I don’t care how dead the horse; I’m gonna beat it more.
Observe the nominees for Best Picture:
The Father: Someone feeds Anthony Hopkins from his gruel bowl for two hours. Feels ensue.
Judas and the Black Messiah: Did you Know that the FBI infiltrated groups hostile to the United States Government? I am shocked, shocked I say! And Appalled!
Mank: Rhymes with stank. I saw this on Netflix, because I thought it might be interesting. It isn’t. It’s just the usual Hollywood Onanism. Not even Gary Oldman can breathe life into this opera of obvious. Fincher needs to start picking better projects.
Minari: Family goes farming. They’re Korean so it’s A Profound Commentary On Our Times. Granny shows up and cusses to keep people awake.
Nomadland: Eat, Pray, Love goes slumming.
A Promising Young Woman. I saw most of this. It’s not bad. There’s even an aspirative nod towards elements of Greek mythology. I found myself re-writing the third-act confrontation in my head, and the final minute should be part of the Merriam-Webster entry on “contrived” but I didn’t hate it.
The Sound of Metal: I might still check this one out. There probably won’t be enough Metal, though.
The Trial of the Chicago 7. Okay, Boomer.
All of these are Movies With Causes: Old Age Care, Racism, Eat the Rich, Immigrants, Poverty, Rape Culture, Disability, and Civil Rights for Leftists (imagine a cinematic hagiography of the Capitol Rioters. Even describing a world where that would happen is practically sci-fi). They’re not movies; they’re sermons. And nobody saw them.
“Yeah, but that’s because of COVID”. Wrong, Slappy. Movie Theaters were still open last year. COVID shrunk box-office takes, but didn’t wipe them out. People still dropped 200 Million to watch Bad Boys For Life. There were other choices. They chose these because these are what Oscar movies are now: pseudo-indie moralizing stuffed into a three-act structure. The power of cinema to appeal to mass audiences, to achieve art for the masses, has been swallowed up in the cynicism of Algorithim Nostalgia. The Art is for Artists, everyone else gets schlock. And the beat goes on.