The pitiful change was doubling the number of best picture nominees when it was such a weak year for film. It's a historic year (with Bigelow's win, certainly the strongest direction), but also... a disappointing one. One of the least successful box office films won best picture, a film that was no better deserving than say... White Ribbon or 500 Days of Summer. High concept films have all been ignored. Where the Wild Things Are, Coraline, Moon, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Doctor Parnassus, and Star Trek are examples of not meeting "best picture" standards. Even period films such as Bright Star (an early year release) or The Last Station faded into memory. Unfortunately the Academy has continued the message that successful popular films do not win, and that serious fare equals "good cinema". It just indicates how out of the touch they are with the next generation of film lovers.
Last year I was hoping to see a film that left a lasting impression. Like the first time I saw The Last Emperor, A Clockwork Orange, Lawrence of Arabia, or the Maltese Falcon... something... epic. Nada.
I wasn't the biggest fan of Avatar (it was... entertaining), then again I wasn't bowled over by The Hurt Locker either. To be honest, in thirty years the only film people will remember from this year is... Avatar.
It's a crap shoot, some of the greatest films have won the trophy, Gone with the Wind, Godfather, Amadeus, Out of Africa, Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, the most influential films are always passed over, Indian Jones, Rashomon, Star Wars, 2001 Space Odyssey, Pulp Fiction, Psycho, Big Lebowski, Vertigo, Rear Window, Alien, The Shining, Double Indemnity to name a few.
I mean.. has anyone seen "How Green Was My Valley?" or "Gentleman's Agreement?"
So the question is, is it better to be remembered or win a trophy?