What is it about Little Miss Sunshine(367 screens) that has appealed to people this year? It's a very good comedy, a cross between two very familiar genres (the road movie and the dysfunctional family movie). Personally, I liked the film too. Yet it's already receiving major Oscar buzz. It doesn't follow the usual Oscar criteria: 1) an important social message, 2) a mental or physical disorder, 3) an adaptation of an important -- and preferably bulky -- novel, 4) based on a true story, preferably the life of someone famous, or 5) at least three hours long. (One of the characters is color blind, but that hardly counts.) Not to mention that comedies only get nominated once in every blue moon. So it has me completely baffled.

Actually I think this love may have something to do with the lack of certain kinds of movies than any kind of quality filmmaking on the part of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, two music video directors who made their big screen debut with Sunshine. Consider those other music video directors whose far more interesting films didn't get Best Picture nominations, like Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) or Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

categories Columns, Cinematical