Morgan’s fault.

PPPS: More sensibly, IndieWire comes up with seven new categories we actually need.

PPPPS: This:

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

About Stalin and Magritte

Don’t ask me why I ended up at the home page of the Stalin Society of North America. And, when you haven’t asked me that, don’t ask me why they’re co-opting Surrealist iconography (and my Blogger profile pic) for their murky ends.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

About Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh has written a piece in which she discusses a brief, strange, awkward sort-of-relationship she had 20 years ago with a well-known writer that she refers to as “Rupert Dicks”. In the accompanying interview, Alex Clark says, “Inevitably readers will come to it in the context of the wider conversation about male privilege and predatory behaviour.” Which may well be true, but surely they’ll also come to it in the context of WHO THE HELL IS IT?

I’m saying John Updike, but what do I know?