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SkiFreak

Chariots of Fire

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1) While AMPAS has its issues, it gets it right most of the time. It's certainly not more corrupt than FIFA or the IOC. I mean, really eusebius.

2) Anyone who has made a decent effort to follow the Oscars would know how silly those last three points are.

Re point 1 go look at the manner in which Miramax and Harvey Weinstein has been involved in its campaign to accrue Oscar nominations and votes, particularly with regard to the win of 'Shakespeare in Love'. Or for that matter producers of the most recent Best Picture winner 'The Hurt Locker' were engaged in a direct email campaign that broke the ethical rules of the AMPAS yet it still took the prize. Considering the amount of money that is involved with an Oscar endorsement and the cut throat nature of the Hollywood film industry, and such historical precedents it's a fair call to question the ethical standards of AMPAS when it comes to their voting process. Perhaps I'm guilty of hyperbole however when you have a $500+ million film like Avatar losing out to a $11m indie production with its main supporters breaking the rules of the awards then something does seem wrong.

Re point 2 it's easy to forget how American-centric the Hollywood film industry was in the 70s and early 80s. A simple run down of the best picture winners between 1968 and 1981 shows that every Best Picture awarded in that period was for an American film. For example, take 1979 when The Deer Hunter won for Best Film and Michael Cimino (who after Heaven's Gate disappeared without a trace as an American wunderkind director). Only four out of 20 acting nominees were non-American and Alan Parker was the sole non-US director nominated. And for the period 1970-1979 only about 4 of the 50 nominees for best picture had non-US production ownership. As someone who has been watching the Oscars for over 30 years it's been obvious that since 'Chariots of Fire' there has been a growing internationalisation of the Academy Awards and the Hollywood film industry in general, and before then local interests and local stories were more prestigious for the main audience of the Oscars; i.e. Americans.

And if you think my point about 1981 being a great year for film is ridiculous how come this was also the year that saw must-see and critically acclaimed foreign produced/directed films 'Das Boot', 'Gallipoli', 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' and 'Tre Fratelli' not get nods in the Best Picture category?

Frankly any discussion about what is a less deserving Oscar winning film is moot because there has to be some question as to what constitutes a film being better than another when winning such an industry voted award. The Academy is an American institution which has made questionable awards which in the past have leant towards American themes, actors, directors, stories and producers. To claim there hasn't been this historical bias is in turn ridiculous.

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The Hurt Locker won just about all of the precursors. That's why it won. E-mail or not, it would've won anyways. Trust me.

If you had truly followed the Oscars as of late, you would know that.

And yes, while AMPAS has been historically US-centric, that's not the reason why critics in general, and not just Oscarwatchers, would agree with the consensus. That's just how the cookie crumbles. They generally didn't think the film was "best of the year" worthy. That was the point I was trying to make.

Edited by nykfan845

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The Hurt Locker won just about all of the precursors. That's why it won. E-mail or not, it would've won anyways. Trust me.

If you had truly followed the Oscars as of late, you would know that.

And yes, while AMPAS has been historically US-centric, that's not the reason why critics in general, and not just Oscarwatchers, would agree with the consensus. That's just how the cookie crumbles. They generally didn't think the film was "best of the year" worthy. That was the point I was trying to make.

In all these posts about 'Oscarwatchers' and 'they' you've yet to post anything aside from general comments with no citations or historical evidence and then made sweeping statements including references to me (firstly) not following the Oscars and now not following the Oscars of late. Instead of making unsubstantiated comments when in fact all you really want to do is express your personal opinion about the film (which in itself is fair enough) how about posting a quote from somelike like a Rex Reed, a Gene Shalit, a Leonard Maltin to back up your argument. This consensus you talk about has so far been your word and yours alone.

By the way just because a film wins the major awards before the Oscars (such as the SAGs, the British Acadmey Awards etc) as The Hurt Locker did is no guarantee that it will win the Best Picture Oscar; 'Brokeback Mountain' was one of the most recent cases in point (losing out to 'Crash' which did not garner as much positive critical support in previous awards). 'The Hurt Locker' could just as arguably have won against 'Avatar' because of the push behind Kathryn Bigelow's directorial awards as well as the historical trend for the Academy to reject science fiction nominees that have also a significant box office record (Spielberg and Lucas both know about that issue). There is even the political aspect of the Academy finally endorsing the war in Iraq via 'The Hurt Locker' as seen through mainstream Hollywood cinema which is something that no other preceding film had accomplished. The email campiagn wasn't the reason why it won, it was representative of the manner in which the Aacdemy will be subject to its own observances of artistic and commerical ethics when handing out awards.

Finally another part of the antipathy possibly felt by some against 'Chariots of Fire' is that David Puttnam's subsequent stewardship of Columbia Pictures was remarkable in how much antagonism he aroused during the two years he was studio head. It's very easy to draw the conclusion that the Hollywood establishment and those who support it would have found the win of CoF in 1981 and from there Puttnam's ascent into a powerful studio position as something to be dismissed or attacked.

So...how about being upfront and saying your personal opinion is 'Chariots of Fire' is that it wasn't one of the most meritorious of best picture Oscar winners and then corroborate that with supporting citations, critiques or history?

PS: This list of the 1000 best films from the NY Times includes from 1981 'Reds', 'Atlantic City' and...surprise surprise: 'Chariots of Fire'. Plus '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die' (Quintessence Editions 2003) includes 'Chariots...' but doesn't include 'Atlantic City'...hence I have far greater faith in these and my own views on the worth of 'Chariots of Fire' than so-called unnamed Oscarologists...

Edited by eusebius65

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Did THe Hurt Locker actually win? God, in my mind, I thought AVATAR won!! Anyway, have no burning desire to see THE HURT LOCKER. No great special effects. One needs those you know.

I don't think the Academy has to apologize for picking American stories and themes, Seb. As you pointed out, it is an American (marketing) institution, so it's primarily doing its job. Is it the Academy's fault that the Oscars are the biggest and most prestigious of the all the Film Awards events of any country? I mean India and China have bigger populations but their film industries' appeals have limited reach.

Besides, the Oscars already set aside an award for non-Hollywood films, the Best Foreign Language Film...so I don't know where all the griping is coming from. Plus, they opened up the Best Picture lot to 10 films. R they still going ahead with that?

And I always have my OWN Best Picture which trumps the Academy's choice whatever it is they pick. :P

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Did THe Hurt Locker actually win? God, in my mind, I thought AVATAR won!! Anyway, have no burning desire to see THE HURT LOCKER. No great special effects. One needs those you know.

I don't think the Academy has to apologize for picking American stories and themes, Seb. As you pointed out, it is an American (marketing) institution, so it's primarily doing its job. Is it the Academy's fault that the Oscars are the biggest and most prestigious of the all the Film Awards events of any country? I mean India and China have bigger populations but their film industries' appeals have limited reach.

Besides, the Oscars already set aside an award for non-Hollywood films, the Best Foreign Language Film...so I don't know where all the griping is coming from. Plus, they opened up the Best Picture lot to 10 films. R they still going ahead with that?

And I always have my OWN Best Picture which trumps the Academy's choice whatever it is they pick. :P

Baron, I agree 100% with your comment about the Oscars being an American marketing institution, and I don't think it needs to apologise for its American bias. But it doesn't actually truthfully reflect what some perceive to be its stature as the premiere criteria for film excellence. You raise the issue of the Best Foreign Language film is the award for non-Hollywood films, but this of course means that any non-Hollywood English language film (from the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, Ireland etc etc) have to compete in the same marketing space as does the giants of the Hollywood system. Plus having looked at the AMPAS site for their rules re Best Picture they make no reference to Foreign Language excluding that categories winner from the Best Picture (or vice versa). So therefore (as my original gripe re the criticism of Chariots of Fire being 'least deserving') is that the Best Picture Oscar is in itself a biased, subjective award influenced more by its context and its role as a marketing tool for American movie studios than it is by the actual quality of the films that either attain or fail to get nominated. To judge a film less worthy based on the Oscars as a criteria is an unfair assessment (at least your stance regarding the historic authenticity of the movie has a more honest appraisal of the actual content).

And in fact the increase of nominations from 5 to 10 is a tacit acknowledgement from the AMPAS that this is the case: how else can the Academy justify such a wide selection otherwise when Film Festivals such as those at Cannes, Berlin and Venice simply have the awarding of a Grand prize simply announce a winner based on a jury of critics or experts from the industry. The Academy are covering their arses with their financial sponsors by making sure that even more films can be spruiked to the public as 'Oscar nominated', hence hopefully improving the box office.

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For those of you with a bent trivial according to Stephen Fry's new autobiography he makes an appearance as an extra in 'Chariots of Fire', wherein he appears after the college dining scene...

As to his attitude to the experience perhaps these credit sequences from the TV version of his Footlights Revue give some idea...

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Finally got around to watching it. Good movie, albiet slow pacing most of the way.

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i love this film. but i can't be objective if it was deserving of an oscar or not since i haven't seen reds, atlantic city, on golden pond and raiders of the lost ark (not a fan) but i simply love the music of this film. but i agree about some comments about how the politicking works at AMPAS. IMO, for best actress for example they usually give it to whoever is America's Sweetheart (Reese Withersppon over Felicity Huffman to name one).

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Thought I'd reboot this thread.

Picked-up the movie on Blu-Ray with the digibook packaging and watched it again. I think I enjoyed it more on this second viewing, but was a little ticked Mr. Bean was not added in. ;)

ChariotsofFireMrBean.jpg

The picture and sound is really good on this new edition. Also comes with a 4-song sampler CD.

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