It's a joke we've heard before: those who enjoy either Laws or Sausages should watch neither being made. It's a rule that also easily applies to the contemporary film industry. In other words, here's my scary little industry column - check back once a week, if you dare.
Perhaps the mainstream media can sleep safely after all. For all the hysteria swirling around about how the blogosphere was destined to ruin Oscar season with our obsessive prognostication, I think there’s a kind of studied, hipster-esque detachment going around the film blogs that’s worth paying attention to. How many blog posts have you read in the past month that start something like, “The Oscars are obviously totally worthless, but …”? The fact that the only answer to that question is “more than one” is sign enough that we have some kind of an epidemic on our hands.
So while the MSM Venn diagrams the hell out of the hype surrounding Brokeback Mountain and Crash, and each journalist worth his weight in pullquotes picks a circle and jerks away, I think it’s worth noting that neither film has seemed to interest the blogging rabble until some time this week. It’s evidence that someone is out of touch – although I’m not sure if it’s them or us – that the most interesting and impassioned critical discussion I’ve read on film blogs this awards season instead seems to center around Terrence Malick’s The New World, which, outside of multiple fawn-jobs by Manohla Dargis, has drawn virtually zero mainstream attention. However you chicken-or-egg the relationship between the Academy and the press, The New World is, of course, not nominated for Best Picture, and due to the perceived wisdom on Academy politics, it’s considered a long shot in the Cinematography category, the sole race in which it's been deemed worthy to compete. Tedium over these political guessing games no doubt lies at the heart of the apathy epidemic (whether, on a case by case basis, that apathy is genuine or feigned) - which makes it all the more noteworthy that it’s that exact political miasma that has finally caused the blog troops to rally around the flag.
I’m pretty sure it started last Friday when Dave Carr (blogging for the New York Times as The Carpetbagger, which has improved considerably since I was caught on tape calling it "dismal" in December) passed along the following tidbit culled from a phone call with a ballot-in-hand member of the Academy: