Why We Must Begin To Take New Moon's Oscar Chances Seriously
As you know by now, virtually every American of moviegoing age purchased a ticket to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon since its Friday debut, boosting the critically savaged, but fiercely tween-hearted, sullen-vampire-and-shirtless-werewolf epic to $140 million in ticket sales, the third-best opening weekend result of all time. The staggering success of the film just as the awards season is about to begin in earnest means that whether we like it or not, New Moon has clawed (pun deliciously intentional!) its way into the Best Picture conversation, making us momentarily forget all about the cynical Oscar-bait studios are about to dangle before the Academy between now and Christmas. Confronted with this weekend's turn of events, Movieline is now forced to evaluate the Best Picture candidacy of Chris Weitz's gossamer ode to life, love and lycanthropy.
Those Ten Best Picture Nominee Slots Aren't Going To Fill Themselves
Ten nominees is a lot of nominees, roughly double the number of nominees the Academy has allowed in the Best Picture category since the olden times. Have we even seen ten movies this year? Can we even name ten movies that were released in 2009? Let's try, right now: Up, Transformers 2, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Hurt Bunker, Miley Cyrus Dancing 3D, and the one where a love-starved Katherine Heigl is tragically killed by her vibrating underthings. That's a mere six movies released in 2009 that come immediately to mind without checking the Movieline archives, a list that contains no more than four likely Best Picture nominees. Surely with a Best Picture field that wide open, there's room for a film that's evolved -- with stunning, mind-paralyzing swiftness -- from a mere teen curiosity to a full-blown, culture-dominating phenomenon. Surely Academy voters are reserving at least one of the ten yawning slots on their ballots for a film that's driving the cinematic conversation from an empty art-house and into a jam-packed, black-lighted aisle at Hot Topic.
New Moon Made A Lot of Money This Weekend
We cannot stress this enough: New Moon made a lot of money this weekend. Accordingly, we must do our best to correlate box-office success with nomination-worthiness, even if we're killed in the process. Just a year ago, nearly twenty entertainment journalists and five Oscar pundits suffered fatal injuries when The Dark Knight was presumably snubbed in favor of turgid, low-grossing Frost/Nixon following months of arguments about how the congenitally out-of-touch Academy desperately needed a lucrative crowd-pleaser in the Best Picture field. New Moon's triumph can avenge, in a significant way, those lost in 2008, even if it's not perceived as being the commercial/artistic achievement Dark Knight was. And based on the various, increasingly more desperate-seeming trailers released for forthcoming hopeful game-changer Avatar, we're still more than willing to hand the "mainstream entertainment that made tons of cash" slot before James Cameron has a chance to dizzy voters with the most realistically rendered pair of CGI alien breasts ever to grace the big-screen.
The Next Generation Of Oscar Obsessives Is Mobilizing
As recently as this morning, mainstream news outlets were reporting that New Moon fans, emerging from their local multiplex freshly ravished by sparkly vampires and body-sculpted werewolves, are making impassioned pleas to Academy voters not to overlook what is already being considered the Titanic of a new generation. "They always give the [nominations] to the boring movies. Let's give young people a chance to win some Oscars. It's time for a change," implored one revolutionary, according to MTV News. Said another in that same piece, "If Twilight got all this publicity for winning awards at the MTV Movie Awards and other awards shows, then obviously New Moon is going to get it. I think all of the movies are going to keep getting it in the years to come," already looking forward to the kudos awaiting Eclipse a year hence. In the coming weeks, the voices of these young Oscar-watchers will grow ever louder, cracking only under the twin weights of their maniacal ardor and the punishing onset of puberty.
Aging Academy Members Need To Drain The Lifeforce Of The Young To Stay Vital
The average age of Academy members creeps ever upward, over the last ten years increasing from 62 to "will probably be found dead next to an unwatched pile of For Your Consideration screeners as the DVD menu for Invictus repeats endlessly." The only hope these superannuated voters have for extending their lives is to feast upon the energy and enthusiasm of their grandchildren, who'll happily scrawl the name of their favorite movie on the ballots their disinterested nanas and pop-pops can't be bothered to complete on their own. Seeing the joy with which their twelve-year-old grandkids attack their first illicitly cast Oscar votes will both rejuvenate their flagging love of cinema and make them feel like they're in touch with the vibrant youth culture that will be driving Hollywood's decisions over the coming decade.
We Just Thought Of A Few More Movies From This Year, And: Eh, Whatever, Next!
Nine, Invictus (see above), Precious: Based On The Sapphire, and Up in the Air. Even after remembering some of the movies fretted over in the awardsosphere, we're not willing to elbow New Moon out of the Best Picture conversation. We haven't seen any of those yet and we're already sick of hearing about them, quite frankly. Thinking about New Moon still makes our skin leap to life with the intoxicating tingle of Oscar buzz.
We mean, come on! Do you really want to tell us that you prefer that pasty, tortured, smell-oversensitive bag of stale blood to the fitness-obsessed hunkboy whose tattered shorts are shredded into denim confetti each time he transforms into a giant, crudely animated wolf? If you're all up in Edward Cullen's vamp-business, you're so totally living in 2008. R-Patz is last year's obsession. Taylor Lautner is the hot-now. This doesn't really connect to our overall thesis about New Moon's Best Picture candidacy in a linear way, but it seems crucial to take a stand here. Anyway, see you in late January, when we're proven correct!