The Independent Spirt Awards - Who needs an Oscar?
For 84 years the Academy Awards have been the highest honor in the world of cinema. Just a nomination has always meant instant credibility. As theater revenue drops and video-on-demand services take the world by storm, could that elite status be waning?
The biggest award the Academy gives is for "Best Picture". There used to 5 nominees in this category. With a list that short you could be sure only the best would be nominated. In 2011 there were 10 nominees. This year there are nine. The nomination and voting process is complicated at best.
Among those nine is Tom Hanks' new film "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". It currently has a 67% favorable user average and a 46% rating from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Not among those nine films is Melancholia, Drive, Take Shelter or Shame. The average critic rating of those 4 films is 86% while the average user rating is 79%. I'm not suggesting that the Academy rely on statistics to choose nominees, but its pretty obvious there's something wrong when a movie whose mediocrity is universally agreed upon makes the short list for "Best Picture".
In fairness, the rest of the nominees are well liked by critics and users. Even with that exception the averages are still 83% and 80% for critics and users respectively.
A much younger awards ceremony, The Independent Spirit Awards, has been around since 1984. Only independent films are available for nomination, but don't be fooled into thinking they are low budget. "Low" is a relative term. "Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End" had an estimated budget of $300 million. Anything is low-budget when compared to that astronomical figure.
Among the nominees are "Drive" and "Another Earth". One is a violent car-action movie and the other a science-fiction drama. The one word you won't be thinking when you see these two films is "cheap".Continued on the next page