Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Oscars and Robert Altman

I didn't watch the entire Oscar program last night, though I saw more of it than I usually do. One of the things I saw, and the thing I'm going to comment on, was Robert Altman accepting the "Lifetime Acheivement" Award. Here's a man who is probably the greatest living American director, and who has been nominated a bunch of times for Oscars, but who has never won one. This is one of the reasons I don't really give much validity to the Oscars as a measure of excellence in movie-making. Folks like Altman, Orson Wells, and even Steven Speilberg are usually passed over it the final awarding. It's a shame, and proof that the Oscars are more about the vagarities of momentary popularity and Hollywood politics that about true quality.

That being said, it was a thrill to see him up there getting the Award. It made me want to go back and see such films as "Nashville", "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", "Brewster McCloud", "The Long Goodbye", and so many others again. It's such an amazing body of work, and one which is continuing to grow as he is still making movies. If you only know about Altman through "M*A*S*H" (a good movie but not his best), go find some of his other works like "California Split" or "Images". In fact watch anything he's made and you'll probably be seeing soemthing better than 85% of the crap that gets made nowadays.

Altman is a genius, and his films deserve to be seen and appreciated.

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