Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Seinfeld's doc-diss

While I interpreted Jerry Seinfeld’s joke-a-thon intro to the documentary awards as play for Oscar host next year, John Sinno saw it differently. And he has a point.
Sinno, whose “Iraq in Fragments” didn’t win, has sent an open letter to the Academy (and to the press) to protest Seinfeld’s disrespect of this traditionally undervalued category. Before you say boo-hoo (as I was initially inclined, since at least Seinfeld was a respite from all the trumped-up sobriety of the slick show), consider that nearly every other awards category was treated with awe and dignity. (Except maybe those child actors being forced to make badly scripted jokes about the “shorts” categories.)
My problem isn’t with Seinfeld introducing the nominated docs as “incredibly depressing” — because that was rather funny, and rather true. It’s that somehow everything else in the show has gotten so serious and pompous that Seinfeld’s ribbing stood out in the midst of a politically correct, essentially boring evening. The other awards were positioned as momentous events worthy of suspiciously glistening eyes.
Sinno goes on to protest that there wasn’t any mention of Iraq. Here I disagree. It’s tedious when celebrities use the Oscars as a podium to go all noble over world events. So, again, it wasn’t the lack of a mention of Iraq that was the problem, it was that this year’s Oscars were an informercial for the eventual doc winner, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, I’m all for fighting global warming (or “global warmings” as Will Ferrell pronounces it in one of his hilarious riffs on President Bush speaking to the nation; Google it and you’ll see). But between all the Gore-boosting of the evening and the trio of Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola waiting to welcome long-overdue Martin Scorsese into the Oscar fold, it looked like the fix was in. (Can you imagine how humiliating it would have been for Marty if someone else had trotted up to accept the directing Oscar from his three amigos?)
So I’m not necessarily in favor of making Sinno et al whole by enshrining documentaries as they do other categories. I’m for taking it all down a peg, or at least getting a grip. You know more ink has been spilled about Jennifer Hudson’s silver bolero jacket than about anything else Oscar night, and that the real power of the Oscar show is in its ratings, so stop trying to overcompensate. The only part of the evening that truly merits those glistening eyes is the so-called Parade of the Dead clip reel, the only time the audience understands the true value of things.

Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“What Quibi trying to do is get to the next generation of film narrative. The first generation was movies, and they were principally two-hour stories that were designed to be watched in a single sitting in a movie theater [ED: After formats like the nickelodeon]. The next generation of film narrative was television, principally designed to be watched in one-hour chapters in front of a television set. I believe the third generation of film narrative will be a merging of those two ideas, which is to tell two-hour stories in chapters that are seven to ten minutes in length. We are actually doing long-form in bite-size.”
~ Jeffrey Katzenberg

“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz