So this year’s Oscar nominations have been announced and once again the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to nominate a whole bunch of films that I have neither seen nor have even the slightest desire to see.
Meanwhile, the Adolf Grimme Institut which awards the most prestigious German TV award has seen it fit to nominate a whole lot of TV programs I have neither seen nor any desire to see*. But then, unlike the Oscars, the Grimme award has always had a reputation for recognizing terminal dullness.
Never mind that I really don’t get how the Grimme award categories work. Fiction and information/culture are self-explanatory, but the category “Unterhaltung” (entertaintainment), where I would expect to see talent shows, reality programs, quiz and variety shows and the like, also includes two scripted shows, the crime show Der letzte Bulle and Danni Lowinski, an Ally McBeal style comedy. Shouldn’t those two shows be nominated in fiction category? And why aren’t they? Not serious enough? Not about the Third Reich/East Germany/1968? Broadcast on a private rather than a public channel?
Meanwhile, here is yet another “Wah, those evil foreigners are ruining Hollywood, because they only watch crap” article, this time from the Los Angeles Times.
I’m getting very weary of those articles, because they inevitably drip with condescension. “Oh, those stupid foreigners are much too stupid to see the absolute brilliance of our films and our screenplays and they couldn’t understand them anyway, because they don’t speak English. No, they only want action flicks and blockbusters and stars.” Blah, blah, blah. Perhaps the real reason why audiences outside the US don’t care about Oscar bait “quality” films is because those films are simply not very good and they also lack the entertainment factor inherent in a big, loud, dumb action flick.
Finally, Germany mourns the death of film producer Bernd Eichinger who died of a heart attack way too early at age 61. Unlike this year’s entire slate of Oscar nominees, I have actually watched and enjoyed many of Eichinger’s films.
Eichinger helped to launch the careers of Wolfgang Petersen and Roland Emmerich among others and produced films as diverse as Downfall, The Neverending Story, The Name of the Rose which has the distinction of containing the first sex scene I ever saw on screen and turned me off the idea of sex for several years (hey, I was twelve and it was an unpleasant and unerotic scene), The Baader-Meinhof Complex, Nowhere in Africa which actually won the foreign language Oscar in spite of or maybe because of being deadly dull), the Resident Evil series, The Fantastic Four, Perfume, the Werner series, the drug drama Christiane F., which was the bane of my youth, The House of Spirits, the two Schimanski feature films, Das Arche Noah Prinzip, which was Roland Emmerich’s first film and one of the few German SF films, Die Konsequenz, which was Wolfgang Petersen’s first film and a pretty good drama about gays in prison and many, many others.
Eichinger was one of the few people who could do both award bait (Downfall, Baader-Meinhof Complex, Christiane F.) and sheer entertainment spectacle (Resident Evil, Fantastic Four, Werner, Manta, Manta) and sometimes managed to turn out films that were actually both good and entertaining (The Name of the Rose, The Neverending Story, the Schimanski films, The Noah’s Ark Principle). He will be missed.
*Except Neue Vahr Süd and that’s mainly for the local interest factor, since it was set and shot in Bremen.