Variety Magazine makes a very good case for the need for an over haul for the foreign language oscar, one that I’ve been trying to make for years but they’ve said it better. One prize for all those countries? Seriously? We have to sit there and listen to Michael Douglas and Julia Roberts gush about themselves like they just cured cancer or something for 3 hours and the very best foreign films in the world get maybe 5 minutes? Seems dumb if you ask me.
A couple of years ago I found a post on mymovies.it by Robert Bernocchi which was essentially a “Who cares if we win we didn’t want the stupid thing anyway” declaration, an “in your face, Academy Awards!” that smelled like sour grapes but was still quite lovely. I liked it so much that I translated it and I reblog it every year around the time that Italy makes its submission for consideration.
Here it is, and remember, except for the title, it’s the actual translation and not me being sarcastic or ironic. In the end,everyone always want to win, but Robert Bernocchi has set it up for us – if Italy’s submission for Oscar consideration is not chosen, we’ll look like “we really didn’t want it anyway”.
1) How do we make the right choice? Who knows what those nut cases are looking for on any given year anyway and we’ll never know if another film might have done better.
2) We want to choose a film that is exportable but how can we know that? Gomorrah did very well abroad but didn’t even make it to the short list for the Oscars. If someone can tell us what the hell they are looking for, please come forward.
3 ) The rules are always changing anyway and a formula for choosing that worked one year might not work the next. And don’t forget, Italian cinema doesn’t have the support of Miramax anymore that in the 90s produced 3 Oscars for La vita è bella.
4 ) There are more than 60 candidates for one prize – the odds are against us.
5 ) Who really cares anyway about the debatable opinion of a group that is going to make a pretty random choice anyway. Better to worry about ourselves and how well our movies do abroad than worry about this silly Oscar.
(Unless Sorrentino’s ‘The Great Beauty is nominated this year, and in that case, never mind.)