Sunday, January 13, 2008

Awards Without Perspective

Tonight, as the Golden Globes are being announced (not awarded in a glitzy ceremony, due to the writers' strike, but just announced in a press conference), I'll take the occasion to register my perennial complaint about the short-sighted awards process. In the Golden Globes (which are usually a bit better than the Oscars), of all the many nominations for 2007, you can find few films that were released more than six weeks ago. Even though the awards are supposed to be for all 2007 films, in practice nothing counts before November. (They did manage to remember Hairspray, La Vie En Rose, and Across the Universe. But as I said, the Globes are usually a bit better about this. Oscar's memory won't go back to last summer.) This, of course, is just a manifestation of our society's short attention span problem. But the unhappy result of this is that movie studios all trip over each other to release their best movies in December, giving us a glut of movies at Christmastime, right when most of us are up to our ears in Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, getting together with family, not to mention year-end job pressures, and have little time to see any movies. Then there are other times of year that are real "droughts" when it comes to finding a movie to see. The various awarding bodies could do us all a favor, as well as up the quality of their awards, by delaying their decision process until later in the year. Just as it's impossible to judge the historic importance of any event right after it's happened, you also need some perspective gained with the passing of time in order to judge a truly great film. Many movies are very enjoyable, and you may be excited about them the next day or week. But give it the perspective of half a year or so, and then see which films you truly remember. (That's how I know "Once" was such a stand-out film. But where are the awards for that?) So, want to have some serious Oscars? Move the nominations back to July and make the awards in September for the prior year. Then a reprise of the award winners could help fill that film drought that usually happens in October.

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