Scott Feinberg has astutely pointed out that Steven Spielberg’s War Horse has galloped into the lead for the Oscar as Best Picture, easing past The Artist and The Descendants, with its old fashioned emotion and sentiment set against the horrors of war. Is anyone really surprised? Spielberg evokes the great works of John Ford and David Lean in his new film, which works its magic on the audience throughout, drawing tears here and there through the film until sob fest that is greeting the ending in some theatres. I watched more than a few grown men and women dabbing at their eyes as they left the theatre, warm smiles on their faces, fathers with one arm on their children, wives holding the arm of their husbands. The movie impacts people in that way, and the Academy likes that sort of movie, they always have.
The question of course is whether or not they will like it enough to honor it with a Best Picture award? They certainly might, and at this writing I am leaning to the fact that indeed they will.
I do not believe the Academy is going to give Spielberg a third Academy Award for Best Director, not for this film anyway. They may do so for Lincoln next year, but I am not sure War Horse is the stuff of Best Director, and frankly they have a chance to honor two of the greats of this generation in the same year. Imagine Spielberg wins Best Picture for War Horse, while Best Director goes to his close friend Martin Scorsese for Hugo. Two greats honored in the same year with the two top awards at the Academy Awards!!!! It gets no better than that. It could happen folks, in fact, the more I think about it, the more I believe it will happen. Think about it. The Academy is not immune to the attacks that they snubbed Scorsese for far too long before giving him an Oscar for his Boston crime epic The Departed (2006). To be realistic, the man should have won in 1980 for Raging Bull (1980) and again ten years later for Goodfellas (1990), bested both times by actors making their directorial debuts. NO the Academy realizes errors have been made, and splitting the wins this year allows them to right a wrong, honoring two of the greatest directors working today. Spielberg already has two Oscars for directing, and though he would love another, think that will come in time, next year likely for Lincoln. Scorsese will of course get another shot also, but this year he made a film about the history of the cinema and broke from the conventional style of film he usually makes. That is a bigger deal than people tend to realize. Yes John Ford made westerns, but not one of his four Oscars for Best Director was for a western! Why should Scorsese not win for Hugo?? It’s a magnificent achievement??
The Academy may go with The Artist, but I cannot see that happening because they so rarely honor foreign language films as Best Picture, and there are plenty of deserving American films this year. So watch the race, because it’s heating up, far from over and we have a close one this year.
Frankly The Artist might have peaked already.
Think about it, a Spielberg Best Picture win with Scorsese taking his second for Best Director….talk about a Hollywood ending!!