Monday, March 06, 2006

Viva Tsotsi!

It's been an Oscar night to remember for South Africans, and by and large one to forget for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Tsotsi's victory in the foreign language film category is of far greater significance to our film industry than Charlize Theron's golden guy for Monster. Tsotsi's accolade flags attention to the fact that our talent, production facilities and film infrastructure are world class. The film biz is a key contributor of foreign exchange to the Cape economy, and our skilled crews, production houses and astonishingly varied locations draw big-budget feature shoots and dozens of commercials. This can only boost the attraction.

A studio with enormous soundstages is being built near Cape Town. The idea is to attract not only location shooting but entire international productions. It is supposed to have state-of-the-art post-production and special effects facilities. This is the route Australia went, although I understand their studios aren't getting enough work now that Keanu has left town.

The local industry must be praying the power cuts can be eliminated ... and that our production houses don't get even greedier ...

I'm feeling so good about it I'm going to get cracking on the second draft of my blockbuster. Tonight. Oh, wait a minute -- we're running the Oscar show tonight. Well, I hear it isn't much cop this year, no big winner, no mouthing off, feeble host, etc.

What's the bloody point of giving the big Oscars to little flicks? Surely Hollywood should be hailing the movies that keep it in business, and not the ones that live off its fat? Wonderful as they may be, their audiences are limited. Film is, or should be, mass entertainment. I might like art films, in the same way as I like poetry, but these movies, like poems, rarely enter the mainstream. And I think it's a bad sign that just making yourself fat or ugly or doing a great impersonation should sway the academy voters. It's become scarily predictable.

The Oscars should be a spectacle like the movies that made Hollywood great: Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia ... and Crash? It took a princely $53 mil at the box office, the lowest-grossing winner since Bertolucci's The Last Emperor in 1987. Gloria Swanson must be spinning in her box: "When I said it was the pictures that got small, I didn't mean that small."

And let's face it, the famous red carpet has become a supercharged catwalk for the fashion designers, who simply employ the stars as clothes horses. Which is why they have to be scary skeletal. Except J Lo, the Ass that Ate Hollywood. And Salma, the Babe Who's Bustin' Out All Over.

In view of tonight's delayed proceedings I shall defer further commentary until the last contestant -- I mean recipient – has been hurried off the stage, hopefully for summary execution round the back.


Blogger First Nations said...

i'd rather the Academy Awards went back to being a private catered affair and the winners announced the next day. who gives a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut? i'd rather watch CSI Vegas.

9:34 PM  

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