Acting Up

For once the Oscars is acting “sanely” in awarding Best Picture to a low budget indie film “Hurt Locker” over “Avatar.” Why, then, is The New Republic still frustrated by it?

For once the Oscars is acting "sanely" in awarding Best Picture to a low budget indie film "Hurt Locker" over "Avatar." Why, then, is The New Republic still frustrated by it? Christopher Orr asks: "How did this act of cinematic sanity come about? I'd like to say the Academy stiffed Avatar because, apart from its next-step visuals, it stunk. But when you have an outcome that is so at variance with historic precedent, you generally have to look for circumstances that are themselves at variance with historic precedent. And here, I think, it’s safe to say that the Academy’s newfangled ten-nominee, weighted-voting rules for Best Picture cut heavily, perhaps decisively, in favor of The Hurt Locker. I’d mentioned this factor as a persuasive rationale for a Hurt Locker victory, but unlike folks such as Rick Hertzberg and Ross Douthat, I was not myself persuaded. (We live. We learn.) And though I am still not a fan of overstuffing the category with nearly a dozen nominees—a decision the Academy made, more or less explicitly, to protect itself from its own dubious judgment—I can’t be unhappy about a process that (this time at least) rewarded quality over profitability."

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