Oscar mistakes: ‘Departures’ winning over ‘Waltz with Bashir’

- Advertisement -


Throughout February, the Sound On Sight staff will take a look at the Academy Awards.

In 2008, there was one film out of all the Oscar nominees that had a birthright claim to what film critics love to call “inventing a new cinematic language” or “creating a universe of its own”, and this was not endearing and cutesy Slumdog Millionaire, or minority-rights conscious Milk or tastefully prurient The Reader.

The film that existed in a genre of its own was of course Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman’s mostly animated documentary on the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacre during the 1981 Lebanon war. The first mistake was the sole nomination it garnered for Best Foreign Film. Its genre-defying character could have as rightfully landed it into the Best Documentary or Best Animation categories. Only a very taxonomically-challenged Academy could have NOT nominated Folman’s crew of animators, their four years’ toil and minimal use of special effects. Instead, the Best Animation category’s infantilism was compounded by three ‘industrial’ big-studio nominees: Wall-E, Kung-Fu Panda, and Bolt. A bored trans-galactic robot is more original, one has to concur with the Academy, than Palestinian refugees getting massacred.

Within the Foreign Film category, how the Academy could have picked innocuous Japanese dramatic comedy Departures over Waltz with Bashir as the Best Foreign Film winner at the 81st awards ceremony is not so much incongruent as it is a testament to a convention of dousing an award in stale safety, bypassing uniqueness in order to dodge controversy, and ignorance about iconoclastic rarities like Folman’s one-off. Compare the treacle of this predictable, tear-jerking family drama about spousal respect and coming to terms with childhood trauma, rehashing tropes of which Hollywood produces by the spadeful with the violence and beauty of Waltz with Bashir:

[vsw id=”MtdENmR6jKw” source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”325″ autoplay=”no”]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtdENmR6jKw

[vsw id=”ylzO9vbEpPg” source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”325″ autoplay=”no”]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylzO9vbEpPg

Was the Academy’s blinkered choice underpinned by sheer senility (not to say obliviousness to great art when it hits one in the face) or was political timorousness also a factor? Critics in the US seems to have been as smitten with Waltz with Bashir as international festivals, so perhaps part of reason for snubbing it may be that the foreign film category to some extent ghettoises its contenders into a lay-by category onto which little of the Hollywood establishment limelight is usually shed. What’s more ironic is that the only jurisdictions that seem to have had a problem with the film were Lebanon, where it was banned, and Israel, where it was coldly received and even accused of whitewashing the IDF’s role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

In the end Daigo Kobayashi, the protagonist of Departures makes peace with his deceased father, earns his wife’s support and respect and matures into imminent fatherhood. All is well that ends well. Meanwhile, Waltz with Bashir finds itself suspended in the now perennial cycle of bloodshed, its closing images hauntingly petrifying:

[vsw id=”NkHzzT0d4P4″ source=”youtube” width=”500″ height=”325″ autoplay=”no”]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkHzzT0d4P4

 

Zornitsa Staneva

 





10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
20 Different Types of Balloons
12 Different Types of Tubas (Plus Interesting Facts)
Minivan loaded with beach stuff for day at the beach
The Ultimate Beach Checklist When Taking Young Kids to the Beach
Boy playing a trombone
10 Different Types of Trombones (Plus Fun Facts)
28 Different Types of Pineapple
20 Different Types of Limes
Table with a variety of nuts in bowls
20 Most Popular Types of Nuts (with Nutrition Fact Charts)
Bowl of cooked broccoli with walnuts
20 Types of Broccoli
Motorhome on highway going through Bryce Canyon in the USA
13 Types of RV’s (Recreational Vehicles) for All Kinds of Vacation Fun
Mechanic working on car in garage
10 Gift Ideas for Mechanics (Under $20, $50, $100 and $200)
A mechanic is repairing a car brake.
5 Different Types of Brake Pads and 6 Different Types of Brakes
9 Cool Minivan Alternatives
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
16 Types of Barbells for All Types of Lifts and Workouts
Basketball player slam dunking
29 Great Gift Ideas for Basketball Players (Under $20, $50, $100 and $200)
Inside a beautiful spa business
6 Capabilities the Best Spa Scheduling and Business Software Should Have
Ballet dancers in a dance studio
7 Features of the Best Dance Studio Business Software (Checklist)
Massage therapy clinic
7 Types of Massage Therapist Software for Growing the Business
10 Features the Best Hair Salon Scheduling Business Software Offer (Checklist)
Natural herbal vitamins.
10 of the Best Online Vitamin Stores
>