Breaking News: The NY Times isn’t always pretentious! On NPR, A.O. Scott, critic extraordinaire of The NY Times, talks about three movies –WITH NO SPOILERS!!!!
Come to think of it, it also LACKED PRETENSION, endemic in his reviews, which are akin to in-depth scholarly analyses supported by examples–ie, SPOILERS.
A.O. Scott shames the Academy for not recognizing comedies as well as smaller, “quiet” indie films. He gives provocative advice as to how the Academy could improve its nomination process, which I include verbatim after the list, below.
Well done A.O. Scott, well done.
The radio show on NPR is called Dinner Party. This is its first annual non-Academy Awards edition. With Lucy on my lap (she’s a dog) looking out the window, I caught the full input by A.O. Scott on the 5-minute drive home from the Park. This is the link to the story.
Here is A.O. Scott’s list of nominations that the Academy missed–(and some of the winners he would have chosen):
- Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Spy. A.O. says that the Academy rarely recognizes comedies, yet actors in comedies can be as skilled as those in dramas. McCarthy has the “level of inventiveness, physical and verbal”that is so challenging to actors in comedies. She plays an administrative assistant turned spy, who goes to Europe to save her kidnapped boss.
- Bests Movie Nomination: Spy. This movie should replace The Martian in the nominations.
- Best Actress Nomination: Lily Tomlin, Grandma. Tomlin plays a woman who helps her teenage granddaughter get enough money for an abortion. She asks her ex-boyfriends for the money. This is another type of movie that the Academy rarely recognizes. It is a “low-key” (also called “quiet”) independent movie.
- Best Foreign Film nomination: The Kindergarten Teacher, a poignant Israeli drama about a teacher who becomes obsessed with a gifted five-year-old student who writes beautiful poetry. She desperately tries to get him and his poetry recognized. This might be considered part of Scott’s usual pretension, but I appreciate this analysis: he states that the movie is a condemnation of Israel’s forsaking its art and culture for more superficial, materialistic art. This movie did not get nominated because there is a “one-film-per-country-rule.” (Apparently another Israeli movie was nominated.)
A.O. Scott’s advice to the Academy:
If I were to give the Oscars advice, first thing I would say is: just lighten up. You know, there’s a lot of really great movies that are funny. And I don’t even wanna get started on the Foreign Language Film category, which is such a mess. The one-film-per-country-rule… Just find the movies from all over the world that are most exciting and most original and find a way to give those some prizes.