Monday, January 18, 2010

HFPA, I fart in your general direction

The Internet is abuzz with how Avatar is going to win the Oscar. Sorry, kids. The Globes aren't the Oscars. How soon we forget when they gave Atonement, Babel, Brokeback Mountain, The Aviator, The Hours Best Picture. This lingering knowledge didn't stop me from having to hold my vomit all night.

But maybe it wasn't who won, but how they won. The Globes always get down their on their knees for the stars; worse than any other "legitimate" organization I know of. The image that best sums up the evening is when Michael Haneke won the Best Foreign Language Film award for The White Ribbon (a film that people are going through the roof about overseas, but American critics just kind of shrugged it off). It's a major moment - Haneke is highly regarded in our inner little film circles, and for him to finally get an award this mainstream in America is a big deal.

Apparently though, HFPA doesn't really have much respect for him. Though the Austrian director readily admitted to struggling with his English, he got cut off in about 45 seconds. Then of course, James Cameron wins Best Director and the man gets to go on for what felt like forever about how his film is a "global" phenomenon and he has achieved the most universal kind of art. I'm sure the show's producer ate this up - after all, who wants to listen to some Austrian guy talk about his art (and who else caught that they cut away to Arnold Schwarzenegger while he gave his speech - the only other Austrian in the room, they MUST have a common brotherhood!).

So no, I don't think Avatar's win will automatically give it the Oscar. It helps it, but there's nothing locked in about the race. As much as I like to complain about how the Academy panders, how antiquated they can be, and how they too often just don't "get it," they're not the HFPA.

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