The Oscars, once again trying to do something to mix it up, have further diluted their already severely degraded brand. Much as Chris Rock said that the Oscars are about movies only white people watch (being as the world is divided into two distinct groups: white people and black people; white people talk like this and black people like this), this year they’re trying to make the whole thing that much more populist – and therefore meaningless.
Ten Best Picture nominees, but only five Best Director nominees. This is the same thing as there being only five Best Picture nominees. The Best picture and Best Director don’t always line up; one need only look at 2005, when Ang Lee rightly won Best Director for Brokeback Mountain, and Paul Haggis’ execrable Crash took Best Picture.
You may have noticed that Brokeback Mountain still gets mentioned for many reasons, not least of which being the still somewhat raw tragedy of Heath Ledger (a bizarrely opposite parallel to the movie itself), while Crash is mentioned largely for the fact that it undeservedly won Best Picture and the various shallow implications it had for race relations.
Ten Best Pictures! What a spread! They run from the criminally overrated (An Education, Up in the Air), the way out there (District 9), the sadly without a chance (Up), the extremely popular (Avatar), to the totally mystifying (The Blind Side).