The Curious Case of the Feel-Good Underdog Indie

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Hey Jamie,

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So have you seen Slumdog Millionaire? I’m guessing yes since it seems everyone has but me. Now, you know I’m not one of the motivated ones that goes and sees all the Oscar nominees.  I’m lucky if  I get to see 1/3rd of the main films. But I still want to have a say here.  What’s with the obligatory feel-good underdog front runner every year? I’m sitting here watching the BAFTA‘s and Brad and I are rolling our eyes at Slumdog winning every single award, even the ones that should obviously go to well crafted movies like Dark Knight and Ben Button.  Is it a natural instinct in Hollywood to build up the big ones just to watch them fall? Or is it that we all need to feel good so much that we’ll raise up a “good” movie to “great” if it makes us weep?

We’ve seen it before. I hated-HATED-Little Miss Sunshine. I loath to be manipulated by film in such an obvious way. Especially by cooler than you hipsters trying so hard to be outside the fray, they come off as elitist themselves. However, I did think Alan Arkin ruled!  And Juno. Not as bad, but still just a sweet little movie that deserved to make some money, but Oscars? Really? And don’t get me started on crap like My Cousin Vinny and Big Fat Greek Wedding. Oy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good indie. Milk rocked my fucking world this year. Bone-chillingly good. Sean Penn is my new god. But the cold shoulder the Academy shows toward some of its biggest successes like Wall-E or Dark Knight has got to stop. Stop smirking, Slumdog. You’re not that cool.

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2 Responses to “The Curious Case of the Feel-Good Underdog Indie”

  1. David Says:

    Its a good film, and I think its a better film than Benjamin Button, but I’ll admit I’ve always go for the underdog.

    But as I pointed out on facebook, both films have too much Forrest Gump going for for it.

    Not saying Dark Knight should lose anything, but the Oscars have never been about rewarding tent-pole films like the Batman film -besides, everyone knows Ledger has Best Supporting Actor locked up.

    Oscars like almost any film on the Holocaust, period dramas and recent musicals (I liked Chicago, but it was not the best film in my opinion, and don’t get me started on Moulin Rogue). But they also like films about underdogs and the problems filmmakers have bring these type of films to the screen.

    Benjamin Button is a good film, great performances but I think it comes up short.

  2. Emma James Says:

    I completely agree regarding Juno, but I actually think Slumdog deserves the kudos. I’m very glad to see Milk get the attention it deserves. But I must disagree that Dark Knight got left out. Yes, Heath Ledger is amazing in it. But you take him out, and the movie is pretty boring. Ironman, as a story, was stronger, in my opinion. But it all comes down to marketing dollars anyway.

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