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Missing Titanic or Braveheart?

We put our underworked and overpaid resident sociologists to work hoping that we find some pattern in the Oscar awards.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 01:01 IST
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We put our underworked and overpaid resident sociologists to work hoping that we find some pattern in the Oscar awards. The following is a watered down, easily digestible version of our findings. This year’s Best Motion Picture Oscar went to a serious, challenging movie, Crash, a film that explores racial tensions in contemporary America. The losers in this category were all serious, challenging movies that addressed political issues either subtly (Brokeback Mountain and Good Night, And Good Luck) or more directly (Syriana and Munich). This leads us to state that this year’s Oscar movies were all quite serious. (Sorry, Peter Jackson’s Freudian take on a giant ape didn’t make the grade.)

Things, of course, were quite different only a decade ago when the cerebral-but-only-for-‘special people’ Titanic swept the Oscars. A year before, Hollywood — or, more precisely, Mel Gibson — did its bit to intellectually probe history with the multi-coloured (if little else) Braveheart. If Titanic was to have been followed by an antipodal tale of deep thought, the Oscars had to skip a year and Shakespeare in Love for American Beauty, where suburban America — and suburbia in general — was nervously and lyrically exposed to the world.

The year that followed 9/11, the Best Picture went to Chicago, a film as connected to politics as Iraq’s Ba’ath Party was to al-Qaeda. A Lord of the Rings and A Million Dollar Baby later, the US is more polarised than ever before. So the films coming out of HollyBush was bound to be ‘political’. Which leads our in-house experts to predict that next year’s award will be going to something that swings the jury (and the American public) away from the debate rooms and back to were the Oscars belong: popcorn country. Whether the film will be made by Steven Spielberg is something we aren’t willing to bet on yet.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 01:01 IST