Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Oscar nominations in a "go-figure" year

    Perusing the list of Oscar nominations for 2023 was a bit like scanning a giant smorgasbord table at which no one bothered to coordinate the cuisines. 
   Perhaps taking a cue from the title of the most nominated picture — Everything Everywhere All At Once — the Academy created a crazy quilt portrait of an industry torn by pressures to diversify, wobbly box office, and no clear consensus about what constitutes high-quality viewing.
   Writing in The New York Times, Brooks Barnes provided the best overview of Oscar 2023:
    “In some ways, spreading nominations widely reflected the jumbled state of Hollywood. No one in the movie capital seems to know which end is up, with streaming services like Netflix hot then not, and studios unsure about how many films to release in theaters and whether anything but superheroes, sequels and horror stories can succeed.”

   Go figure. On the 10-movie best-picture list, you’ll find titles as wide-ranging as Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Elvis. Talk about a multiverse.

    Each of those movies, by the way, already can be streamed, as can many of the other Oscar nominees. Gone are the days when Oscar nominations provided theaters (remember them?) with much-needed revenue boosts.

    If home is where the movies are, that's also where a lot of movie talk has gone. With more people opting to work from home, water-cooler talk may have vanished from the American experience, having been replaced by any number of online options.

  By evening, more folks likely will be wondering about the classified documents that turned up at Mike Pence's house than whether Women Taking, a best-picture nominee, has any shot at winning.

  No matter what levels the Oscar buzz reaches or doesn't, the Academy Awards will be telecast on March 12. You can find a full list of nominees on the Academy's site.

   And good luck to Jimmy Kimmel, who'll try to re-establish the role of host. What, by the way, is the over/under on how long it will take for someone to mention last year's slap heard 'round the world?

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