The Best Picture nomination of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s A Serious Man was the only whoo-hoo! among this morning’s officially announced Oscar contenders. Even I, one of the film’s biggest supporters, had lost hope that it would be included among the ten because so few seemed to share my feelings. After a while you just give up. But good sense prevailed among enough Academy members — thank the Movie Godz and the better angels of their nature.
Let it be loudly proclaimed and fully understood here and now that the Gurus of Gold who said that A Serious Man had no chance whatsover were Suzie Woz, Sasha Stone, Pete Hammond, David Poland, Dave Karger, Peter Howell, Eugene Hernandez and Gregory Ellwood.
The Hangover wasn’t nominated…yes! Everyone had declared early on that Crazy Heart was a performance movie, and so it didn’t make it this morning.
Why didn’t A Single Man make the cut? It certainly should have, being a far more impassioned, thematically distinctive and exquisitely shaped drama than The Blind Side. Was it the charge that it seemed too fashion-spready? That was one of the reason it should have been nominated — it gave the film a sense of visual harmony and expressed the tasteful tidiness in Colin Firth‘s character. Did some people have a problem with a preponderance of “Gay-O-Vision,” to borrow a term from David Poland?
Everyone knew that Invictus was second-tier Eastwood and most accepted the fact that it didn’t have a snowball’s chance, and yet nine Gurus of Gold contributors placed it among their ten, and in fact thought it was more likely to make the cut than A Serious Man. The Invictus/Guru brigade included Ellwood, Hammond, Howell, Karger, Mark Olsen, Poland, Steve Pond, Sean Smith, Stone and Woz.
If we were living in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s the above Gurus would be looking over their shoulders, changing the locks on their doors just in case, and wondering whether to plan extended vacations at the dachas or stay inside the Kremlin and wrangle it out with their enemies.