Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Because popularity doesn't negate quality - Warner Bros goes the distance for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II Oscar love.

Warner Bros. is going full-force with their Oscar hopes for the final Harry Potter film, as evidenced by the above trailer, a 44-page booklet included with this week's Hollywood Reporter, and their official website, which features a list of 'for your consideration' categories and samples of Alexandre Desplat's moody score.  I'm actually torn on this one, as while I certainly believe that the series overall deserves some kind of Oscar acknowledgement for its accomplishments, the eighth film in the series is not anywhere near my favorite of the series.  Having said that, had the Academy kept the ten-nominee rule, the film would have been all-but guaranteed a Best Picture nomination.  And I'm convinced that the change to however its going to work this year was a specific change from elitist Academy members in order to prevent 'popular entertainments' such as this one, an overwhelming majority of positive reviews aside, from getting Oscar love.  So it does indeed look like we'll have another batch of Best Picture contenders that are merely 'appropriate' Oscar bait, regardless of how audiences and critics actually felt about them (The Reader and Revolutionary Road both have lower 'Tomato Meter' scores than Tower Heist and Snakes on a Plane).  If only for that absurd ideology ("Eeek!  People saw and liked it... it's not worthy!"), I kinda hope that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II sneaks into the final 5-10 anyway.

Scott Mendelson 


Ekpookwong93 said...

In other words genre bias. It's funny how once upon a time if a movie was the highest grossing picture of the year(as HP is in 2011), regardless of critical reception, domestically it was instantly a Best Picture contender. Look at the 70s and with the exception of GREASE in '78 every top grossing movie yearly during that decade was a Best Picture nominee.

Scott Mendelson said...

The art-house explosion of 1996 changed the game somewhat. Before that, the would-be Oscar bait films were generally big-studio pictures that happened to be of a certain caliber and had both audience and critical approval. Sure, there were one or two in the final five that were critical darlings, but the majority of the nominees (and usually the eventual winner) were films that the majority of audience members watching the Oscars on television had actually seen and enjoyed. That's changed. Now (not counting the last two ten-nominee years) the opposite is true, where the majority of awards contenders are just that - films created seemingly for the sole purpose of winning awards and often hidden from public view for as long as possible so as to prevent audience disinterest from affecting its Oscar hopes. The problem in 2008 was not that The Dark Knight and/or Wall-E weren't nominated for Best Picture. The problem is that their spots were taken by little-seen and often overrated awards-bait pictures that absolutely no one remembers just three years later. Has anyone given a second thought to Frost/Nixon or The Reader since that year's Oscars ended back in February 2009? Does anyone still feel anything at all about Revolutionary Road? In celebrating 'the year in film', there should be a wide spectrum of choices, which is why the ten-film rule worked so well. It's about the whole calendar year, not just five films that were released right at the end of the year and ended up in quasi-wide release in February of the next year after the nominations were already announced.


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