Straight Outta Mandated Judgment: Yesterday morning, we endured our last day of pre-Oscar journalism.
At the Atlantic, Christopher Orr was making his yearly predictions. Here's the way he limned the Best Picture award:
ORR (2/28/16): What will win: The RevenantCarol should have been nominated, Orr said. So too for Straight Outta Compton.
What ought to win: Spotlight or The Martian
What was nominated but shouldn’t have been: Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn
What wasn’t nominated but should have been: Carol, Straight Outta Compton
Should those films have received Best Picture nods? We have no idea. We haven’t seen Carol or Straight Outta Compton.
Beyond that, we’ve seen only Brooklyn among the eight films which did get Best Picture nominations. (We’re inclined to agree with Orr’s judgment there.)
We don’t have any way to assess Orr’s statement concerning Straight Outta Compton, which became a sudden pseudo-liberal favorite in the post-nominations pseudo-discussion.
That said, we do have Google! Incomparably, we decided to see what Orr had said in real time.
Sure enough! On December 18, he presented his choices for “The Best Movies of 2015.” Do you notice a certain omission?
ORR (12/18/15): 1. SpotlightBack in December, Straight Outta Compton wasn't included in Orr's list of the twelve best films of 2015.
Many films are made about journalism, but few show any meaningful comprehension of their subject matter.Spotlight isn’t merely a great film about journalism (joining such classics as All the President’s Men and The Insider), it’s a great film, period.
2. The Martian
There aren’t many virtues more underrated than managing simply not to screw up. Ridley Scott’s latest is both about a tremendous team effort and the result of one: great lead, great supporting cast, great direction, great script, great everything.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Probably the most pleasant surprise of the year, and a much-needed corrective to cinema’s long over-reliance on CGI.
4. The Big Short...
6. Inside Out...
7. The Revenant...
8. Magic Mike XXL...
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens...
10. Steve Jobs...
He also listed ten “Honorable Mentions;” Compton wasn’t there either. Back in December, it wasn't included in Orr's Top Twenty-Two!
(When Oscar nominations were announced, Orr wrote this about the Best Picture selections: “The omission of Carol is disappointing, and those of Inside Out, Straight Outta Compton, Beasts of No Nation, and Sicario might arguably be considered mild surprises, though none are shocking.")
Was Orr right in December, or did he get it right yesterday? We have no idea.
What do you think of his unexplained change of heart? To us, it seemed extremely familiar. It almost seemed that the change in heart might have come Straight Outta Script.
Recommended pre-Oscar reading: Yesterday, in the New York Times' Sunday Review, writer/actor Colton Dunn wrote an intelligent, first-person account of the way Hollywood often works in the realm of "diversity."
Hooray for simple-minded stereotyping! In our view, this was Dunn's nugget:
DUNN (2/28/16): Hollywood has no time for your feelings. It’s not P.C. and it’s not racially sensitive. It’s got a short attention span. Even in diversity showcases, attempts are made to make the presentations more uniform, to not stray too far from what Hollywood usually does. And that showcase was about preparing us performers for what we’d have to do to get our foot in the door. Once inside, we can make some changes—if we haven’t changed too much ourselves while trying to get in."Attempts are made to make the presentations more uniform?" That the rule in mainstream "journalism" too. For our current Exhibit A, we'd audition Orr's change of heart.
That piece by Dunn was fair-minded, decent and smart. The analysts looked at us in utter confusion:
Why the heck was a piece like that in the Sunday Review?