Skip the Oscars this year! Join me, and host a WALL-E party on Feb 22.

The Oscar nominations announced this morning are so spectacularly ridiculous that I’m not going to bother covering any Oscar news this year.

  • How any of those Supporting Actress nominations were chosen over Rosemarie Dewitt in Rachel Getting Married…
  • How The Reader could be chosen over WALL-E (oh, right, it’s about The Holocaust!)…
  • How Ron Howard could get a Best Director nomination over Andrew Stanton or Christopher Nolan…
  • How The Fall could be ignored for cinematography…
  • How Bill Irwin could be ignored for Best Supporting Actor…
  • How Charlie Kaufman’s incredible screenplay for Synecdoche, New York could be overlooked…
  • How The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — a rewrite of Forrest Gump that manages to run almost three hours in spite of having a central character who is completely uninteresting (outside of his disease symptoms, anyway) — got a Best Picture nomination…

Oh, never mind!

The Oscars have always been political, and have often overlooked great things. But this is beyond ridiculous.

So here’s my idea:

Join me in throwing a “BOYCOTT THE OSCARS” party, or host your own!

Round up your friends and join me in spirit, watching WALL-E.

Go even further if you like: Do a double feature of WALL-E and Shotgun Stories, or Rachel Getting Married.

That’s a plan for a much, much more rewarding time than watching the Academy celebrate something less deserving.

(And P.S., if they Academy was willing to nominate an animated film for Best Picture, why pick Benjamin Button over WALL-E?)

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  • Caleb

    oh man. i forgot about THE FALL. hmmm. i guess i am pretty mad now that you mentioned it.

    rewrite of Forest Gump. hahaha. thanks.

  • Glenn, you suggested that “taken as a piece of thought-provoking film, character development, and storytelling” WALL-E “was peerless this year.” My jaw drops.

    First off, as thought-provoking film, I fail to see how WALL-E was all that thought provoking. Any satire or observation it made was simplistic. The ecological message is a popular one these days, and humanity being reduced to consumers isn’t exactly novel, either. It was, I suppose, nice to see a bit more meat on a children’s film, but compared outside of that category, there’s nothing spectacular about the insights and questions WALL-E presents.

    Character development? WALL-E created some endearing characters, I’ll give you that. But was its character development masterful? By no means. It was, again, rather simple, and relied more of the trick that cuteness equates with depth. Wall-E himself was hardly that intricately characterized. Same with EVE. Cute as a button, but a nuanced, deep character? Not particularly. The rest of the supporting cast, from the humans to the helper robots, were pretty thinly sketched as well. The human captain, in particular, was a great disappointment, who can be summed up entirely as a generally decent ordinary guy.

    Storytelling? WALL-E’s storytelling was very interesting for the first half, where it told a simple love story set against the fascinating backdrop of a ruined earth. Its dependence on visual imagery was quite impressive. But then the movie leaves earth and everything shifts gears, and we’re in the generic “save the day, get the girl” syndrome (complete with the requisite “countdown” finale). It’s a set of cliches, one after the other, and it’s a real disappointment after the beautiful first half. I daresay it’s pretty uneven.

    Now, I don’t mean to be too down on WALL-E. It was great entertainment. But it’s been exalted as some magnificent cinematic achievement, and I don’t really think it is. Maybe – just maybe – in the genre of children’s entertainment alone (even though I daresay its not a masterpiece in those terms; Pixar has produced better product before). But outside of it? By no means.

  • Several comments I could give here, but can I ask one question?

    Did you review The Reader? If so, I must have missed it.

    Don’t wanna be another sour grape muncher. Thanks for the comic relief, Seth. One of the best one-liners I’ve read in a comments section in quite a while.

  • Glenn

    I’m down with all the disappointment over Wall-E. Taken as a piece of thought-provoking film, character development, and storytelling, it was peerless this year. And the comment about “sour grapes” would be witty if it made any sense at all. The “sour grapes” phrase is supposed to be used in the context of one’s own accomplishments being not recognized. The reason most of us are upset that Wall-E was snubbed springs from the larger issue – the Academy spiralling into its own irrelevance and losing more and more people every year. It seems the majority of the people who get caught up in Oscar fever are people who diligently see the movies nominated because they feel they SHOULD. I used to be one of those. Now, I only seem to have time for movies I want to see (that and the movies Jeff recommends, of course, wink). My two cents.

  • I too am disheartened. But I won’t add my loud voice to the din. I already blogged about it.

    I will silently pout instead. And plan an anti-Oscar party! What a great idea!

  • The Reader was nominated because there were so many Holocaust movies out this year, that it would just be terrible for Hollywood not to nominate one…Holocaust movies are award gold.

    Incidentally, any Extras fans here? Remember Kate Winslet in the premiere, doing a Holocaust drama and cynically noting that she was only doing it because Holocaust movies get Oscars?

  • It’s getting pretty loud in here, what with everyone ferociously munching on their sour grapes.

  • chessncoffee

    FWIW, I decided to compare the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic ratings of the five best picture nominees with WALL-E’s ratings. WALL-E better ratings on both sites than any of the nominees.

    I also thought it was interesting that The Reader has such low ratings for a Best Pic nominee- 60% on RT and 59 on Metacritic.

  • Jeremy Landes

    And where oh where were the Fireproof nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Screenplay…

    I’ll watch for the chance to see Richard Jenkins and Thomas Newman and Danny Boyle accept their first Oscars. I don’t understand why Millions, on this site, is deemed so much better than Slumdog Millionaire–the latter film was moving and managed to generate suspense when I ought to have known how it would end. Riveting entertainment and an especially rollicking soundtrack.

    How can I do an Oscar night screening of Rachel Getting Married if the DVD isn’t being released until March 17th? Do we rent a hotel room and try to access it through their pay TV?

  • For what it’s worth, Brett, I preferred Winslet in The Reader — but that might be because I found her character in Revolutionary Road so annoying that I responded as though it were the actress who was annoying. That’s just one of many things that I’d revisit if I had time to do a round of second viewings.

    Also for what it’s worth, when the local film critics group did its awards, I nominated Winslet for The Reader, but she ended up being nominated for both performances (that is, one nomination for two movies, rather than two separate nominations), and I made a point of voting for someone else just because I didn’t care to honour Revolutionary Road or her performance therein. She won anyway, though.

    Count me among the people who like the idea of Gran Torino better than the film itself. As for The Dark Knight, I like it a lot, and it will almost certainly make my top-ten list, but there are just enough “issues” to be had with the film that I don’t begrudge the Academy or anyone else for leaving it out of the top five.

  • I fail to see how these nominations are any worse than usual.

    Furthermore, I don’t think WALL-E is that great. It’s as over-hyped as any single film from the past year.

  • chessncoffee

    Really awful choices. Not only did they choose The Reader over The Dark Knight and WALL-E, but they didn’t even nominate Christopher Nolan for Best Director. Very disappointing.

  • I agree that these nominations were terrrrrrrrrrible. I might skip watching the show too.
    No Gran Torino? No Sally Hawkins best actress? No cinematography nom for Revolutionary Road? No best song nom for The Wrestler or Gran Torino? Winslet for The Reader rather than Revolutionary Road (which was much better work)??
    I was happy with Benjamin Button cleaning up (though I know that vexes you, Jeffrey). And Slumdog’s inexplicable juggernaut was to be expected. Glad to see Herzog get a nomination for “Encounters…”
    Other than that, these nominations might go down as the worst ever. I do hope David Fincher wins.

  • I was happy with the Richard Jenkins nod, and the score nomination for “Benjamin Button,” but other than that, I agree. And if it looks like “Slumdog” will sweep it, I think I will boycott it.

  • Loathe as I am to contribute to the overhyping of WALL-E, I did note at my blog today that WALL-E probably holds the record now as the animated film with the most Oscar nominations ever. Ratatouille had five nominations last year, and Beauty and the Beast had six nominations in four categories back in 1991 — but WALL-E, as far as I can tell, is the first animated film to be nominated for six different awards. So there’s still a milestone of sorts, here. Call it incremental progress.

    Similarly, The Dark Knight got eight nominations, which is practically unheard-of for a comic-book movie. I can’t think, right now, of any comic-book movie that has had more than three (or four, if we count the original Superman‘s special achievement award), and usually they just get recognized in the technical categories. This film, on the other hand, has the all-important supporting-actor, cinematography and film-editing nominations, among others. (Film-editing might not sound like a big deal, but it has been nearly three decades since a film won Best Picture without being at least nominated in the film-editing category, so the category does have a certain “prestige” quotient, arguably.) So there’s a breakthrough of sorts on that front, too.

  • I’m not going to bite at the ‘Slumdog’ bashing–I loved it, although I can definitely understand why some people may not. That’s part of the subjectivity of movies, I guess.

    And while I think some nominations were genuniely surprising and welcome–Richard Jenkins, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Shannon–I find myself very deflated about the Oscars this year, even if three of the films (Slumdog, Reader and Frost/Nixon) did make it on my top 10 list. WALL-E deserved a nomination and I’m very saddened–but not surprised–to see that the wonderful Ballast was overlooked; the direction on that was phenomenal, especially considering it’s a debut film. I don’t think Dark Knight deserved a Best Picture nomination per se, but I would’ve placed it there instead of The Reader, Milk or Ben Button.

    I think I’ll take Jeff up on his offer and do an Oscar boycott party of my own–of course, WALL-E will be on the list. But what else? The Wrestler? Revolutionary Road? The Visitor? Man on Wire? In Bruges?

  • I do think the nomination of Michael Shannon was an excellent choice, but I’m confused as to how Winslet didn’t earn a nomination for her work in the same film. I thought she was excellent for the most part. Maybe they figured she would just lose anyway.

    Potential Slumdog Millionaire sweep again?

    Sure hope not.

  • Yep, the Richard Jenkins nom was the only pleasant surprise in the bunch.

  • I hear you (and you didn’t even mention Best Song, which I found very curious) – but there are a few things here that I’m happy to see, namely the nomination of Richard Jenkins over Clint Eastwood or Leonardo DiCaprio. Also, this year’s crop of Documentaries is pretty extraordinary wouldn’t you say? And I still need to catch ‘Waltz with Bashir’… You can go to my site to see a little of my take on the Oscar nominations (as well as ‘Rachel Getting Married’, ‘Still Life’, and ‘Shotgun Stories’…)

  • Gaith

    I agree 100% – boorrrinnngg!

    Being a San Franciscan, of the Best Picture nominees, I shamelessly root for my hometown. Viva “Milk”!

  • Meghan

    I’m down. :)