I love the Oscars. I love the stars, the dresses (both good and bad), the thank you’s to Mom and Dad, the timid but funny jokes the hosts make: I love it all! This year, the Oscar Committee has decided to extend the field of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10. Accordingly, I have not seen all of the nominated movies so I don’t feel that I can make an educated decision about which movie is most deserving of being named alongside such great cinematic feats as Bridge Over the River Kwai and Braveheart. I can, however, say with great confidence which movie belongs nowhere near Mr. Oscar: Avatar. As such, I have decided to dedicate this post to the reasons that Avatar should not win.

First off, I saw this movie in 3D with my boyfriend on opening night and must say that I really did enjoy myself. I also enjoyed How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. Enjoyment is not the issue. My concern is that this movie lacks that je ne sais quoi that a Best Picture ought to have, and fills that hole with predictable dialogue and one dimensional characters. My second disclaimer, although I think this should go without saying, is that since I am going to mock this movie,  you may want to refrain from reading any further if you have not seen the movie yet and really want to enjoy it. That is not to say there any spoilers, since the predictable plot precludes spoilers from being possible. Anyway, enjoy!

1.) The ingredient that the humans are trying to obtain on the planet Pandora, but cannot, is called unobtainium. Could you imagine if, back when Superman was created, his writers decided that he could only be destroyed by the element known as ThisThingKillsSuperman? Nope! Not quite as special!

2.) I am not the PC police, nor am I someone who thinks that thematic elements of Avatar were overtly or subtly racist. I think people that saw this film through that lens are giving Cameron more credit than he deserves. Despite the fact that this movie took him ten years to create, I hypothesize that he is, in a word, lazy. Probably what I had the most trouble accepting was that this visionary director could create an entire new species of 10 feet tall blue aliens who connect their tails to other creatures in order to communicate, but he still needed to give them loin cloths? And face paint? And dreadlocks with feathers and beads, for God’s sake? If your film is about your creative vision, James, you should probably not have an end result that looks like Pocahontas mated with a smurf.

3.) For those of you who think I just created libel in claiming that James Cameron is unimaginative and, in a sense, lazy, please take the following into consideration. The Na’vi people of Avatar communicate and reproduce based on their tails, and yet Neytiri (played by the gorgeous actress Zoe Saldana and thus the “hot alien”) has breasts. Why? Well, rather than be crass, I will allow Mr. Cameron to explain it himself.

4.) I am all for art imitating life. I think it’s really special when a movie can narrow in on something marked happening in that time and place and represent it metaphorically. Avatar, in case you were wondering, is not an example of this. The references to the Iraq War are so overt it is as if James Cameron was concerned that the American people were quite literally unaware that their country is at war. Try and imagine, for a second, if Arthur Miller had inserted a line into The Crucible so that Abigail Williams accuses a woman in Salem of being a witch, and, on top of that, probably a communist! Take that, House Un-American Activities Committee! That is how I felt when a character in Avatar remarked that in order to “fight terror with terror,” they would deliver some “serious shock and awe.” Then again, with a bad guy that looks like this, I should have known subtlety was not Mr. Cameron’s key objective.

5.) Finally, since I think I have nerded out enough with reasons 1 – 4, James Cameron does not give a good acceptance speech. I held a small Golden Globes watching party this year, and we voted on “Best Acceptance Speech” as a category (don’t judge, it was incorporated into a drinking game). Cameron was not even nominated! After the “I’m King of the World” speech he delivered after winning Best Director for Titanic, my only hope is that if he does by some miracle with Best Picture this year, he will not deliver the speech in the Na’avi language. Unfortunately, I can’t put it past him.


Finally, some points have been made better elsewhere, and StuffWeLike.com did an excellent and very funny comparison among Avatar and a few other movies.


That’s it! As is always the case, whether you strongly agree, or disagree, or if you want to opine on who might come best dressed this year, I would love for you to leave it in the comment. I know I ripped on this movie, but come on, it’s what I do.