Art and the blockbuster

On February 24, 2013 The Oscars™ will be handed out in the televised part of the awards presentation. Please note that the people receiving most of the technical awards happens earlier and is not broadcast (because, as we know, technical people aren’t as pretty as movie stars (except in Britain)).

I mention this because the leading movie is Lincoln – a film I have not seen yet – directed by Steven Spielberg – a person I have not meet, yet. Lincoln (not the vampire killing one) is up for 12 Oscars. Twelve, and a nice mix of technical and acting – with best directing and best picture in for the topping out.

I’m talking about this because a colleague thinks that Spielberg has this ability to make movies that are a custom-fit for The Oscars. By that he means the sweeping cinematography, depth of casting and gravity of the topic (also see: Schindler’s List, Munich, Saving Private Ryan, etc.). That, in his view, Spielberg knows which buttons to push to make a movie worthy of oscar nominations. And that makes him a lesser director – compared to, say, David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) or perhaps P.T. Anderson (The Master).

Perhaps, or maybe…

Just maybe, there are people that what we perceive as placating to the audience – but really it’s just one of their styles. A style that meshes well with the overall theme and intent of the work. I on the other hand think that Steven Spielberg is nothing short of brilliant. Because without thinking that I can’t explain 1993. That was the year that both Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park were released. If you didn’t already guess – he (Steven) directed both.

I believe there people who just have that ability to make great things (not just limited to movies). And sometimes those great things can be viewed as selling out, or giving people a great (expected) experience. There are a lot of directors I really like and admire – but I don’t think many have the diversity (and pure skill and talent) that one Mr. Spielberg processes. The range of films that he has directed is pretty impressive, let alone what he has produced and people he has fostered. (Steven Spielberg’s IMDB page).

If there were a magical formula, and everybody had access to it, you’d think there would be nothing but better movies. But there are not – otherwise how would you explain Battleship? Seriously!

Who is your favourite artist that might get accused of being formulaic?


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