Bitty Ruminations #42

Posted on February 12, 2011


FEB 12 – Even those of us who’ll gladly clamber on rooftops to decry the uselessness of awards for art will have to bow before the cultural cachet of the Oscars — they’re an institution, dammit, even if that gives the sense of those who swear by it needing to be institutionalised. So come Oscar morning, and I’ll be in front of the telly — simultaneously attempting to pin down the Hindu crossword, which will hopefully not be constructed by Neyartha — rooting for The Social Network over The King’s Speech, which I found extraordinarily well-performed but otherwise extremely generic. I suppose what bothered me about the film was that it felt like it could have been put together by anyone, even the machine cutter at the assembly line who’s seen Driving Miss Daisy and heart-warmers of that ilk. Awards are meaningless, yes, but if the world’s most recognised, most coveted awards had to bestow legitimacy on a piece of filmmaking, should this be the chosen one?

That said, I found this an interesting way to postpone getting round to revising my review for Patiala House:

“But the Academy Awards have never been about daring. Thankfully, we have the Independent Spirit Awards, the Gotham Awards, and Cannes’ Camera d’Or, among others, to honor such achievements. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, despite its portentous name, is not composed of film theory professors and alternative weekly critics.”

PS: I suppose there are things to be grateful for. Avatar, for instance, isn’t making claims for Best Picture. (Best Touchy-feely 3-D Remake of Dances With Wolves? Oh, most certainly.)

PPS: That wasn’t to knock Neyartha, who — by all evidence — is a fiendishly clever cruciverbalist. But he/she does make you struggle, and struggle, sometimes, is not what you’re looking for. You’re just looking for a spot of memory-spiking distraction while dropping the kids off at the pool.