Strong showings for "Eighth Grade" and "You Were Never Really Here" highlight the Independent Spirit Award nominations                Review: Round-Up: "At Eternity's Gate", "The Clovehitch Killer", "Jonathan", and "The Last Race"                "Green Book" is a crowd pleaser of the highest order and a definite Oscar contender                Steve McQueen and a phenomenal ensemble cast help make "Widows" look effortless                "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" offers something for every type of Coen Brothers fan                Updated Academy Award predictions for early November                Review Round-Up: "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch", "El Angel" "The Long Dumb Road", and "Outlaw King"                Taking a look at potential Best Documentary Feature contenders                "The Front Runner" is a terrific and timely film for right around Election Day                Hollywood Film Awards Marked the Launch of Awards Season                Taking a first crack at Golden Globe predictions                “The Favourite” and “The Front Runner”: Films to see in November                Awkwafina to Host 22nd Hollywood Film Awards                Review Round-Up: "Bodied", "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms", and "The Other Side of the Wind"                Rosamund Pike is a force to be reckoned with in "A Private War"        

Oscar voters being old and out of touch

I’m really appalled by a stupid article in today’s New York Post about Oscar voters being old and out of touch. It’s quite the contrary. The Post writer–surprise–had an agenda and went for it. But she obviously knows nothing about the Motion Picture Academy. This is not the Hollywood Foreign Press.

This past December I made two trips to Los Angeles. Each time I went to small receptions, cocktail parties, and screenings for various Oscar-buzzed movies. It is the time of the year when older Academy members whom you don’t ordinarily get to meet– they’re retired, or not going to nightclubs with Lindsay Lohan–get to come and learn what’s happening this year with the Oscars.

These people invariably surprise me. They are sharp, bright, with it. They know all the movies, who’s in what, what every actor and director has done in the past. They can be charming, irascible, curmudgeonly, and supportive. You sit down at a table of white or gray haired folks and they start telling you what they did: danced in MGM musicals, always played the neighbor in Doris Day films, etc. They’ve seen everything, and they have a high standard. The highest.

So I wasn’t surprised a few weeks later, for example, when “Life of Pi” was nominated and so was Ang Lee. The people I’d interviewed in December had loved it. Adored it. What else had they liked? Jennifer Lawrence and”Silver Linings.” They were not so keen on “Les Miserables.” Ditto “Lincoln,” which I thought they’d go for in a big way. They liked the second half of it. Everyone said “Argo” then, and we weren’t listening.

Walter Bernstein was interviewed for the Post piece. I don’t think the writer knew who he was, only that he was the oldest member of the New York branch at 93. Walter, whom I admire greatly, was blacklisted in the 1950s– still a very sore subject. He was accused of being a Communist and had to use other people’s names to get his scripts produced. He was not a Communist. (And who cares if he was?) Aside from Walters’s thoughts on “Silver Linings,” I agree with him. But Walter’s perspective is definitely colored by what was done to him. The Blacklist remains Hollywood’s lowest moment in history.

As for “buying” Oscars: I think I received a candy bar or something for “Silver Linings.” Contrast that with the massive amount of merchandise accompanying “Lincoln”– books galore, a cookbook, and the CD came in an expensive white box with photo inlays. “Les Miz” also had a book that cost a fortune. There’s a rumor the soundtrack came on an iPod nano. (I wish they’d sent me that!) Luckily, no one sent grenades for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

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