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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

evening clickbait: games for little girls to play at teh sexy; BAFTA voters reward big-budget movies they haven’t seen; Disney helps fracking industry propagandize kids

• Newsflash to those who haven’t already gotten the message. “Little girls deserve better than to be told to make themselves sexy” [The Guardian]

• I’m shocked. Shocked! “Bafta whistleblower says voters reward big-budget movies they have never seen” [The Guardian]

• Adorable. Disney thinks we’ll believe that when they helped propagandize kids about fracking, they only wanted to get the tykes interested in sci-tech. “#DisneyFracked takes Radio Disney to task for its pro-industry propaganda” [Salon]


posted in:
awards buzz
  • RogerBW

    The moment any award has enough voters and publicity to have a huge ceremony, it’s become irrelevant to anything except popularity contests. I reckon the Hugos have long since gone the same way.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Arts and entertainment ALL* industry awards have always been popularity contests. Ever was it thus, and ever shall it be. If you think otherwise, you’re fooling yourself.

    The Hugos, at least, aren’t voted on within the industry. Hugos are awarded by members of the WorldCon community, i.e. readers as much as writers and publishers. It seems to be a self-satisfying exercise to complain that Hugo voters are doing it wrong. But these people quite literally pay for the privilege of a voting membership. They can do it any goddamn way they want.

    *FTFM

  • RogerBW

    The Hugos are, as you point out, open to anyone who pays.

    The Nebulas, by contrast, at least have the advantage of being slightly restricted.
    But I’m much more interested in small awards (like the AWFJ’s) where there’s no incentive for anyone to try to buy them.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I don’t really follow BAFTA press, but does it also get accused of only rewarding smaller, art-house films that on one sees, the way AMPAS does? Whistleblowers or no, detractors can’t really have it both ways.

    Even if one accepts that fracking is the great evil it’s opponents try to portray it as, what exactly is RadioDisney, let alone the Walt Disney Corp., supposedly getting out of “propagandizing” for the gas industry? What’s the message here: “sure, we want kids interested in science and technology, but only the ‘right’ kind of science and technology”?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So, you don’t want the unwashed masses getting a vote?

    small awards (like the AWFJ’s) where there’s no incentive for anyone to try to buy them.

    What you get then is no less a popularity contest. Just one with lower financial stakes and a smaller clique to appease.

  • RogerBW

    The masses already get a vote. It’s called “highest sales”.

    I don’t care for any contest that simply reflects that. What’s the point?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So, no.

    What, indeed. Actually, that’s easy: self-congratulation. I read once that the entertainment industry (can’t recall if it was film in particular, or arts and entertainment in general) is the most self-congratulatory industry in the world, handing out something like one award every 15 minutes.
    And the reason for all this mutual masturbation is equally obvious: marketing. Either to market a product, or for an awarding organization to market itself.

  • It’s not so much the Oscars or BAFTA but critics who are accused of rewarding only small arthouse films. But sure, it could be both ways for AMPAS and BAFTA: they could be rewarding both big films and small ones. And they often do.

    I don’t know what Disney’s motive was in helping to promote fracking, except that it is an enormous corporation involved in many energy-intensive areas of media and entertainment. But this isn’t about a “right” or “wrong” science but about promoting an industry that is hugely problematic. Do you imagine kids were getting information about other sources of energy in the fracking presentations? Or information about how we might transition away from a carbon-intensive civilization? Selling fracking to kids isn’t about science but politics and profit.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I think we hear about it with the Oscars every year. It was part of the impetus to open up the Best Picture to 10 nominees. But the people trying to have it both ways aren’t the voters, but the detractors. Of course, that’s not really fair either, as it is different sets of detractors coming from opposite sides.

    Referring to something as “problematic” is entirely about “right” and “wrong”. It’s a diplomatic (or, depending on your perspective, backhanded) way of calling something “wrong”. And, yes, as a matter of fact, I can imagine information about other energy sources being included. Or rather, I don’t have to imagine it, I see these kinds of presentation materials all the time – science teacher here, after all. I don’t expect it to get equal time, any more than I expect information on improvements in fossil fuels to get equal time in a presentation about alternative energy.

    These kind of presentations are about science and politics and profit. Barring some massive, unforeseen advancement in fusion or water hydrolysis or photovoltaics or even drilling (into geothermal sources), petroleum science and engineering are going to be excellent fields in which to make a living, and make a difference in the world, for probably the rest of the century,

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