Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oscar's post-hangover questions

Okay, the ceremony was Sunday, so it was a really long hangover. That can happen. Especially when you celebrate like this. I'm coherent enough to answer some questions now.

Did Martin Scorsese win out of sentiment? Maybe some Academy members felt the need to redress past slights, but ultimately, no. The big surprise of the evening was that there wasn't a Picture/Director split; Oscar rewarded Scorsese's film as well.

Who's the next Martin Scorsese? In other words, with Robert Altman dead, who's the next director perceived as the most deserving of an award? If I were pressed to provide one name, I'd say Sidney Lumet. Some other notables: Peter Weir, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Joel Coen, Ridley Scott, James Ivory, Norman Jewison. And of course Tim Burton, for anyone who remembers his cameo (here, at the 1:57 mark) in Singles.

Will Peter O'Toole ever win a competitive Oscar? No. This was his last chance, and he knows it. His honorary Oscar will have to suffice.

After O'Toole, who can claim the longest Oscar drought? Probably a woman. Kate Winslet and Glenn Close each have 5 nominations and no wins. But let me suggest someone who's missed out on a win for her past 10 nominations: 2-time winner Meryl Streep. I see no reason why Jack Nicholson can win a third Oscar but she can't.

Will Eddie Murphy ever win an Oscar? Possibly. He would have to play a straight-up dramatic role against type, though. Dreamgirls was his best chance to win an Oscar within the confines of being Eddie Murphy. (His chances improve significantly if he goes back to writing.)

Will a foreign language film ever win Best Picture? We've had foreign language winners in the writing and acting categories. Scanning through the past 40 years, though, only 7 films have been nominated for the big prize: Z; The Emigrants; Cries and Whispers; Il Postino; Life is Beautiful; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Letters from Iwo Jima.

I think it will happen. The Oscars have gradually become a global award ceremony, celebrating much more than American film. Plus, the Academy membership grows more diverse as all those nominees from China, New Zealand, and Mexico accumulate.

Perhaps it's more appropriate to ask if that eventual non-English winner will have a non-English speaking director, or if we get a hybrid, like last year's offerings from Clint Eastwood or Mel Gibson. (Such films are ineligible for the Foreign Film category, and therefore can't be ghettoized.)


Mainline Mom said...

Wow it's been forever since I've seen Singles, one of my faves, and it still comes back to me like yesterday. But looking at Matt Dillon I couldn't help seeing the guy from Something About Mary :)

Ookami Snow said...

I did not know that they gave out honorary Oscars. Kinda like the mandatory "place" ribbons they had at school for everyone else that was in an event and didn't win?

Neel Mehta said...

Mainline Mom: Matt Dillon looks ridiculous with lightened long hair, but the guy is ageless.

Ookami Snow: Honorary Oscars are a little bit more prestigious than that. They're essentially a lifetime achievement award, and aren't necessarily given out every year. But yeah, it's usually a chance for the Academy to honor someone that never won competitively.