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Oscar Watching: “It’s So Fluffy”… and Awful?

Forgive me for cribbing that movie quote, a line you couldn’t escape – believe me, I tried – upon the release of Despicable Me in 2001. It aptly describes the film: not much in the way of story, little more than an excuse for androgynous yellow creatures to spew gibberish. It’s fluff in the worst kind of sense, and as you can imagine, I’m hardly its biggest fan.

But is all fluff bad? After all, if fluff films are inherently bad, then important films are good by nature. Binaries, you know. This came up on Twitter last Thursday. I’ve yet to see Saving Mr. Banks (it’s… complicated), so I figured I’d ask about its box-office prospects. The conversation then shifted to a discussion about “fluff” movies. Here’s what more or less happened on my feed.

Twitter is good for nothing if not showcasing knee-jerk reactions. I dismissed Banks as a film deserving of awards consideration long before “the season” began. My attitude didn’t change – after Disney made clear that it would put a major push behind Banks, after it played well at the AFI Fest, even after Anne Thompson reported that members of the motion-picture academy enjoy the film.

Granted, this has less to do with whether Banks will be a major contender (not much of a question at this point) than my own perception of its quality. But subject matter does not in itself define a film’s quality. Ditto tone. Important is not always good; fluff is not always terrible.

But moving into the awards discussion, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announces its year-end nods tomorrow morning; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) unveils the Golden Globe nods on Thursday. Check out my nominations predictions alongside this week’s Oscar picks over the following pages.


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The Author

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.