WHERE THE FEAR AND THE ENVELOPES PLAY

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The results are in and the winner is….The Spirit Awards!

Plenty of lovely pictures represented this year.  It may be, pound for pound, as good a collection of films as Oscar ever nominated.  If there’s no film-of-a-lifetime in the pack, there’s also no Weinsteinesque Chocolat dead weight in the list.

But this has never been just about appreciating finely honed, delicate craftsmanship. We have finally reached the day of the near total collapse of the Big Dreaming Hollywood Movie – the sort of grand, massive, come-one, come-all unmatchable achievement that for a hundred years made Hollywood the world’s capital of dream-making.

The Oscars, again, are the essentially the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s big annual advertisement of the Magic of the Movies.  This is our chance to say – look what we can do here like no one else.  It is Hollywood’s chance to display its best, broadest, high-minded face to the world and put our hooks into a generation of movie goers and, more important, dilettante investors who will throw money at the chance to be part of it all.

But now when the world asks Hollywood to show them it’s best stuff, the studios’ answer is, “We’re not really in that business.”

You can’t really blame Oscar for turning away from studio pictures; the studios have at this point entirely stopped making films for them to nominate.  This year, The Poststands almost singularly in the Big Studio drama category. Get beyond superheroes, sci-fi and kids films, and there’s almost nothing left with a major budget anymore, except for the very odd misfire like Greatest Showman.

So what we’re left with is a show about honoring small, quirky independent films, seen by very few on the big screen.

Once this is about movies made outside the Hollywood system, the question might start being begged what do you need Hollywood for? If you’re answer is “distribution” you are completely missing what the fantasy of the Dream Factory was all about.  People across the world didn’t long to send their children to LA so they could meet the middle aged schlump who had a direct line to the manager of the Celebration 15 in Grand Rapids.

More importantly, a battle zone to awkwardly stumble through the flaming wreckage of whatever the breaking culture war of the moment is. Again, wonderful to give those issues a forum, but doesn’t make much of an ad for the wonders of the movieland.

What’s truly breathtaking, and speaks again to the total lack of leadership and vision is that at this moment with the movie business on the brink of implosion, the studios can’t find their way to churn out even the barest handful of films that could be plausible contenders for Best Picture of the year. Our great and fearless trailblazers at Disney, don’t even try.

  • ALSO IN TODAY’S EDITION! • OUT LIKE CLINT!
  • SAG SACKS!!
  • KUDOS CRASHER: PRODUCER PATTER!
  • NETFLIX AND THE BRIGHT STUFF!

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