They’ll Regret It When Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Wins Best Picture

The Motion Picture Academy announced today that next year ten films will compete as Best Picture nominees, rather than the now-standard five.

I’m not 100% behind this idea, in no small part because halfway through 2009, the only film I’d be even considering for Best Picture would be Up. The holiday season releases damn well better rock, is all I have to say at the moment.

Your thoughts?

49 Comments on “They’ll Regret It When Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Wins Best Picture”

  1. And Up, of course, isn’t even eligible (being animated).

    With luck, this will mean more love for genre films. Easier to fit an especially fine comedy or action film into ten nominees rather than five.

    (And if I don’t say it, someone else will, but I’d have no problems at all seeing Watchmen in consideration for Best Picture. Otherwise, yeah, nothing exciting this year)

  2. Dave:

    “And Up, of course, isn’t even eligible (being animated).”

    What? No. Any film released in a calendar year is eligible (there are more details but this is largely correct), and there has been an animated film nominated for Best Picture before (Beauty and the Beast, 1991).

    There is a Best Animated Film category, and the presence of that makes it less likely an animated film will be nominated for Best Picture. But there’s no bar against it in the rules.

  3. A mild part of the fun of the Oscars is actually having seen the films that have been nominated and having your own opinions in advance, or at least having an idea what everyone is talking about.

    Already – speaking about the UK, where I am – the Oscar-nom films tend to be crowded into a short release window. In 2009 it was 2nd January (The Reader) to 6 February (Benjamin Button), with noms on 22nd January and Oscar night on the 22nd February.

    That’s pretty tight already for normal people who might want to see other movies as well, or who don’t go to the cinema every week. Upping to ten films might spread the timeload out a bit, but it makes it more likely more people won’t have much of an opinion about more of the films.

  4. You nailed it with “Up”. I still can’t figure out how Pixar can come up, year after year, with these stunning achievements. Last year was “Wall-E”, before that “Ratatouille”.

    If you haven’t seen “Away We Go”, please see it. I’d love to learn your opinion.

    However it they all pale next to the likes of “Wolverine”, “Terminator XXX” and “Transformers”. Us Amurrican folks knows qualitee when we sees it.

  5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen WILL win best picture…
    …at the MTV Movie Awards.

    As for the Oscars – Maybe The Lovely Bones will win.
    Finding 10 contenders might not be so easy though…

  6. This is just a sop for the studios who are tired of seeing the spectacle films overlooked for nominations, but do they deserve the nomination? Yeah, Dark Knight should have received a nomination. If it had been, would it have won? Doubtful. Personally, I hated Slumdog Millionaire and thought Milk should have won.

    Having 10 nominees will give those action films more visibility for voters, but does that mean Star Trek or Wolverine will win a best picture award? I don’t think so. Considering the number of small, independent films that come out around the end of the year wouldn’t it be hilarious if we ended up with 10 art-house/indie films?

  7. I have not cared about the Oscars since Titanic won out over L.A. Confidential.

  8. This is a transparent ploy to ratchet up marketing by allowing twice as many films to re-release with ads “Nominated for best Picture!”

    Just when you think Hollywood can’t get any more shallow, they let a little more water out of the pool. (Yes, I stole that, but it’s soooooo appropriate.)

  9. There’s actually some decent movies coming out this summer. A lot of them aren’t major market releases (Moon and 500 Days of Summer spring to mind), but they are out there. And they are good.
    Of course, movies like that never get considered for big time awards, and most of the time they shouldn’t.
    But let’s not all despair quite yet. There’s still a few mainstream releases that look decent, especially in science fiction. We’ve got District 9 in August and then Shane Acker’s 9 in September.
    I’m looking forward to both.

  10. NB: I intend this as a serious question:

    Why is anyone supposed to care about this?

    The Academy Awards mostly gave up rewarding quality years ago, becoming essentially giant commercials to generate money that Hollywood figures *should* have made money but didn’t. The really popular films, e.g. “Star Wars” generally didn’t show up anywhere on that radar.

    And the awards are given by a trade organization in bed with the studios whose endless efforts to own my computer AND my wallet have not gone un-noticed.

    So: why care?

  11. How can Transformers fail to be best picture!? It has giant robots beating the crap out of each other. What more can you ask for?

  12. I would love it if UP! was nom’d. but it doesn’t meet the criteria.
    Must be depressing, the main character (or beloved character) has to die, preferrably slow and painfully.

    The MPAA has only nom’s movies that require prozac treatment after. They’ve been trying to depress us for years…go, look, find something cheerful that was nominated.

  13. I like the headlines on my local newspaper’s review of the new Transformers movie

    Less than meets the eye

    Loud and stupid is the rule in Transformers’ sequel.

    Seriously, most quality movies will still be ignored, while big dumb movies made by big name studios will get the extra 5 nominations

  14. but then it couldn’t win, I’m sure something was far more depessing that won that year. Oh yeah, The Departed.

  15. I stopped watching and caring years ago when the whole thing became too long and painful to watch. Five more nominations for Best Picture is just going to make the whole thing even longer (and probably more painful).

  16. Both Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, while not thoroughly depressing, still have at least conflicted, ambiguous endings. Even “Up” still has too positive and uplifting an ending to get the nomination :)

    To get real uplifting movies without a sarcastic hipster tone in the Best Picture nomination slot, you have to go back to 2003 when LotR:Return of the King, Master and Commander, and Seabiscuit all were nominated.

  17. @MasterThief #11: For me, it was the year that Babe got nominated and Mr. Holland’s Opus didn’t. Sure, MHO had a few problems, but it was a stunning portrait of a life, and I’m not ashamed to say I leaked a few tears at the end.

    The other movie had talking barnyard animals.

    No question which characters your typical Hollywood type could identify with more, but OMG.

  18. Just a bit of an addition — John is, of course, correct that nothing prevents an animated film from being nominated for Best Picture. And a Pixar movie did win Best Picture — but after that, they added the “Best Animated Full-Length Production” (whatever it’s called ;)) and as last year shows, if they can put an animated movie there, the academy voters won’t feel pressured to let another cartoon win Best Picture.

  19. Sean Eric Fagan –

    Incorrect; no Pixar movie’s ever even been nominated for Best Picture. The Best Animated Feature award was restarted in 2001; the most recent animated film to be nominated for Best Picture was “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991.

    The more accurate statement is that the Best Animated Feature award was restarted out of outrage that films as good as Pixar’s weren’t being recognized for anything.

  20. Gollum Died, (beloved chracter), Master and Commander, didn’t catch the captain in the final battle and the naturalist couldn’t explore, again, Seabiscuit, ya got me there..though the chracters did nto have it easy.

  21. Will the host of the Oscars broadcast be required to make up a song encompassing every single film?

    “Earlier this week a special ceremony was held to award some of the awards we won’t be able to get to tonight, including Best Actor, Supporting Actress, and Best Director. Check our website to see who won. And now on to the 15 Best Song nominees!”

  22. Since I’ve precisely zero confidence that the voting membership of AMPAS has more taste than raw tofu, its a moot point whether there are ten films on the ballot, five or fifty. I still expect plenty of stimulating WTF head-desk moments when award season rolls around.

  23. In 2003 Lord of the Rings won Best Picture. I didn’t find LoTR depressing. In 2002 it was Chicago. A musical. Little is more uplifting than a musical. (in general…there are exceptions.)

  24. My apologies, I managed to confused Best Screenplay with Best Movie. (It’s happened before, and will happen again.) Sorry for not checking.

  25. Hey, you never know… maybe Star Trek or Harry Potter will get it. Star Trek was awesome, and I’m sure HP will be.

    Of course… I’m a nerd, so I’m biased…

  26. Actually, I think it’s a fine move, because it might mean exposure for some good movies that fell under the radar screens of most people.

    The Significant Other and I saw well over 100 movies in theaters last year, and there were a LOT of them that were excellent, but that few people saw. And that’s just pathetic.

    Just this past weekend, we saw a wonderful movie called EASY VIRTUE, which is far better than most of the crap on a stick that Hollywood is putting out. Is it a good candidate for a Best Picture Oscar?

    You bet.

    But it’ll sink into Arthouse Oblivion, and show up on the Sundance Channel or something, and then be forgotten like half of the french fries I never finish off at McDonalds.

    If it gets a Best Picture nomination, the bottom line is that more people will be likely to see it.

    And that can only be a good thing.

  27. They may have just made the “Best Picture Nominee at YYYY Academy Awards” label that appears on so many DVD cases slightly meaningless.

    And I agree with you about slim pickings this year. I loved Star Trek, but if it gets nominated for best picture, there’s something wrong with the best picture award.

  28. Glenn @ 17 – “find something cheerful that was nominated”

    Slumdog Millionaire was pretty cheerful at the end, albeit with some not-so-cheerful bits on the way, and won this year.

  29. Lizzie Longenecker@35:

    Well, I do wonder whether the Academy realised back in 1991 that they gave a truckload of Oscars to a horror movie. :)

    Little is more uplifting than a musical? Well, there’s Moulin Rogue — where Nicole Kidman dies at the end, and Ewan McGregor ends up a sodden, morose mess. And if there’s a more thoroughly cynical, blackly comic musical than ‘Chicago’ (with the arguable exception of ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘Cabaret’), I just don’t want to know.

  30. More cynical, blackly comic musical that ‘Chicago’? Little Shop of Horrors, of course….especially with the original ending.

  31. I don’t see the Academy’s rationale — they haven’t listed ten candidates for Best Film since the early forties. So far the best films of this year have been SF or silly rom-coms. As usual, the good stuff won’t appear till the weather cools.

  32. Personally, I wonder at the “best picture” category at all. In my view, there are too many reasons to make films, and too many things people want out of them. You can’t make reasonable comparisons.

    It’s like having awards for “best thing” and having people argue the merits of the apple versus the screwdriver. Which is better?

  33. It’s not that ten good movies a year aren’t made. My problem is the academy doesn’t watch them. The award is pretty predictable, ten films won’t change that.

  34. @5 and a couple of others

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which does the Oscars is a group of people associated in one way or another with movies.

    The Motion Picture Association (MPA), which in the US is known as The Motion PIcture Association of America (MPAA) is an industry trade organization made up of various studios, six currently.

    While both organizations have to do with the Hollywood movie business, they are very different.

    In the late 1990s I represented, as an engineer, the MPA internationally on the subject of Copy Protection.

    I also had the ‘pleasure’ of trying to make the Valenti Committee TV ratings system work as co-chair and document editor.

  35. Jeff R@40:

    Oooh, snap! I guess you could also throw in the whole Stephen Sondheim catalogue — for all his genius, he’s not exactly one of life’s little joy germs. :)

  36. Yeah. I LOVE action movies, but I thought Transformers 2 was a little weak. Although the mom was fricken hilarious, the second half of the movie got boring. The big, climatic fight at the end wasn’t very climatic at all, and it went on so long that the special effects weren’t really special anymore. heh. I’ve never really been a fan of the special effects shots, anyway. There are way too many close shots where you have no idea wtf is going on. When they had bumblebee transform like half way through the movie, the camera angle was from far away, and it looked gorgeous. I wish more of the movie had been like that. sigh. But yeah, I did have fun with the movie though…. I just understand why lots of critics hated it. Anyway, nice post. :)

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