And the winners are...
The ultimate triumph of technology over art? Quite possibly. It seems like James Cameron wins awards for making really, really BIG films. Films that make use of technology in ways never before seen and while that may make for an interesting visual spectacle I'm not sure that makes for interesting film.
Avatar was essentially an advertisement for how BIG special effects and CGI have become. The script was leaden and lumpen. The "acting" didn't deserve to be called such. The plot was heavy handed and, possibly, crass.
Like the all conquering "Titanic" it seems like James Cameron is to be rewarded simply for making visually impressive films. To my mind "Avatar" was the equivalent of eating at a fast food restaruant...everything looks really good, it even tastes good but an hour later you are hungry again and can't shake the feeling that you've wasted some valuable time and money for little real reward.
When one looks at the other candidates in this category it becomes even more galling that "Avatar" walked away with the prize. Only three have been released here in the UK but all three of them are better films than "Avatar". "The Hurt Locker" was more impressive visually, stunning cinematography that created a sense of dread and foreboding, fine performances from the leads and a central message that was delivered with subtlety. "Inglorious Basterds" had two of the last years best scenes (the opening meeting with the Jew hunter and the bar meeting) as well as a script that was simply brilliant. "Up in the Air" I haven't seen yet but I'm willing to wager it relies on performance and script to move the audience and not giant blue aliens poking things from the screen.
Equally disappointing was the decision to award Cameron the best director gong when there was so little evidence of direction on the screen that didn't come from a mouse and a keyboard. Tarantino dragged the best performance of the year from Christoph Waltz as the "Jew hunter" in "Inglorious Basterds" and was overlooked. That to me is a crying shame because if there is a director who has done more to push boundaries, to try new approaches and to push the mainstream audience working in Hollywood then I'm not aware of him or her. Cameron was a safe choice and one cannot help but wonder if the showering of praise on "Avatar" is as much to do with promoting a film that must take a record amount at the box office in order to claw back the amount spent on it.
We can only hope that on this occasion the Globes are not a hint at what the Academy are thinking.