This vet’s vote for the Oscars: District 9 for Best Picture
Posted Mar 05 2010 10:00pm
What do you suppose might come to pass if a spacecraft full of intelligent, decrepit and dying humanoids arrived in Florida today? We’d carve out a center-state site (somewhere near Clewiston or thereabouts) and build them the kind of pre-fab, hurricane-proof housing we’re devising for post-earthquake Haitians. But that would raise lots of issues, right...
All week long I’ve tuned into chatter on the subject of Oscar night predictions and preferences. Yet not once have I heard anyone offer up Best Pic nominee District 9 as a possible winner––much less a sentimental favorite.
Which kind of makes sense...I guess. Given its repulsive characters, over-the-top gore, strange script devices and category-defying plot (is it black comedy? farce? action flick?), District 9 has got to be the all-time oddest, most offensively anti-mainstream Best Picture Oscar nominee ever.
Which is probably why there’s something about District 9 I can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s because this South African-set and -directed flick plays the mockumentary genre to bemusing and shocking perfection before leaping into formula-driven action mode in a violent fit of hard-core irony.
But even all this excellent space oddity wouldn’t be enough for a Best Picture Oscar...not by itself. After all, if pure fun, a great script, brilliant acting and directorial finesse were the point, I’d back Inglourious Basterds all the way.
No, an Oscar winner should have it all: guts, glory and, by all means, a moving subtext. Not that the roster of recent winners can necessarily lay claim to this trifecta. But that’s how I see the ideal Oscar pic. Which is why I’m gunning for an alien sweep in tomorrow night’s Hollywood spectacular.
Yes, District 9 has lots more to offer than its basic plot line (alien-meets-human under foul circumstances, humans treats aliens badly, human is infected by alien virus, human and alien redemption sort-of ensues...to-be-continued). What’s most exciting is how it manages to capture our imaginations along with our collective fancy by raising issues of human rights, refugee alienation and animal welfare in all their blurry-edged glory.
OK so maybe I’ve lost you. If so, it’s probably because you’ve not yet seen this movie yet. And maybe that’s because it’s a sci-fi, shoot-em-up flick you’re ill-disposed to devote an evening to. If that’s the case and you read this blog somewhat regularly, you should pause to consider that this film does indeed raise exciting issues of inter-species communication and culture in ways that make you wonder whether you might not want to consume sci-fi more regularly.