Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | March 12, 2010

So Why did Avatar Lose at The Oscars?


As I have done every year (except in 2008, when I spent the weekend in New Orleans), I sat through the 3-hour-long telecast of the Oscars. I guess because of tradition, it is the only awards show I actually

watch, even if I haven’t seen all of the nominees (10 this year!) beforehand.

I guess I was a bit surprised that James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar didn’t win Best Film (the reason for having ten nominees was to make sure big movies were included on the list), but if anyone was surprised that he lost Best Director to Katherine Bigelow, I must say that I really wasn’t. After all, this was sort of a controversial awards season, and the odds were not at all in Cameron’s favor.

First, there is the fact that there was a woman nominated for that category. There had been a lot of criticism that the Academy favored testosterone a bit too much (only two other women were nominated in the past, and they both lost). Also, there was also a nomination for Lee Daniels, the first-ever African-American director nominated in that category. In the age of Obama (please do not read anything between the lines here… there is nothing), many organizations are trying to make amends for their past behavior towards minorities, and the Academy does have a spotty record in this case.

Also, in James Cameron’s interviews at the time of Avatar’s release, he came off a bit arrogant, and Academy voters hate this kind of attitude, and prefer to vote for movie makers with a humbler behavior.

As for the ceremony itself, I must say that having two hosts was a clever idea, but pairing Steve Martin with Alec Baldwin was not such a great idea. While they each had great individual moments, when paired together their jokes just fell flat. Martin’s quip about having been a “poor black kid” on his first movie (true: in The Jerk his character was raised by an African-American family and saw himself as a black man) fell flat and even got some boos. His other Precious quip on the movie “living up to its video game” was met with puzzled looks from the cast and crew present at the auditorium. I realize a lot of people disagree with me on that one (judging from the responses I got to my Tweets during the telecast), but I think they should think about bringing Billy Crystal back.. again.

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