Best Comic Performance Winner 1974?:
Madeline Kahn as Lily Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles
The Oscars are less than two weeks away, and anybody’s who has any interest at all in the ceremonies, either as the supreme gesture of rewarding artistic achievement in Hollywood, or as a flaming train wreck of fashion faux pas and award-centered misdemeanors that will be forgotten by Ron Howard’s birthday (March 1), has an opinion who should or shouldn’t or will win. So I thought I’d open the forum up this week to thoughts, expanded or otherwise, based on a question from Professor Dave Jennings’s recent quiz: What new category would expand Oscar’s effectiveness at rewarding the truly deserving, staying at the forefront of trends in film, or just being complete in its approach to the awards. Here’s how I answered the Professor when he asked, “Pick a new category for the Oscars and its first deserving winner”:
”How about a nod to the changing landscape of movie technology and create a separate category for Best Videography to coexist alongside Best Cinematography, which would retain its historical association with recognizing achievement in the use of film, a far different medium. I think this kind of recognition might encourage, at least in the beginning, a more thoughtful use of this technology, whether it is to invoke the kind of grungy, grainy disorientation that David Lynch embraces in Inland Empire, or to inspire directors to use the more mobile format to more accurately replicate the tones and textures of film more affordably. I’m thinking of the goal here as being something like what Robert Altman, with videographers Andrew Dunn and Ed Lachmann, did with the visually stunning The Company and, more subtly perhaps, A Prairie Home Companion.It wasn’t until sitting through the end credits a second time that I even realized that Altman had used high-def video for Prairie. I saw pristine projection of that movie twice and would have sworn it was film. This is an achievement distinct too from what Michael Mann currently uses the format for—the discovery of the various levels and textures unavailable to film to reveal in the hidden information in the nightscapes of Los Angeles (Collateral) and Miami Vice. So there are three different ways, not even including the more purely functional DYI-aesthetic of most indie features, in which video has already found to expressively flower on the big screen. That, to me, seems worthy of attention, if we can believe for a second that the Oscars are dedicated in any way to the art of film. (I know, I know… You can stop giggling now…)
And here’s a blog entry from The San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle that suggests that a new acting category might stir things up a bit.
What new category could the Academy implement that would either be fun to see or might even goose the Oscars toward relevance?
If you saw my previous post, it’s pretty clear that this week has been an exceptional one for DVD releases, ranging from Paul Robeson to Sofia Coppola to Martin Scorsese to Neil Jordan and a whole lot more. But as good as Tuesday was to DVD collectors and film buffs, reader Joseph B. reminded us in the comments for that post that there is still a ton of good, worthy and just plain odd film that has not yet found its way into the digital domain. Joseph offered up a link to a frequently updated column at the essential site DVD Journal which will put you in touch with hundreds of yet-to-be-announced titles for DVD, and even a short perusal of this list will fire off plenty of connections to other titles in your head that are likewise still buried in the home video graveyard. The list is called DVD MIA. Take a gander, see if it reminds you of anything you’re particularly pining for that has as yet gone unnoticed, and let me know what it is you really want to have for your very own DVD that you can buy yet. Not that I can do anything about it, of course. But we can dream, can’t we?