Now that good taste dictates that we can’t play What Would Ernest Borgnine Vote For? during another particularly dreary season of Oscar forecasting, we’re forced to remove the plastic from our copy of What Would Ed Asner Vote for When He Isn’t Busy Writing Letters About Torture in Zero Dark Thirty? Except for the later game’s slightly more pronounced liberal bias, the premise remains the same: to gauge the chances of whippersnapper artistic visions trying to withstand the force of films that pander with almost chilling efficacy to the interests of AMPAS, whose average age we’re told is now a whopping 57. Of course, if there’s any category where we probably don’t need to bust out the Social Security-themed Chance cards and silver-minted tokens of Lou Grant and Carl Fredricksen feeding pigeons to determine the outcome, it’s probably this one.
An unflinchingly directed film of meager ideas, Amour may be as cold as a gust of Arctic air, yet its five Oscar nominations more than suggest that its almost inhumane reduction of old age to life’s ultimate horror clearly struck a nerve with a community who’s members grapple almost daily, and suffocatingly so, with an ageist industry’s notions of when actors have reached their sell-by dates. By comparison, the competing films, about Dutch royals bumping uglies, overgrown boys trying to show the high seas who’s boss, an African child soldier narrating her graphic life story to her unborn child, and the 1988 plebiscite on Pinochet’s presidency, will simply feel like articulations of other people’s problems. Perhaps “Michael Haneke” himself best elucidates the success of Amour by describing the film it could have been but no one, except possibly for us, would have wanted to see or give an Oscar to: “did u no sharon stone was origunlee interstd in playn the old lady in amour but dropd out wen we wudnt add a ‘vaginal seduction’ scene lol.”
Will Win: Amour
Could Win: A Royal Affair
Should Win: No