Yes, you heard me. I think that Disney’s recent retro flick, Tron: Legacy was robbed of some Oscar nominations. Why, Oscar? Since when did it become a crime for a film to be, gasp, enjoyable?!? I kept meaning to go see Black Swan, because I find Darren Aronofsky’s movies intriguing, I love ballet, and in general I enjoy Natalie Portman’s work (current onslaught of taste-questionable comedies aside). But I never made it to the cinema. Why? Because I could never get myself in the mood to go see what is, by all accounts, a dark, disturbing downer of a film. Life has enough crappy moments, thank you. I like to escape all of that for a couple of hours when I go to the movies. Not to say that I only watch bouncy-fun-sunshine flicks where a happy ending is guaranteed in the previews. I love films that make me think, make me feel, make me cry, mixed in with yes, a bit of sunshine here and there. All I’m asking for is balance. Is that so wrong? Honor the blockbusters and the indies, recognize that just because something is popular that doesn’t automatically mean that it lacks in merit.
So T:L is nominated for sound editing, well done. But no special effects? There was an amazing bike race in 3D that made viewers’ heads spin. No costume nomination? No offense to True Grit, The King’s Speech, or I Am Love, because yes, well executed period pieces should be honored for that, but T:L had to create costumes completely from scratch, from the imagination, because no one knows what people who live inside of a computer would actually look like or wear. I suppose that I’m a bit biased, as I’m a fantasy film lover from birth, so I want to see the out there and extraordinary when it comes to costumes and special effects. But I also loathe snobbery in all forms, especially when it comes to the arts and people’s enjoyment of them. Yes, it is a shame when a glorious work of art does not receive mass recognition. But it is an equal shame when a popular work is dismissed as worthless on the grounds of its popularity.
[On that note, I think that it is a CROCK OF POO that the Harry Potter films have been thus far mostly ignored by the Academy. Some say that they’ll pull a Lord of the Rings and give heavy nominations to the final film in the series. I have problems with this not only because there were some really phenomenal adaptations produced early on (re: Prisoner of Azkaban) but also because it seems to be saying that heaping praise at the end of an epic series provides enough recognition. It does not. And also, though I can’t imagine it, what if the last film just kind of sucks?]
What does this have to do with music, you might ask. Well, I was also highly disappointed that my favourite soundtrack from the last year wasn’t nominated either. And that is, you guessed it, Daft Punk’s Tron:Legacy. Sure, some parts of it sound like bits of any number of Batman scores. But to me, that just gives it classic film appeal. And the parts that don’t sound like a traditional “movie score” sound like REAL MUSIC! You know, as in the music that people actually listen to on the radio, or dance to in clubs, or purchase of their own free will. Note that I say this in part to be funny, as I am a HUGE movie score fan. I have over 65 albums that are purely movie scores, and Danny Elfman, John Williams, Wojciech Kilar, Graeme Revell, Hans Zimmer, Mychael Danna, and Alexandre Desplat are all brilliant in my book. (Hmm, that’s quite the sausage-fest. Where are all the lady composers? This needs to be explored further.) But it takes a certain something to be an album that can be played on many occasions, not just at Oscar parties or as background while doing the dishes. Though I enjoy the work of all of this year’s score nominees, the only album that even comes close to Daft Punk in terms of interesting (re: outside the norm) sounds and textures is the score for The Social Network (which, quite frankly, I hope wins the award, as I would love to see Trent Reznor onstage accepting an Oscar).
Maybe it’s not so much about film snobbery as it is about other things. Maybe there are just so many films being made today that picking out the ones to honor has become too daunting for the Academy, so they always revert to their old standby of going for the indie street cred. Maybe it’s high time that they create a category to honor the best use of 3D in films, since the medium has become so prevalent. Maybe it’s about issues that I’m not even aware of as I don’t work in the film industry. All I have is my opinion, and it is just that, an opinion. I believe that Tron:Legacy was a good film, and I believe that it deserved more critical recognition than it received, and that’s that.
And now, in order to justify this post on my music blog, I give you Daft Punk’s Derezzed. Happy Oscar watching!