I've been asked to weigh in on whether Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds will somehow game the system or benefit from the screwy new best-picture voting process and unexpectedly walk away with the Oscar as best picture.
Here's what I think: I don't care.
Mainly, I don't care about this it's-not-broken-so-let's-break-it voting system. I believe it goes like this: People throw darts at ballots and . . . no, wait, they have to rate them from 1-10, but use their left hand for the odd numbers and close one eye for the even . . . no, that's not it.
I'm sure they're muttering the same thing in the Price-Waterhouse offices right about now.
But here's the deal: After years of investing heart and soul into predicting, analyzing, excoriating and otherwise treating the Oscars as a religious holiday, I've simply lost interest. For several reasons.
Before I get to them, here's what I think will happen on March 7: Inglourious Basterds will win. Unless Avatar wins. Except if The Hurt Locker wins.
Personally, I'd be happy to see any of the 10 best-picture nominees win -- except for The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock as best actress? Yeah, OK, I could swallow that. But the movie itself is not on the same level as District 9, let alone Up in the Air. (That's the movie I'd most like to see come out of nowhere and win best picture. Not gonna happen.)
As for the Oscars themselves, well, once upon a time, it was the awards show. Literally. The Emmy Awards and the Oscars were the only awards shows that were broadcast -- those and the Miss America Pageant. They were events. They carried weight. They meant something, or at least we thought they did.
Now Miss America is crowned on basic cable, the Emmys give out so many awards that I'm surprised I don't have one -- and the Oscars seem to come so late that I don't even care about those movies anymore.
Seriously: Inglourious Basterds came out last August. Hurt Locker was released in June (though it had been kicking around at festivals since the previous September). I saw and wrote my review of Avatar more than three months ago -- everyone in America has already seen it twice. Sorry, I'm afraid I've moved on.
As for the idea of the Oscars being the preeminent movie award, well, unfortunately, by coming last, they are now victims of awards fatigue.
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