Never have I written a blog or column that generated as much response as the last one I wrote about the dark, violent preferences of both critics and Hollywood. Now it’s plain that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the party line: The Academy Award nominations were announced on January 22 and, sure enough, the parade of darkness continues.
Leading the pack were the eight nominations each for “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.” I wrote extensively last time about the former, but the latter is almost as bloody and bleak.
Two other dark films, “Atonement” and “Michael Clayton,” were also nominated for “Best” Picture.
There was one (hurrah!) ray of hope — the absolutely delightful film “Juno” was the other film nominated for Best Picture. One positive film about humanity out of five. That ain’t great, but it’s better than none out of five, yes?
In the “Best” actor category, all five of the nominations give nods to very dark, violent films: George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”; Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”; Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd”; Tommy Lee Jones, “In the Valley of Elah”; Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises.”
Well, we can only hope that “Juno” somehow works its way through the morass of darkness. Or that maybe the continuing writers’ strike cancels the Oscar show altogether.
In any case, we who love inspirational films that celebrate rather than denigrate our humanity will have to look elsewhere for our kind of entertainment: To Spiritual Cinema Circle (shameless plug acknowledged) and to films that have been around for a while but have gone either unnoticed or unappreciated.
Next blog: 1998 — an eerily amazing year for our kind of films.