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The Oscar Nominations, Some Richly Deserved, Some Richly Undeserved

Oscars 2018

 The  staggering variety  of films nominated  for  the Oscars  this year cannot take away from the fact that a  lot of the content  seen to be Oscar-worthy is plainly a concession to tokenism. Otherwise why would  the  all-Black comicbook spectacle Black Panther be nominated for Best  Picture? It’s like  nominating Simmba  for  a Filmfare’s Best Picture just to pepper  the list with  populism.

The  ‘Black’ element recurs in  the  other Best Picture nomination , BlackKklansman. A grossly  overrated  racist drama, and I do mean racist. The  film’s selfrighteous tone of  black-power aggression  makes  all the White characters  look nerdy, moronic  and  downright uneducated. It’s  of course  wonderful to see racism  being inverted  on its head. But  the daringflipflop doesn’t make this  an outstanding film and certainly not  Oscar-worthy.

The  Oscar  nod  for the wonderful Viggo Mortensen as a racist White chauffeur  to  a Black snob in Green  Book  is  richly deserved  . It must have  come as a huge relief for  the actor  who was threatened  with boycotted for  using the “N”  word for  the  Black African at a promotional event  for  the film.

The  call for Mortensen’s boycott was  simply ludicrous. Both Green Book and  BlackkKlansman are  set  during  a  time when Black Africans were  referred  openly to  by the ‘N’ word. When  Mortensen drew  attention   to that culture  of racism  by using the same word he was held guilty  of racism.

Cinema referring to  class-gender-race differences rule the Oscar nominations. Netflix’s Roma about a Mexican house-helps slender yet strong relationship with her  employees,  gets an Oscar  nod for  Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress. This  is again an exaggeratedly effusive response to a politically correct cinema showing the househelp as  the pillar  of strength and  sustenance.

Yalitza Aparacio who plays  the  lead in Roma  gets an  Oscar  nomination… for what reason, I can’t say. Being natural before the camera  comes  from her  complete ignorance  about the craft of acting. Besides that there is little to suggest  greatness  in  her  performance. Even Glenn Close,  another  Best Actress nominee, comes across as  limp and  inadequate  in  The Wifewhere she  plays the neglected shortchanged  wife of a Nobel winning author whose books she  ghost writes.

 Really???!!!

Obliterating Bradley Cooper’s name from the Best Director’s nominations is  simply unforgivable. In  his maiden  attempt at  direction in A Star  Is Born Cooper brought a kind of unhurried  grace to  the love that grows between an  alcoholic  selfdestructive singing superstar and his protégée. Does this  snub mean remakes  are not considered artistic enough whilecomicbook spinoffs are?

The Oscar nominations hold no real surprises. If we  look at the Best  Picture nominations  they  scream for our attention with their political correctness: three films about black heroes, one  film about an alcoholic  musician,  a bio-pic about a  gay rock musician(and really, Rami Malek in  Bohemian Rhapsody made  the otherwise mediocre flawed  bio-pic, the Sanju from  Hollywood, tolerable), and a semi-fictional account  of  a housekeeper  keeping the family together.

Where are films  about  normal  people in  normal  situations in this list? Is  crisis  the  only criteria  for Oscar worthiness?

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