Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Oscar Malaise Part 2: AWOL Actors Didn’t Help During this Season


I wrote back in January that awards malaise was setting in after we went through about a half dozen awards shows and still hadn’t given out an Oscar.

I did say many of the movies would be finito at the box office by the time the Academy Awards were handed out on March 2nd. I’m flattered to say that a couple of writers have picked up that theme.

A big problem this season: either actors who didn’t want to participate or couldn’t in the campaigns, and some people who were just invisible.

Dame Judi Dench, for example, was AWOL for all of the “Philomena” promotion. Her stand in was the real Philomena Lee. At first the reason given was that Judi wasn’t well– sight trouble, knee trouble. Then she went to India to film teh sequel to “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” If she makes to the Oscars, it will be lovely. But why would she, when Cate Blanchett is all about coronated?

Michael Fassbender did nothing I know of for “12 Years a Slave.” Still he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Joaquin Phoenix, ditto for Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Even though “American Hustle” had lots of promotion, we saw Christian Bale once and never again.

And of course Woody Allen never said ‘boo’ about “Blue Jasmine.”

I’m still not sure who directed “Dallas Buyers Club.” Matthew McConaughey? No one’s ever mentioned the director’s name. While “Nebraska,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “12 Years,” and “American Hustle” all had lunches, dinners, and screenings, “Dallas” only had private events. One day all of the press was at a Bruce Dern lunch while “Dallas” was entertaining itself.

For a long time, the big story was going to be Robert Redford. His performance in “All is Lost” was expected to be the big win, a cap off of an amazing career. Then Roadkill–sorry, Roadside–Attractions simply caved in. They did nothing, and offended the press who did like the movie. J. C. Chandor’s brilliant film would have been hailed a masterpiece if anyone else had released it. What a shame.

All of this contributed to the extended malaise brought on by the March 2nd date of the Oscars. That date was because of the Olympics taking up all of February. But if they’d given the Oscars on January 26th, the whole process could have been a lot less frustrating. As it is, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are planning a good show for March 2nd. And everyone will be happy to see this season end.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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