There’s nothing more to add to what “actressexual” blogger Nathaniel R. already made perfectly clear when he reacted to the umpteenth set of guild nominations reflecting the carbon-copy lineup of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire? And I quote: “I’m so confused right now. I swear that I saw 113 movies in 2008 and I’m beginning to think that I imagined 108 of them. Did I? Are these the only 5 movies that came out in 2008? It sure seems like it. Who knew that movie theaters were so empty all year? I specifically remember being in movie theaters and in all kinds of places and weather, too. Am I losing my mind?” Like Jamal’s game-show victory, it is apparently written in stone that these five films will move on to the next round; one gets the sense that this Best Picture lineup won’t actually have anything to do with Academy voters’ personalities, biases, or whims. And who are we to argue when there’s such a clear lack of alternative candidates below the line, thanks in large part to guild hegemony? Case closed, right? And yetthere is the small matter of voter passion. Academy nominations are set up in such a way that rewards passionate fan bases, something I’d argue at least two of these preordained nominees-elect don’t have; I’m looking specifically in the direction of the two films about politicians not named Barack Obama. Maybe living in the Obama era for the last 24 hours has filled me with a newfound sense of optimism, but I reckon that most of the voters who bother to cite WALL-E on their ballots are most likely to slot it at the top of their lists. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe old-guard Academy voting habits (the ones that hold politically liberal, aesthetically conservative biopics above all other films) die hard. But for now, here’s to blind hope.
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.