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*** Official 2003 Academy Awards Discussion Thread


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#1241 of 1251 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted March 03 2004 - 12:59 PM

"I think that there were more reasons than that: for one, actors are the single biggest block in the Academy and for all of its merits, the acting in Star Wars ranges from adequate to lamentable."

I've got a BFA in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin. Many films have a range of quality of acting, it is almost unavoidable. Personally, I think Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, James Earl Jones, Peter Cushing, and even Mark Hamill did some fine work. Hamill was acting what was on the page -- whiny emotional brat. Yeah, he pushes it on occasion, but then, that's sort of the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars -- all heart, no head. He learns to find that "zen" through the course of the movie. He is still a hothead in Empire - the plot depends on it - but by Jedi, he has grown up.

The only truly ripe performance in Star Wars for me was given by Carrie Fisher, with her faux-British accent appearing when she is in the presence of Peter Cushing, gone when she's hanging out with Harrison and Mark. Still, she has spunk and character to spare, something you can't say of Natalie Portman in the prequels so far, and she's fantastic in Empire (but then, everyone is fantastic in Empire).

#1242 of 1251 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted March 03 2004 - 02:27 PM

I guess I missed this, but was listening to Tony Kornheiser today as he talked about the acceptance speech for "Fog of War" and said the director gave a speech that boiled down to "you fools! You should have recognized my work years ago!"


I think he was just joking around. He started off with...

This thing is heavy. I'd like to thank the Academy for finally recognizing my films. Thank you so very, very, very much! I thought it would never happen. ...
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#1243 of 1251 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 03 2004 - 03:23 PM

Quote:
the acceptance speech for "Fog of War"

From the official Oscar site:

Quote:
This thing is heavy. I'd like to thank the Academy for finally recognizing my films. Thank you so very, very, very much! I thought it would never happen. I'd like to thank my very good friends at Sony Pictures Classics, Michael Barker, Tom Bernard. No one would get to see this movie without them. My two producers Michael Williams, Julie Ahlberg. Couldn't have made the movie without them either. My long suffering editors Charlie Silver, Brad Fuller. And Karen Schmeer and Doug Abel, thank you also very much. And believe it or not, Robert McNamara, with whom, if he hadn't done it there would have been no film. 40 years ago this country went down a rabbit hole in Vietnam and millions died. I fear we're going down a rabbit hole once again. And if people can stop and think and reflect on some of the ideas and issues in this movie, perhaps I've done some damn good here. Thank you very, very much.
To put this in context: Errol Morris is one of the acknowledged modern masters of the documentary, but before this year he had never even been nominated for an Oscar. It's just one example of the insularity that led to a reform of the nominating process several years ago.

I don't even agree that Fog of War was the best of the nominees this year. Of the three I've seen -- all of them excellent -- my personal pick would have been My Architect. But Fog of War is a wonderful film, and recognition for Morris was long overdue.

M.
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#1244 of 1251 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted March 03 2004 - 03:43 PM

I honestly think the best performance in ALL the Star Wars films is Frank Oz as Yoda in Empire Strikes Back.

And I thought Errol Morris' speech was just fine, too.

#1245 of 1251 OFFLINE   Jan H

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Posted March 03 2004 - 04:26 PM

Morris may be the GREATEST documentary filmmaker ever, but to the masses he came across as if he knew he was. Never a good move in public relations terms.

Ernest, congrats on your BFA, how's that working out for you? As for Fisher's accent, blame that on Lucas. Either she wanted to do it and Lucas let her, or Lucas didn't realize it was a bad idea.

#1246 of 1251 OFFLINE   Ray Chuang

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Posted March 03 2004 - 04:32 PM

A couple of tidbits on why Annie Hall won over Star Wars for Best Picture:

1. AMPAS members were kind of desperate to find a way to honor Woody Allen, who had by then done increasingly better and better films. Annie Hall was an excellent film with that Oscar-winning performance by Diane Keaton, and in fact some people have said the movie was semi-autobiographical.

2. AMPAS members were kind of turned off by the excessive marketing for Star Wars.

3. AMPAS members probably felt Star Wars played like a modern version of the old 1930's and 1940's adventure serials (George Lucas admitted he was a bit influenced by the old Flash Gordon serials), which meant Star Wars had a "lightweight" quality.
Raymond in Sacramento, CA USA

#1247 of 1251 OFFLINE   Mark_vdH

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Posted March 03 2004 - 09:59 PM

Not everyone was pleased with the three second Leni Riefenstahl tribute:

http://www.adl.org/P..._52/4462_52.htm
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#1248 of 1251 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 04 2004 - 01:55 AM

Quote:
Morris may be the GREATEST documentary filmmaker ever, but to the masses he came across as if he knew he was. Never a good move in public relations terms.

So you think that the miniscule audience for documentaries might get even smaller?

M.
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#1249 of 1251 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted March 04 2004 - 02:23 AM

Quote:
To put this in context: Errol Morris is one of the acknowledged modern masters of the documentary, but before this year he had never even been nominated for an Oscar. It's just one example of the insularity that led to a reform of the nominating process several years ago.

Just to expand a bit on Michael’s point, Morris has made (among other films): Gate of Heaven, a brilliant film about pet cemeteries, The Thin Blue Line, particularly relevant to anyone from Dallas or from any city with a corrupt/incompetent police and judiciary system, A Brief History of Time, a deep and reveling portrait of Stephen Hawking and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, which I won’t even attempt to describe briefly, but highly recommend.

I would also agree that Fog of War may not have been the ‘best’ documentary of the year—but Morris is deserving of recognition somewhere along the line.

Quote:
I've got a BFA in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin. Many films have a range of quality of acting, it is almost unavoidable. Personally, I think Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, James Earl Jones, Peter Cushing, and even Mark Hamill did some fine work. Hamill was acting what was on the page -- whiny emotional brat. Yeah, he pushes it on occasion, but then, that's sort of the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars -- all heart, no head.
Of course a range of acting is nearly unavoidable. I’d agree with your assessment of Daniels, but Jones has to share his spot with David Prowse, so I’d give him an asterisk. The reason that I chose the word adequate, was that none of the performances you mention require any real depth in characterization.

Now you rightly point out (in the case of Hamill, for example) that this is (at least partly) by design. That still does not change or raise their performances (in my assessment). And in the case of Hamill, we differ in our assessment of his performance. He is no doubt OK as the whiny brat, but in the few scenes where there is any demand made on him for something approaching tenderness, he is not convincing (at least to me).

I will admit that some of the dialogue the actors are forced to recite, don’t help their cause very much.

But regardless of what you or I might think about their performances, they were not seen (possibly excepting Ford) as much more than I describe, back in the day. It is my assumption (which may well be incorrect) that a good many actors (who were academy members) of the day, may have voted for films that had roles requiring more range.

Probably though, the Academy just liked Woody (per Ray’s suggestion) and wanted to give him the honor.
¡Time is not my master!

#1250 of 1251 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted March 04 2004 - 04:09 AM

Quote:
So you think that the miniscule audience for documentaries might get even smaller?


I think you're misunderstanding. The miniscule audience for documentaries won't get smaller. The audience simply won't expand. Posted Image

#1251 of 1251 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 04 2004 - 04:55 AM

I understand perfectly, Dome. The audience for documentaries probably won't expand, but that has nothing to do with Errol Morris' acceptance speech.

M.
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