Thursday, January 27, 2011


As usual, I have not seen all of the movies nominated for the Oscars; as usual, I can complain about one specific movie: The Black Swan’s Oscar endorsement, with the three most important nominations—Picture, Director, Actress. Here was my mini-review from a little while back, which encapsulates most of my issues with the movie then.

The real question is, why do the Oscar people consistently fall for the same kinds of movie? The Academy’s well-known affection for message movies is thoroughly mocked by this point, but The Black Swan doesn’t really fall under that category. The Academy does tend to like self-referential movies about art that dramatize the process of being arty, but that’s only a surface element of the movie—the main character’s suffering is more because she’s screwed up than any artistic suffering per se.

I think last year’s Precious nomination is a bit of a clue here—yeah, it’s a “message” movie (message: being an obese black girl who’s raped by her father etc., etc. is a very bad thing), but it’s also highly stylized and over-the-top, just as The Black Swan is. People who like to think of themselves as highbrow enjoy that; they just prefer to enjoy it secretly, as it were. Hence the glomming on of other elements. Just a guess.

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