Tuesday, March 1, 2011
On Cinema, Sports and Predictability
This is the problem with an event like the Oscars: Given the flood of awards shows that come before (and the amount of coverage given to each), the winners seem patently obvious by the time the ceremony arrives. Imagine if there were five National League pitchers with 20 victories apiece, and sportswriters voted for the Cy Young Award every week in September before the final vote at the end of the season; that's essentially what the Oscars have become. They're predictable, and there's nothing worse, in cinema or in sports, than predictability.
This, above all else, is what's riding on the NFL and NBA labor negotiations, from a fan's perspective. Baseball, whether true or not, suffers from a perceived lack of parity--even if the Yankees or Red Sox don't play in the World Series, there is a perception that they are going to, and that spending six months following a small-market team may result in the occasional anomalous playoff run, it is generally a futile pursuit. And so baseball has suffered, and the NFL--despite a growing uncomfortability with the repercussions of violence--remains America's most popular sport, because a socialist collective can win a championship...and the NBA is in a state of flux, especially now, as power increasingly becomes concentrated in a handful of major markets.
Of course, I'm not saying sports will ever be as predictable as the movies. This is why, if I had to choose to eliminate one of the two from my life, I would choose film (though I'd prefer if it didn't come to that). Entertainment value is in the eye of the beholder, but I'd still prefer a world with surprises.
*For what it's worth: I would have voted for Fincher, Jesse Eisenberg, Jennifer Lawrence and Exit Through the Gift Shop.