Hit or Miss

Okay, I’m going to abandon my career predicting award nominations right here and now. As has been repeatedly remarked upon, 2013 was a particularly rich year for films, but even so, I’m more than a little disappointed that most of my favourites have failed to garner even a mention in respect of the Oscars. Whatever happened to The Place Beyond the Pines, which featured Derek Cianfrance’s lyrical and thought-provoking script and a number of terrific performances, including Dane DeHaan as Jason and Eva Mendes as Romina? Nor was there any mention for Steve Carell or Alison Janney, both superb in The Way, Way Back. Or what about the many other very worthy contenders such as Behind the Candelabra, Breathe In, Side Effects, Mud and Frances Ha, none of which have been recognized in any category whatsoever. Some very decent British films have likewise failed to pick up nominations – for example Sightseers, The Selfish Giant or my personal favourite, Le Weekend. There have been some similarly surprising omissions from the list of foreign language film nominations too, for example Blue is the Warmest Colour, Wajdja and Cate Shortland’s Second World War story, Lore. Again none of them got a single mention.
That isn’t to say that the films that have been nominated aren’t great too. I loved American Hustle, and Bradley Cooper richly deserves his nomination for his performance in that. It would be fantastic to see Steve McQueen carry off the Best Directing award for Twelve Years a Slave. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine was another stand out for me, though on the night, I predict the statuette will go to Sandra Bullock for her space tears in Gravity. I haven’t yet seen either Nebraska or The Dallas Buyers’ Club but am looking forward to doing so soon.
What this indicates is just how arbitrary the whole business is. Every so often, I’m asked what my favourite film is, and the truth is that I don’t have a favourite film because there are dozens I love for all sorts of reasons. Some remind me of a particular time in my life, some are clever and thought-provoking, some are deeply moving and some just make me laugh out loud time and again. Each of them is wonderful in its own right. How do you go about comparing Some Like it Hot with The Godfather? Or Breakfast at Tiffany with Carlito’s Way or Little Miss Sunshine with The Painted Veil? At the end of the day, success depends on luck as much as anything else. Yes, talent and perseverance and sheer hard work are essential prerequisites, but the fickle finger of fortune plays a very big part too. What about all the great films that have never been made because the writer just didn’t manage to find the right producer, or because the director didn’t manage to pull off that all important pitch that could have secured the necessary funding? When you really think about it, that journey from an idea in the head of a writer typing away at the kitchen table somewhere in an obscure corner of the globe, to the big glittering night when the finished film is celebrated and rewarded by a theatreful of the most famous and glamorous people on the planet seems nothing short of miraculous. Do I really believe in my heart-of-hearts that it could happen to me? I don’t know. Is it worth trying for it? Again I don’t know, but for now I’m still sitting here.

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1 Comment

Filed under Screenwriting, Writing

One response to “Hit or Miss

  1. Pingback: Hit or Miss | Veronica Haidar

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