Given his due, but unduly

I don’t watch TV and I go out of my way to avoid the Oscars, but I’m given to understand that Martin Scorsese won Best Director for his remake of Infernal Affairs, which also won Best Picture. It’s fairly obvious to me that this was a guilt trip prize since Scorsese–who is genuinely talented if in a somewhat heavy-handed and brassy style–has never won either of these awards before in his long career. He’s certainly deserved it before now, but it’s really a pity he won for a slick, overworked remake of a better film most Americans will never see. Well, maybe a few of them will now look it up, though since no one seems to be copping to the title of the original Chinese film which William Monahan worked over to grab the Best Adapted Screenplay award for Scorsese’s flick, they may not know which film to rent.

I’m not going to say Scorsese’s film stinks–I haven’t seen it and it probably doesn’t–but I’m doubtful that the slick, Irish-Mafia tale told in classic Hollywood style by one of Hollywood’s flamboyantly “gritty” and over-the-top directors has quite the same soul and impact as the dark, intense, and intimate film it remade. Just the idea of scenery-eating Jack Nicholson as the crime boss undermines the concept for me. Oh well. Scorsese got his Oscars at last and I doubt any of the films he was up against were so much better that they were “robbed” in handing off the little naked gold guy to Marty, instead.

Let’s face it: Helen Mirren was The Queen, and who needs to prove that with an award for the film, too?

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About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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3 Responses to Given his due, but unduly

  1. Christopher says:

    Interesting comments. While I don’t completely agree with all that you’ve said, there’s no doubt that Scorsese deserves the Oscar more for his overlooked movies than for this particular movie – but to touch on what makes this movie special enough to win an Oscar, first of all, it’s his best movie since Goodfellas and second of all, he gets a lot out of an ensemble cast of actors who can often dwarf the movies they are in. Here no one actor aggrandizes themselves, they all make use of their screen time effectively and any amount of scenery chewing is kept to an acceptable level. I haven’t seen any of the other contenders for Best Motion Picture in 2007, which tends to say something about their inherent attractiveness as I am a huge cinephile.

    You are however correct that The Departed is not in any way similar to Infernal Affairs, where Infernal Affairs had true tension, The Departed has more twists and turns – the real letdown of The Departed is actually the removal of empathy for DiCaprio’s “cop as a criminal” character, since they construct the story in such a way that the inevitable cat and mouse endgame doesn’t carry as much dramatic punch. They do slip in a nice change at the end though, which actually makes the movie stand alone while giving a very nice nod to the original.

    Btw just finished Greywalker, I’ll be e-mailing you my thoughts shortly.

  2. having lived in Hollywood at one time and having a family member who is connected to “the biz” I simply have no stomach for the politics of Oscar. I think Scorsese deserved his awards long ago and I’ve never gotten used to the “guilt” awards like this one. The SAG and DG know full well he should have had it for Raging Bull at the very least. And I’m always a little offended at remakes winning awards the original didn’t even get considered for. Just seems unfair. But that’s Hollywood, ain’t it?

    Uh-oh… critical e-mail…. Will I feel the need to beat you with a noodle afterward?

  3. Christopher says:

    E-mail’s sent! It’s written with the best of intentions. I liked Greywalker, just had a few issues I wanted to raise and get your thoughts on. Hey, what’s the point of having a fanbase if you can debate it out with them? 😉

    And yes, Hollywood and the Oscars are a sham, sometimes I don’t even know why I bother talking about them at all.

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