Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 92: If you think elections are about politics.....

I’ve got to re-impose the ban on myself from watching competitive “reality” TV shows (what sort of reality is that?!), having nearly thrown something (my shoe, if were an Iraqi) at the television again this evening. Why is it that the best, the nicest and the most talented people always get voted off, chucked off and the mediocre or machiavellian are the last ones standing? I thought I’d stopped all this? Four yerars ago, I wrote a quick-grab column for one of our Sydney newspapers about the dismissal of the best entrant ever seen on Australian Idol and I swore off "reality" then.

What part of “life’s not fair” don’t I get?

Here’s my favourite example from the world of film. 1974, here’s four of the nominations for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award for that year: Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express, Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce in Lenny (!!!), AL PACINO as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part2 (!!!!!), Jack Ncholson as J.J.Gittes in Chinatown (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Now, for my money and, I would suggest, most people’s moolah, with all due respect to Mr Finney (a fine fine actor) the other three preformances were not only worthy contenders on any given Oscar Sunday, they were colossal and virtuosic turns in any decade or two. Godfather 2 was, arguably, Pacino’s finest work amongst a body of great great work. Hoffman was brilliant as the pained and short-lived comedian, lenny Bruce. As for Jack, well my love of Chinatown is well documented on this site, but let's just say that it was nothing short of a bravura outing.

Who won? Art Carney, playing Harry Coombes in Tonto and Harry.

Now, I’m the first person to admit that I have not seen this film (I’ve never met anyone who has), but let me say this: that must have been one hell of an UNBELIEVABLE performace of GARGANTUAN proportions to have cancelled out the other contenders.

I always pick Awards wrong, beacuse for some insane, simpleton notion of mine, I go for the actor, actress, film, writer, director I think was best. Here’s one more. Paul Newman - God love the man and the actor - have you seen The Hustler, have you seen his tour de force that is ‘fast’ Eddie Felson??!! Don’t worry if you missed it, because some twenty years later “they” made up for the Oscar they didn’t give him by giving him one for the follow-up, The Color Of Money??!! Sweet Jesus somebody save us all.

If you think that elections are about politics, maybe you think that Academy Awards are about talent. Provocative.....yes. Opinionated.....yes. Cynical.....yes. Does anyone get into such a lather about these things other than me..... probably not.

I don’t put much currency in awards; I do not begrudge winners of awards (I’m actually pleased for them), I just don’t let them mess with my film barometer, I know when I think things are “set fair”, I back myself but it doesn’t mean diddley-squat. Films I’ve groaned “oh, puhlease” at, have gone on to to be major, major successes at the box office and with critics and with the whole shooting match of an industry. Do not listen to me or my opinions, as a friend of mine’s father says: “opinions are like a**eholes; everyone’s got one”; we certainly don’t need to hear them or see them.

Day #92 Tip: Trust your own a point
The ex-Mrs Martin Scorsese, Julia Cameron, the woman who gave the world the wonderful 'The Artist’s Way', says this of competition and awards: “they poison the creative well”. Damn straight.

Don’t misunderstand me here, I’ve had my acceptance speech prepared for a long long time now and don’t you worry, I’ll be taking my seat in the Shrine Auditorium or the Kodak Theatre and at the Governor’s Ball when that great day comes, as it surely will. There’s no noses being chopped off in spite at my place. So, what then?

Woody Allen’s take on it (that led him to be found playing his clarinet on stage in New York come Oscar-night) was that if a film or role was judged to be the “best”, ergo, there must be a “worst” out there and that didn’t sit well with him, as an artist, thinking about his fellow-artists. Can’t argue with that.

For me, it would be churlish not to turn up and be gracious in either acceptance of an award of acknowledgement of someone else eclipsing me and my talent (listen to me, why am I even thinking about I for real??!!). All this talk of the rarified stratopshere of awards has obviously made me delirious so best I stop right now.

I guess what I’m saying is this: awards, of, worship, idols, God,the, false, beware. Re-arrange those words into a sentence that makes some sort of sense, and trust your own judgement.

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