Feb 21, 2015

What Hollywood sees in the mirror

'The Oscars are about self-image, picking a Best Picture that will act as an ambassador for the Hollywood filmmaking community. It’s about how the industry wishes to be seen. This year, the picture that emerges is a Dorian-Grey-like portrait of deep ambivalence.   Outside, it’s raining dragons and superheroes, but inside the comfort of the Kodak theatre it’s renegades, indies and mavericks, with the biggest haul of the night possibly going to Wes Anderson, the dauphin prince of corduroy quirk, for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Best Picture, meanwhile, has turned into ahead-to-head fight between  Linklater’s gentle, mild-mannered bildungsroman, Boyhood and Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s fabulous, nutty, bravura deconstruction of Hollywood’s superhero complex. The artistic redemption of those up to their elbows in blockbuster dollars is exactly what Iñárritu’s film is about, although one of the reasons the race has been so difficult to call is that both films represent the kind of critically acclaimed, left field pick that, in any other year, would be playing underdog to the studio’s 600lb goliath. In the absence of any such beast, the field is all underdogs — all Davids. Increasingly, the Oscars seem to be functioning almost as a kind of wish-fulfillment — a visit to an alternative universe where, for one night of the year, the industry can reward the very films it spent the other 364 days of the year coming up with watertight reasons not to make.'  
— from my piece about the Oscars and the disappearance of Hollywood's mid-budget movie for the Financial Times

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