'12 Years a Slave' wins best picture at Oscars

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  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    Agreed. The film industry occupies a peculiar place in our culture, at the nexus of art, commerce, celebrity, politics, and gossip. The Academy Awards are nominally about artistic excellence, but the general public seems more concerned about the lowest-common-denominator product than artistic merit and must be accommodated. Business and money trumps art. Why else do the newspapers every Monday publish the previous weekend's box office take and not critical reviews? Why has the majority of the population not seen any of the Best Picture nominees (preferring superheroes and fluffy rom coms)? The political Right derides Hollywood as a liberal cesspool, but the major studios' business model is decidedly conservative and uncreative, spinning endless sequels (though we were thankfully spared the first 56 installments of the Passenger franchise, getting only Passenger 57). In such a context, politics is inevitably going to be a factor in awards, for better or worse (e.g. Cate Blanchett was far enough removed from Woody Allen's child abuse allegations to win, but Blue Jasmine could never have won best film, director, or screenplay even though it might have deserved them on the merits).

  • Copacetic Logan, UT
    March 3, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    @ Lagomorph:

    Politics is fine for movie subjects. But should be avoided as a determinant in making movie awards. Excellence, not politics should be the main consideration at that point.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Copacetic: "Hollywood should leave politics to the people in Washington DC and get back to doing what they do best... making movies with artistry and technology advances within the industry."

    Then I assume you won't be seeing "Persecuted" when it comes out (and didn't see "Expelled" or "Atlas Shrugged" or either "Red Dawn"). Actually, politics and good storytelling are not mutually exclusive. We certainly make grand sport of electoral politics and, well, Shakespeare did okay with Julius Caesar and the kings (Richard, John, Lear, etc.). Film is just another medium for telling stories.

    Now, let's nitpick the choices...

    "12 Years" was definitely worthy, although I was fond of "Nebraska" (and loved the score, which was not nominated).

    "Helium" was a sweet and tender and heartwarming story, but "Aquel No Era Yo" told a more gripping story and was heartwarming in its own way. (Catch 'em both at the Tower)

    "Her" was a clever idea stretched to feature length, but the screenplay wasn't up to the competition.

    And remember, "de gustibus non disputandum" (or, roughly, there's no arguing taste).

  • Copacetic Logan, UT
    March 3, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Gravity is a much better and more entertaining film on multiple levels. As the article points out, Hollywood is back to being political activists by trying to "atone" for previously not giving what they consider to be enough "attention to the subject of slavery". Then they elevate the subject even more by absurdly proclaiming the 12 million illegal immigrants in our country are slaves.

    By all means, let's let's let the race card determine which films are the best. (Sarcasm)

    Hollywood should leave politics to the people in Washington DC and get back to doing what they do best... making movies with artistry and technology advances within the industry. Entertainment value is (or at least should be) Hollywoods biggest concern. Liberal federal court judges have already taken up the torch for recent political activism in their stead.

    It's ridiculous that some in our society have to use every conceivable platform they can find to promote their political agendas.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    March 3, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    Does this increase racism or reduce it?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 3, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    It had to be 12 Years a Slave. It is a powerful film, but I don't know if I could see it again. It's pretty hard to watch. Still, I would recommend that everyone see it. It's a very important story for all of us to know.