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January 25, 2005

Injustice

Over at the leading Web warehouse of all-things-film, there's a formidable list of history's best movies, as selected by hundreds of thousands of diehard cinema aficionados. As these things go, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which has been online longer than most Americans have had dial-up service, is about as comprehensive and authoritative as they come.

At #32 on this Top 250, just a notch below 1950's "Sunset Boulevard," lies the highest-ranked film of last year: my much-touted "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It's miles ahead of any other 2004 movie on the list, and just a relative hop-and-skip down from the unassailable #1, "The Godfather." Thankfully, the democratic nature of IMDB hasn't warped it into a lame popularity contest; such well-received hypes as "Ray" and "The Aviator" don't even make the chart.

Perhaps nothing reveals the problems inherent in today's motion picture academy more than this little piece of evidence. With this morning's announcement of 2004 Oscar nominations, we find that "Eternal Sunshine" has landed just two nods — best actress for Kate Winslet and best original screenplay for Charlie Kaufman. In the best actor category are five thespians whose roles are best described as imitation acts: all five performed in biographical pics. Jim Carrey's richly constructed character in "Sunshine" — more real than any mimicking of Howard Hughes — didn't make the cut.

Fans complain every year when their pet films get the awards shaft. Indeed, this post is just another boring contribution to the perpetual litany of whiny Oscar beefs. But I figured it's at least worth pointing out the massive disconnect between one well-crafted barometer of merit and the much glitzier one that will air on Feb. 27.

There is one bright spot to be found in today's announcement, or to be precise, one dark spot not to be found: "Fahrenheit 9/11" racked up a grand total of zero nominations.

Posted by Semolina Pilchard on January 25, 2005 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

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