Sour grapes from Proulx

So the film based on your short story — a great film, by the way — wins a bunch of awards at various venues, but loses the Best Picture Oscar in an upset. What do you do?

If you’re Annie Proulx, I guess you write an incredibly tacky piece for The Guardian, in which you call the Best Picture winner “Trash” and rail on the Academy, its voters, and the award ceremony in an extended rant that is neither smart nor funny.

I guess I’m still young enough to be surprised when smart, articulate people use their considerable skills — and access to major media outlets — to embarrass themselves in the most conspicuous ways possible. Proulx may be an author capable of a very good story, but she comes across as utterly classless in her Guardian piece, taking the description “sore loser” to a new level. To slightly adapt the old saying: Better to keep your mouth shut and let people wonder whether you’re an ass, than to open it and remove all doubt.

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3 Responses

  1. LT says:

    I guess I would agree . . . if she weren’t absolutely correct.

  2. Jason says:

    The piece was a little obnoxious in certain aspects. Her whine about the acting awards is misplaced. Hoffman did a magnificent job as Capote, not as a mimic, but in leading the audience inside the character. There was a lot more to his performance than the mannerisms, voice, etc. Moreover, Proulx’s paragraph-ending complaint that “The subject never comes up” regarding mimicry of real people vs. creation of new characters is utter bullstuff. What world is she living in where this debate isn’t happening?

    Her snide comments about Three 6 Mafia come off as backward and ignorant of the musical value of rap. I agree, actually, that the live performance was pretty bad, but the song is phenomenal. I’m not sure it’s better than “Lose Yourself,” but it was certainly better than the overwrought tripe Dolly Parton brought out.

    That said, Crash was terrible. I was shocked that so many people loved it, shocked that it was nominated for anything beyond an acting award or two. It was clumsy and boring, and will likely be as well-remembered (and as oft-rented) as “Shakespeare in Love” in about five years.

  3. Anon says:

    I found much of Proulx’s diatribe spot-on, so long as she wasn’t talking about Hollywood’s inherent conservatism or the travesties associated with Crash’s victory over Brokeback.

    From my perspective, at least, neither film was any good. I found Crash’s dime-store moralizing borderline offensive, and its metaphors tinny and shopworn. The kind of movie I could stomach and at times enjoy in the theater (I have a soft spot in my heart for Dillon, Howard, and Ludacris), but I have come to resent its manipulations more and more over time. Well made and well acted, but not a great movie.

    Brokeback — Interesting themes. Beautifully shot. Competently acted (besides Anne Hathaway, who should focus on “Princess Diaries 3 — The Abdication” instead of any serious film). The problem? It was a bad story, poorly directed. Compared with The Ice Storm (another Ang Lee product investigating sexual desperation), Brokeback was minor league stuff. I walked into the theater hoping to see a masterpiece. I walked out knowing that I had seen a film I was supposed to think was a masterpiece. There’s a difference.