Thursday, 25 February 2010


Roadshow Films
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While not the worst film ever made, nor even the worst you'll see in 2010, The Blind Side is easy to hate on. That's thanks largely to its Oscar nominations for Best Picture, and Best Actress for leading lady Sandra Bullock. Perfectly adequate as both a family and sports drama, The Blind Side honestly has no place among the 10 contenders for Best Picture, this or any other year.

And as for Bullock, let's just say that should she win Best Actress (and over Meryl Streep no less), it will be one of the biggest travesties in Oscars history. Not that Bullock gives a Razzie Award performance (though she is up for one of those, too, thanks to All About Steve). As Leigh Anne Tuohy, Memphis middle class, Christian mother of two, Bullock is fine; bleached hair and a southern drawl helping her stretch her seldom used dramatic chops. But fine shouldn't score you an Oscar nomination and it certainly shouldn't see you win.

Leigh Anne and her husband Sean (Tim McGraw) take in homeless adolescent Michael Oher (Quniton Aaron), a student at her children's school who stands out as much for his size – he's a giant of a boy – as for the colour of his skin. Michael is one of the few black students at the Christian private school, “a fly in milk” as Leigh Anne so eloquently puts it. Michael flourishes when taken under the Touhys' wings and roof. His school work improves and he begins to excel on the grid iron field (the film's title refers to the position Michael plays), so much so that he comes to the attention of several college football coaches.

That The Blind Side is based on a true story and Oher now plays professionally in the NFL, makes for an impressive story and no doubt screamed "inspiring" for the filmmakers. But it's an uninspired film by director John Lee Hancock, and for mine (as well as others) it also smacks of racism.

Such quibbles haven't prevented the film grossing $250 million in the US, the first female lead film to do so. And I'm sure audiences here will lap it up too, probably a large percentage of those who thought Gran Torino was a great film (that's right, I didn't!). That success perhaps goes some way to explaining The Blind Side's inclusion in the 10 Best Picture nominees. Sadly, money talks.

Bullock's nomination, similarly, could be seen as a recognition of her career success, especially 2009 where her romantic comedy The Proposal also grossed $300 million plus worldwide. And I'm not totally averse to career Oscars; Jeff Bridges' win this year will partly be in recognition of his stellar career, littered with terrific performances, of which Crazy Heart is simply the latest. Conversely, Bullock's career is not littered nor even sprinkled with great performances. She is by no means overdue and her likely Oscar win will be thoroughly undeserved.

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