The best thing about the Oscars last night is that they’re finally over! Entertainment journalists for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Holywood trade magazines will have to do some actual reporting again rather than industry naval-gazing, self-congratulatory celebrity worship and campaign-fueled PR fluff. Talented thespians, visionary directors and insightful writers (notwithstanding hack Paul Haggis) can finally get back to quality work instead of hitting the campaign trail. Even our old indie friend Bennett Miller appeared in a glossy full-page ad in The New Yorker (did he get a free entertainment center out of that deal?) No longer do we have to read about the endless guessing games, gambling odds and prognostications for an awards show that really has very little to do with the artistry of cinema.
In New York today, the press screenings for the New Directors/New Films series began at the Museum of Modern Art with a double bill of opening-night low-budget gems “Half Nelson” and “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros,” both Sundance discoveries that have one-hundredth of the glitz and marketing dollars of your standard Spirit or Oscar award-winner, but hold about million times the talent and the humanity. Everyone, take a breath of fresh air.