San Diego Fringe: Scenes From Mars One: Now With 68% Less Gravity! and Los Dorados (The Golden Ones)
David Dixon 10:30 a.m., July 28
What separates the Independent Spirit Awards from the Academy Awards? Guests are allowed to consume alcohol during the ceremony. I didn't realize the same held true when the time came for compiling a list of nominations.
Let's take Celeste and Jesse Forever, for example. The nomination that the largely improvised and wholly forgettable romcom received for Best First Screenplay is funnier than anything in the otherwise embarrassingly amateurish mess.
Every year I log an average of anywhere between 200 - 250 films and every year when awards season rolls around it's invariably the same 12 films up for discussion. Are voter's attention spans shorter than those of an average MTV viewer? Why is it that the majority of the films up for consideration are November or December releases?
Because November and December are the months when studios send out stacks of "for your consideration" DVD screeners. Critics and voters, too lazy to get off their asses and actually do their jobs by going to a theatre, can judge films in the comfort of their homes.
For a critic, watching a film on television instead of seeing it projected on a theatre screen is tantamount to phoning in a sick day.
It's been this way forever as far as the dopes at the Oscars and Golden Globes are concerned, but it's more than a little disheartening when the Independent Spirit Awards begin dipping into the same vat of escapist junk as their Academy counterparts.
This year I have decided to pull a George C. Scott and decline from participating in the San Diego Film Critics Society annual year-end vote. I'll publish a ten best list, but when it comes to voting by committee, art should not compete.
For those interested, here is this year's list of Independent Spirit Awards nominees.
Best First Feature
Best First Screenplay
John Cassavetes Award for films made under $500,000
Best Female Lead
Best Male Lead
Best Supporting Female
Best Supporting Male
Best International Film
Robert Altman Award for Ensemble - Starlet