The offer from indieWIRE to publish 10 best lists from industry types and bloggers is a wonderful thing. The more voices we have out there, the less we are enslaved to the conventional critical wisdom. So why haven’t I posted something?
1. Academy Rules… As a voting member of the Academy (and BAFTA and the PGA), I am reminded at least once a year that we are not supposed to make our preferences known to the outside world, lest they be used to prognosticate the results. Nevermind that my Academy votes and my 10 best list might not resemble one another, because as we all know, voting for “Climates” for the Best Picture Oscar is about as useful as voting for Dennis Kucinich for President.
2. Conflicts of Interests: If I put films I’m involved with on my list, I look like a shameless marketer or worse, a deluded egotist. On the other hand, if I didn’t love the movies I worked on, why would I choose to work on them? After all, it’s not as if I work for some big company the obligates me to work on things I hate.
3. More Conflicts of Interests: If I don’t put films I’m involved with on my list, what will that say to the filmmakers I work with? Am I disloyal? Will I destroy their already fragile egos? Will I reduce the ancillary values?
4. Limited Choices: I see a lot of films, but in a way, they choose me, I don’t choose them. I watch films that are looking for distribution. I watch films that have independent distribution and want to play in our theaters. I watch Academy screeners. But there aren’t enough hours in the day to screen everything that is thrown my way. So I am definitely influenced by the critical establishment in terms of what I feel I have to screen. I’m including in that equation the folks that curate film festivals, who have the arduous task of narrowing down the films that even the critics are exposed to. That leaves a whole lot of movies that never get considered.
5. OK, I really don’t have 10 reasons…but it made for a better headline.