Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Monday, Jan 31, 2011
After decades of decided handwringing, Hollywood finally has what it wants: a sense of specialness undeterred by surprise or a sense of wonder.

Sometimes, the communal consciousness of the cinematic community gets it “right”. Of course, by ‘right’ we mean modeling most of the critical consensus that arrives via the various journalistic organizations and collectives providing their positions over the last few months. Awards season is all about a shared coming together, about a year’s worth of performances and personality whittled down to a determination of ten, or five—and then finally one. As trophies come and go, as bottles of champagne are uncorked and gift bags bulge with unnecessary trinkets, the suspense dissipates, each new member of the annual media shouting match removing one more layer of intrigue to the seemingly predetermined list of winners. 


Of course, there is always a baby to come along and soil the bathwater, and this year it’s the Director’s Guild of America. The DGA, almost always a bellwether for who will win the coveted Oscar for filmmaking, is rarely ever wrong. Even when they are—Stephen Spielberg’s snub for The Color Purple, Ang Lee and Rob Marshall’s Guild wins vs. Academy loses—they tend to be on the correct side of the situation. But over the weekend, the DGA pulled one of those unbelievable movie biz boners that will have movie lovers kvetching until the next time they nullify reason. In a decision of deceptive bends, they gave Tom Hooper—a UK TV name with only four features to his name—the year’s highest honor.


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Monday, Jan 17, 2011
For the most part, the Hollywood Foreign Press broke open the magnums and bowed to the better judgment of the rest of the motion picture populace.

It’s rare when the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press’s excuse to party with the PR savvy stars, gets its right. Now, by “right”, we mean that they come remotely close to mimicking The Academy Awards in staying true to critical consensus. In the past, the glorified champagne exchange has been nothing more than an anomaly, a less than accurate indicator of where Oscar will wind up. But for some reason, this year was so predictable, so ingrained in the communal consciousness of Tinseltown, that the otherwise unsteady members of the Globes avoided embarrassment and stayed true to the temperament of 2011.


It is indeed odd. No selection of an otherwise laughable film or performance. No left field recognition (outside of the nominations) of something that causes snickers instead of serious consideration. For the most part - all avoidance of True Grit aside - the Hollywood Foreign Press broke open the magnums and bowed to the better judgment of the rest of the motion picture populace. Over the next few weeks, we will see how accurate the Golden Globes actually were, as the Director’s Actor’s, and Producer’s Guilds give out their respective appreciation. Of course, nothing matters but Oscar. Maybe for once, instead of trying to circumvent the truth with tackiness, they fell into the fold…at least, until next year.


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