' ' Cinema Romantico: Camille Paglia Is My New Hero (Or: Give Kate Winslet Back Her Oscar!)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Camille Paglia Is My New Hero (Or: Give Kate Winslet Back Her Oscar!)

About this time every year critics begin churning out their Worst Oscar Winners Ever list. In checking out a few I wound up reading blogger Edward Copeland's list from back in 2007. I give him points for not including Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny" which usually turns up on those lists and is so stupid and sickening and stale and tired I want to chase around anyone who ever writes it again with a snow shovel (?). I'm disappointed to see Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby", a performance which, apparently, the masses don't like as much as me and that's perfectly fine. But that is also what confuses me.

I can honestly say I recall some but not such vitriol directed at her back at the time of her nomination and win. (His point about Ms. Swank not needing to possess two Oscars, though, is fairly accurate seeing as how I didn't think she deserved her Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry.") I also remember critics loving Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball" and now she's one of the Worst Oscar Winners ever? Did people just not like her speech?

That is Kate The Great's Oscar, Hunt, not yours, so time to cough it up.
Most puzzling to me, though, is Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets." Not that she deserved the Best Actress Oscar in 1997 because, my God, she did not, no chance, but because I do not recall this level of apathy toward her at the time. Back then, and now, I was firmly on the Kate Winslet Rose DeWitt Bukater bandwagon. (For crying out loud, I'm the guy who just called for a Rose DeWitt Bukater statue to be built.) That will forever be one of my absolute favorite performances of all time. I ranted and raved and raved and ranted and I got pissed when Hunt took the stage but no one else at the Oscar party I attended that year even rolled an eye. No one minded. The damn thing's got an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes so someone liked it. Hell, it was an NY Times Critic's Pick - Janet Maslin called Hunt's character "irresitible." Now everyone's backtracking?

Anyway, long story short, one of the fellow Hunt haters mentioned a quote by the "anti-feminist feminist" Camille Paglia, a name I've heard but with whom I'm pretty much unfamiliar. No longer! She's my homey! She has said what I've been saying - literally - for the past 13 years! Here's the quote: 

"One of my personal crusades is to dog Hunt and her Hollywood clique forever for the atrocity of her winning the statuette over Kate Winslet, who single-handedly carried a worldwide blockbuster, 'Titanic,' through her virtuoso display of emotional power and athletic prowess (remember that ax in the rushing waters!). I wrote then in Salon.com, and I renew my call here, that anyone who sees Helen Hunt in the street or anywhere else should shout, 'Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!'"

On this very blog I have written: "For all it’s special effects wizardry and the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio it is Winslet that emerges the heart and soul of this film....Plain and simple, she makes the most successful movie of all time work." And: "Look at later how she runs around the lower decks of the sinking ship with the axe. She looks exactly like a teenage girl whose never carried an axe once her life running around the lower decks of a sinking ship with an axe. That is not easy."

She shimmyed with an axe in a flimsy dress through a flooded set while James Cameron likely screamed at her just off camera......and convinced.
My friend Daryl has been talking recently about how he wants to get in on the Protest Fever that's sweeping the globe. I mean, who doesn't want to get in on all this Protest Fever? But what to protest? It's gotta be something you believe in, ya know? Well, by God, I've found it! This is it! I'm buying a megaphone, making a picket sign and seeing if I can get Camille Paglia to meet me out at Hollywood Blvd with a megaphone and picket sign of her own. We'll chant it all night long! We believe! If you believe, this is your chance to join us! We can all make a difference! Let your voice be heard! Fight the good fight!

Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!

Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!

Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!

Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!

Give back Kate Winslet's Oscar!


Wretched Genius said...

As much as I want to march in the streets and throw rocks at the houses of the Academy members, I'm afraid I have to sit this one out. I'm in the minority that think Hunt deserved it. That movie was a nearly unbearable Jack Nicholson mugging showcase, but it stayed slightly afloat thanks to the performances by Hunt and an incredible Greg Kinnear (in one of his first roles that showed he could actually act and not just host late, late, late night talk shows).

Put your Rose-colored glasses aside for just a moment (see what I did there?), and really step back and look at Titanic. That was Winslet at about 60% of what she's capable of. Yes, she was good, but she was not great. I know this because I've seen her be great in like 20 other movies. Hunt, on the other hand, has been great exactly once. She deserves to keep her award. Besides, film history has already settled firmly on Kate's side anyway.

Nick Prigge said...

If you come anywhere near our protest with your pro-Hunt propaganda, Camille and I will pelt you with rotten fruit. Fair warning.

Andrew K. said...

But, Nicholas, to be frank...you know that that Oscar is really Helena Bonham Carter.

(But in the Helen/Kate saga my vote goes to Kate obviously. Come on? Is that even a fair competition?)

Nick Prigge said...

You know, I have to admit I've never actually seen "Wings of the Dove." But I had been thinking about how I'd never seen it ever since I saw and loved "The Heiress" so much. So I'm putting it in my Netflix queue right now. Thanks for reminding me.

Although as great as I'm sure Helena is, I know I'll still be on Kate's side. I'm kinda biased. I mean.....it's Rose.

Castor said...

Well the general attitude was so apathetic that I didn't even know Helen Hunt had an Oscar until I read your piece LOL

Nick Prigge said...

Yeah, Helen Hunt never really seemed to capitalize - or even really attempt to capitalize - on the momentum of that Oscar.

Daryl said...

Billy Zane was the burning sun that lit up your precious Kate and made her shine. I'll be protesting THAT Oscar slip-up, thank you.

Edward Copeland said...

Just to clarify, those weren't my choices alone. I conducted a survey of the worst (and the best) and that's how they added up and it was only for the best actress category. We did separate surveys in different years and times for the best and worst best pictures and the best and worst best actors, so you needn't have worried about Marisa Tomei. We never did a survey on the supporting actress winners. I do believe that Hunt did not deserve it because her performance was lacking, if only for that come-and-go accent she tried to use alone. Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter, Judi Dench and Julie Christie all gave better performances that year.

Nick Prigge said...

Daryl: Please protest on Wilshire Blvd. We want you nowhere near us.

Edward: My apologies. I probably could have explained that. It's just if I realize I have a chance to rant about Kate Winslet my emotions will always get the best of me.

simoncolumb said...

Kate Winslet is great! And I love TITANIC too. I think that most men get too caught up in the romance and, for want of a better word, don't want to look like a sissy.

Its bloody good and, damn, right, Winslet should get that Oscar back! bloody Helen Hunt.

Nick Prigge said...

Thank you! I appreciate your support! You are so invited to the protest!