Friday, February 28, 2014

Raymond Chandler Hates the Oscars

"The head of a large studio once said privately that in his candid opinion the motion picture business was 25 per cent honest business and the other 75 per cent pure conniving. He didn't say anything about art, although he may have heard of it. But that is the real point, isn't it?—whether these annual Awards, regardless of the grotesque ritual which accompanies them, really represent anything at all of artistic importance to the motion picture medium, anything clear and honest that remains after the lights are dimmed, the minks are put away, and the aspirin is swallowed? I don't think they do. I think they are just theater and not even good theater. As for the personal prestige that goes with winning an Oscar, it may with luck last long enough for your agent to get your contract rewritten and your price jacked up another notch. But over the years and in the hearts of men of good will? I hardly think so."
The Oscars are this weekend.  I stopped watching the ceremony years ago as the results are completely irrelevant to me.  I would never say I hate the Oscars, as that would require more energy than I'm willing to devote to them.

The above quote is from a long piece by Raymond Chandler that appeared in The Atlantic in 1948 and you can read it in its entirety here.  Chandler was the creator of the private eye Philip Marlowe in the novels The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely, both of which have been turned into movies several times.  He was also a screenwriter who contributed to Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train.  Chandler had an inside view of the Oscars and he hated them.  In this age of Twitter, I don't know how many people will bother to read his entire article, but it is a good counterpoint to all the hype that will wash over us in the next few days.


Floyd Norman said...

I've followed the Oscars since I was a kid. I'm not in awe of the ritual nor do I have disdain for it. It's show business after all. And, as they say, there's no business like it.

I'm now a member of this interesting organization. I honestly never thought I would be, but life is full of surprises, isn't it?

Pete Emslie said...

I used to watch the Oscars every year since I was in my teens. Last year was the first time I'd missed the show, mainly due to having given up my TV service the summer before. Fact is, I don't care to watch the Oscars anymore since I rarely see new films now. The folks who currently run the Hollywood studios have forgotten how to make truly entertaining films, and the glaring lack of real colour from their post-production digital meddling just makes me sick to look at these modern mediocrities. I'll stick with watching older films on DVD on my home set-up, thanks just the same, Hollywood!

Chris Webb said...

People think Hollywood is best at making movies. But the thing Hollywood has always done best i hyping itself.

This is just more hype that has nothing to do with the real world, or the role movies play in most people's lives.

Pauline Champetier said...

I never watched the Oscars and I think I won't..
I haven't seen many of the live action films so I can't really tell, but regarding the animation awards the award that went to Frozen was so disappointing to me..

It seems that every year it's the same kind of animated film that receives the award.
No matter the quality of the other nominees. So I think there's no interest in watching the ceremony, as we already know which films are really likely to win an Oscar.
At least there was 'Mr Hublot' !

Anyway, the recent article on Cartoonbrew about the Oscars and animation highlighted how this ceremony can be fake. For those who haven't read this article yet it's right here :