...until Oscar weekend! Where does the time go? We are so deep into awards season that we even have a scandal on our hands. For those who haven't heard, the apparently naive, possibly just stupid, probably well-intentioned producer of The Hurt Locker, Nicolas Chartier, sent an e-mail to a lot of Academy members asking them to vote for The Hurt Locker for best picture. And asking them not to vote for the movie that cost $500 million (Avatar, for those of you living under a rock). Because we need independent film and films like The Hurt Locker to be recognized, so tell your friends and they'll tell two friends and so on...
All of which was, as the Los Angeles Times put it, "a direct violation of Academy etiquette and rules." So Nicolas Chartier has since sent a second e-mail apologizing for being naive and stupid as a first-time nominee. With the Oscar ballots due any day now, the question on everyone's minds is, what effect will this have on the Best Picture votes? The Hurt Locker was all set to be the Best Picture frontrunner; has he now shot himself in the foot (so to speak) and handed the prize to Avatar? Or will the e-mail "work" even though it was retracted? Will The Hurt Locker still win but NOT because of the last-ditch "campaign"? Or, and here's my favorite option, maybe will everyone in the Academy (who hasn't yet mailed off a ballot) realize from this that they are sick of the whole Avatar-Hurt Locker Cameron-Bigelow thing and vote en masse for Up in the Air or Inglourious Basterds, which I personally would prefer to see win?
And frankly, I'm still curious to see what exactly the Academy "Oscar campaign" rules say. I love me some L.A. Times but I haven't seen any details, even from them. One blog commenter suggested that it's because ol' Nicolas Chartier specifically campaigned against another film, instead of just plugging his own. Others say contacting members directly with the e-mail was the offense. The Academy won't comment officially until the ballot deadline, at 5 p.m. this coming Tuesday.
However, the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon ("That's because they were crouching! And hidden!" - Steve Martin) people apparently ran afoul of some Academy rules back in their 2000 day, sending both DVD and VHS screeners, when you are allowed to send only one media format to the Academy members. Bad tiger! Naughty dragon! Their punishment? They were docked four ticket to some awards season event. If The Hurt Locker is found guilty in its military tribunal of enemy combatants necessary to protect our -- oh, wait -- by the Academy, they might, like, lose some seats at the Kodak Theater on Oscar night rather than being disqualified or anything.
So - oh. Okay.
Speaking of Oscar seats, I had the most amazing dream that I was in them! It was a couple nights ago. I was totally nominated for an Oscar in the "Animal Handling" category. Haha! (No, it doesn't exist. I'm so glad you get internet service under that rock, there, to read my blog.) I was apparently the animal handler for some film about rats. I was totally excited (obvio) but had forgotten to tell my friends, apparently, so I had to blog really quick and tell everyone to be sure and watch the early, small categories portion of the ceremony. When I got to my seat, I decided I was not the front runner because I was seated in the middle of the row, and one of my competitors in the Animal Handling category was on the aisle. Brian was supposed to be with me, but we didn't get a limo, so he was looking for a place to park and missed the whole red carpet and everything. It was such a long, involved, vivid, and detailed dream, but it unfortunately ended right after that and so I didn't get to see whether The Hurt Locker beats Avatar.
Back to real life, today we saw The Last Station. I had to finish the book first, then let it settle for a few days. I liked the movie even more than the book, and I thought Helen Mirren was wonderful! Won't it be exciting if she snatches the Best Actress Oscar away from the Meryl/Sandra who's-it-gonna-be-anyone's-guess match-up? I could see anyone in that category winning, actually. The other nominees are Gabourey Sidibe, which, generally the whole first-time-nominee-first-time-actress thing is just a nomination and everyone knows it, but you never know. And Carey Mulligan in An Education was fantastic! I mean, she was REALLY good. And I feel like voters will recognize a really good Best Actress performance, regardless of all the odds and favorites and whatnot. It would be so crazy and great to see her win! But I'm wondering if it's not going to be Meryl's year, again, finally.
I really have no idea what the upsets of the night will be, but I am pulling for a Best Picture upset. No offense intended to The Hurt Locker, and totally not because of the scandalous e-mail (whatever! Awards season is one long campaign, way more intrusive than a silly email. Did he update his Facebook status and tweet "Vote for my film!" too? Please) but just because I think Inglourious Basterds was the better film. A magnificent achievement, in fact.
Next time, we'll talk Shorts.