Oscar Apathy

OK, so there was a time, many many years ago, when I used to make a point to watch all five Oscar-nominated movies before the awards were announced. On a good year, I would have seen many of them even before the nominations were announced, but, living in Mississippi, it wasn’t unusual for the movies not to be playing near me until after they were nominated.

Today, though? Not so much.

Of the five movies nominated for Best Picture today, I’ve seen a grand total of one: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire? Nope. ‘Fraid not.

The other interesting thing is, not only have I long been unlikely to watch the nominees, I’m curious whether my annoyance with this year’s picks is because of the Academy or because of me.

‘Cause here’s the thing? Benjamin Button was OK. But not great. And, frankly, I thought Dark Knight was a much better movie. Ditto WALL•E. (Granted, the latter is up for Best Animated Picture. And against Bolt and Kung Fu Panda, there’s no justice if it doesn’t win. But, really, I think it’s as deserving of a slot for the actual Best Picture as some other movies.)

The two things those movies have in common, though, is that they’re both genre pics. So the question is, is the academy so staid that they’re going to overlook a movie solely because it’s a genre film, or has my taste atrophied to the point where I really believe genre films are as good as Best Picture films?

(As fodder for your discussion, I watched every Best Picture in the theater from 1992 until 2000. Since then, I have only seen one Best Picture winner [not even in the theater, I haven’t even seen the others on DVD]. And that was the winner for 2003 — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.)