2013: And the snubbed Oscar goes to…

This is nothing new. The Academy Awards have been snubbing actors, directors, composers, writers, and films for years. Unfortunately it has been more harshly displayed with each passing year. In recent years I’ve noticed major snubs to great performances, beautiful scores, and remarkable directing. Why doesn’t the Academy acknowledge those artists? Let’s talk about it… shall we?

When the 2012 Academy Awards nominations were released I was disappointed to see who was excluded from recognition, again.

Image The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was a big surprise for me since its predecessor in the Batman Trilogy, The Dark Knight (2008), was nominated for 8 Oscars and won the Best Supporting Actor and Sound Editing categories. Sadly, I’m beginning to believe that the Academy and other film watchers now associate TDKR with the Aurora Shootings. It is because of that link that it was not nominated for Sound Editing or Original Score for Hans Zimmer, among a list of possibilities. I understand that the Academy doesn’t want to appear to be praising a film and its link to gun violence, a hot topic no one wants to be associated with… but come on? So many worked hard on that film. They deserve some sort of recognition. Don’t be so uptight, Academy. I wept for Christopher Nolan and his film. This picture was snubbed from at least 6 categories this year.

Best Supporting Actor this year. I don’t like it. Aside from The Master (2012), I have seen all best supporting role nominees this past year. All of the men have been previous winners-nominees before the nominations for this year was announced. Granted, their roles in those pictures added flavor to the dialog, but I didn’t buy some. I didn’t see the need for Alan Arkin’s nomination for Argo (2012). I loved his character, but I didn’t see it as Oscar worthy. He didn’t move me like the other nominees have. He just made me laugh. Who I would have liked to see nominated was Tom Holland for his performance in The Impossible (2012).

ImageHe and Naomi Watts were brilliant together. I was convinced they were mother and son, and that their love for one another rich and real. Tom Holland’s character brought me to tears and left me biting my nails, rocking back and forth, praying for a happy resolution to his heart breaking story in the film. This young man was r-o-b-b-e-d of a nomination.

As was Javier Bardem for his role in Skyfall (2012), but I’m still on the fence about him being nominated or not. We can move on from this… I suppose.

As soon as I saw the Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and The Avengers (2012) were nominated instead of The Dark Knight Rises (2012), I wanted to scream my lungs out and shake someone. Of course, I didn’t. I’ve regained composure, eventually. Breathing in, breathing out. Calming myself. Those were good films, I suppose worth of recognition for their art direction. All this isn’t stopping my jaw from drooping to my keyboard, shaking my head in disappointment. I sometimes wonder what is wrong with the Academy’s mind. You know you have also.

Can we also talk about Jacki Weaver’s role in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)? I absolutely loved this movie! It was relatable, beautiful, tearful, inspiring, everything I love in a movie, but Jacki Weaver? She did a good job portraying the anxious mother-obedient wife, I just didn’t see it as nomination worthy. Which has brought me to conclusion that the Academy was lazy in picking their Best Supporting Actresses this year. They must have had their obvious list done and saw that they had a slot left to fill. She was hardly on screen! When she was in a scene she barely said any lines, just standing their with sad eyes, quivering behind Robert DeNiro. They thought this was worthy of a nomination? Please.

ImageI would have rather seen Kara Hayward from Moonrise Kingdom (2012) nominated for Best Supporting Actress. That was a role worth talking about. Not Jacki Weaver. No.

Ben Affleck snubbed from Best Director? We don’t even need to talk about this. You know they’re wrong. (Argo Fuck Yourself)

Do you see what I mean? Every year the Academy wow’s me with their ridiculous snubs and nominees. I will never understand it. Many things do not make sense to me. It is either pure laziness, actually taking a chance and nominate someone who has worth to be nominated, or they didn’t connect with what they saw on screen.

I’m done with this topic. There are past years that have disappointed me also. We’ll discuss this in another post.

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Our Problem with Book-to-Movie Adaptations

I’ve noticed for a while that we, as book readers, have a major problem with book-to-movie adaptations. Although, this genre has existed about the same length as films have, we still aren’t 100% satisfied with the finished product. A thought does creep inside my mind is that not many of us are aware of the process that’s involved when it comes to creating a film. It is, also, unfortunate that we cannot be directors or talented screen writers to make our own movie or else a number of us would have done that before the actual Hollywood movie was made.

For instance, I know a script is usually, on average, between 90 to 125 pages long because it represents the number of minutes of screen time (this is what I learned in a screen writing class I took my junior year of college). Let’s think about this: a script may go over 125 pages by ten to twenty pages- no big deal, right? How can we expect a 300 page book to be represented in such a condensed style? Even with this knowledge we still disregard the fact that a script and movie can only be a certain length, and that movie goers won’t be too pleased to be sitting on their behinds for an extended period of time.

This is where the buzzard goes off in our heads. We feel that the book we’ve committed to reading should be respected and be rightfully represented on screen- wrong. It isn’t as if the book has been completely torn to shreds, it’s only being expressed through a different set of eyes and minds. Not everyone took the same interpretation from the certain books developed, nor was everyone fond of unimportant details that could have been thrown out. Let’s remember that most films have this phrase appear in the credits: based on the novel so & so by so & so. The keyword is based, meaning only few things of the novel, really the heart of the novel, will be featured in the final film. All things are up for interpretation and if the screen-writer and director go a different route with the book-to-movie then so be it. Let us be open to their interpretation of it.

Be warned, this may include some spoilers to those who haven’t read the novel or seen the film.

Take example the 2011 adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” directed by David Fincher. I have previously written in another post that I consider this to be a classic film, as well as David Fincher classic. Many were looking forward to this adaptation of the first installation of the Millennium trilogy by Steig Larrson- as there are many not in favor of the cast or making of the movie. True, I had some doubts when I saw Rooney Mara (still an unknown actress to me at the time) taking the lead role of my favorite lead woman in a novel, Lisbeth Salander. After the first trailer, I was convinced they chose to right person. Yes, I have seen the Swedish adaptations (note how I do not refer to them as “originals”). I thought they were decent adaptations, until I saw they left out major details. Example: The method to how Blomkvist figures out that the initials and numbers in Harriet’s diary are actually Bible verses referring to the deaths of women Harriet’s father raped and killed was significant in the book and important. Instead they wrote that the way he figured all this was because Salander was still hacked into his computer and told him how. No, no, no. No. That is not how it’s done. You cannot get rid of, what I considered to be a main contribution, in the film because you didn’t want to commit to it. No. I don’t care if the actors were Swedish (the true language of the books), you still have to be more than true. This was my problem with book-to-movie adaptations. As well as everyone else’s problem.

The truth of the matter is, is that it’s one thing to rewrite scenes to make it work on screen and to take out not important plots, which let’s be honest sometimes there are many of those in the books we read, but to actually redo a vital role in what moves the plot forward is insulting. I have no problem with scenes or characters that contribute nothing to the plot, it is when someone chooses to do something completely different for the sake of not hiring another actor to play a small but large role in the film doesn’t make sense to me. That is when I guarantee to having a problem with that adaptation. Other than this type of dilemma I’m more understanding because the bulk of the novel isn’t just the character interactions but the details of what the character is doing or where the novel takes place in.

Remember, we will never be 100% satisfied with a book-to-movie adaptation. It’s apparent that I’m not  ever happy either, but I accept it because I am more understanding with what it means when the film says “based on the novel.” Unless it says “Entirely from the novel,” then that’s another story. We’re the audience and we like to complain. It’s in our nature. Once we get over ourselves we’ll probably be able to appreciate the movie. Although I’ve spent some time explaining the book-writing-to-screen process we’ll always leave the theater whining.

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