Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oscar's big gambit: Power to the people?

Before we get into this madness with the expanded Oscars, there's news about two things out there today that will snag a bit of this aging geeks' money, so I thought I'd pass on what I know.

The first is that the Director's Cut for Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" should be a truly wild affair. It's set to come to DVD the third week of July or so, and if you're lucky enough to live in New York, L.A. and maybe a couple of other cities you will be able to see it in a theater for one weekend only right before that.

The flick will clock in at an admittedly rather ridiculous 188 minutes, but if you're like me and loved the movie almost as the funny book by Alan Moore, I think you'll happily sit through it all. No word yet on whether or not there will be a giant squid anywhere to be seen, but I do know that it will restore one scene that was just sorely missing from the theatrical cut: The murder of Hollis Mason. This is a very poignant moment in the comic, so it's about damn time. also had a bit this morning about something from Zack Snyder that I can't say I'm terribly excited about: A sequel to "300."

Now, don't get me wrong, it certainly will look cool. But didn't "300" have a definite ending already? Frank Miller is apparently hard at work on the comic that would precede the movie, but personally, I'd much rather see what Snyder can come up with for "Sucker Punch." Though it sounds a whole lot like "Pan's Labyrinth," I'm betting his tale of a young woman who creates an alternative reality to escape from a mental institution will be nothing but cool.

The second thing that caught my eye this morning may well only appeal to me, but here goes anyway: They're actually making a Fraggle Rock comic book. Things just don't get much odder than that, but I'm definitely in.

It seem that the Jim Henson Company is partnering with Archaia Comics to release a whole bunch of comics, everything from "The Dark Crystal" to "Labyrinth," with "Fraggle Rock" set to start it all off. With Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller hopefully still working on a new muppet movie, we may be looking at a second golden age for Henson's creations, and that would be just fine with me.

But beyond what interests me, of course, the biggest news of the day is the Oscars' big gambit: To double the number of best picture nominees from five to 10.

The move, which sounds great to me, leads back to a much earlier era; The last the time the academy had 10 Best Picture nominees was from 1931 to 1943. But why now?

Well, both the most obvious and probably the right reason is what happened last year with "The Dark Knight." Many folks, though by only a nose, not me, thought Christopher Nolan's flick should have received a Best Picture nomination. And, to be clear, if I had had a vote and there were 10 slots, I indeed would have given one of them to "The Dark Knight."

But what might it mean for this year? Well, I think it almost certainly means that "Up" will finally break into the Best Picture pack, and given it's rather rapturous reception, could even come very close to winning. Beyond that, if geeks are allowed to dream, could "Star Trek" even make the cut too? Probably not, but you can see how the wider field opens a bunch of possibilities.

My only possible beef with any of this is that it will probably make the already unbearably long Oscar broadcast even longer. My suggestion: Cut, immediately, that extremely morbid bit where the audience offers dead folks varying degrees of applause. That just makes me cringe every time I see it.

But, of course, beyond expanding the field to a wider range of films, there is a bottom-line factor that plays big into this. Though they won't say it publicly, I'd imagine the ability to stamp "Best Picture nominee" on 10 DVDs rather than five each year had to play a big role in this decision.

So, there you have it. Please feel free to chime in with any thoughts you might have on all of this, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.


Chalupa said...

I kind of enjoy when they recognize those from the industry who have died in the past year. I'm often unaware of half of them.

It would be cool to see something animated or in the sci-fi genre to break into the best picture pack. It's been a long time coming.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right there, Chalupa, but they really have to come up with a new way to do it ... I feel so bad for the lesser stars who have died in the past year when they get no applause, then the house erupts, appropriately, for someone like Heath Ledger

Chalupa said...

Ah, now I see what you're getting at. Yeah, totally agree with you there.

jeremy said...

So 188 is a mite bit ridiculous, BUT a stupid movie about stupid toys from the 80's that doesn't have the weight of well-written text behind it clocks in at 149 minutes. I really wish Michael Bay had never been allowed to make a movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to admit I kind of enjoyed the first one, Jeremy, though it certainly had its faults, but there's just no way I'm gonna go see this one ... As a matter of addiction I really have to go to the movies every Saturday afternoon, though, so I'll probably go see my favorite wide release movie of the the summer thus far, Drag Me to Hell, for the second time