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Kareem Abdul Jabbar doesn't think Django Unchained should have been nominated for Best Picture

Feb. 20, 2013by: Alex Maidy

Now, before you get your panties all bunched up, read through this article. This is not another Spike Lee situation regarding the slavery plot of DJANGO UNCHAINED or the frequent use of the n-word in the movie. Rather, NBA legend and sometime actor Kareem Abdul Jabbar has a very interesting reason for why he thinks the latest film from Quentin Tarantino should not have been nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards.

Basically, DJANGO UNCHAINED is a B movie. A damn fine B movie, but still a B movie. Thats not an insult. Ive been in B movies, many of my favorite films are B movies, and B movies tend to make a lot more money than A movies.

Jabbar goes on to explain in a very detailed article at Esquire that a film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars should be held to the same lofty standards as Pulitzer or Nobel prizes. He says making an entertaining movie is not enough but rather the films worthy of nomination should be "technical marvels that offer meaningful insight into the subject matter". Jabbar goes on to explain how much he loves DJANGO UNCHAINED and SKYFALL, but feels they are not worthy of the top prize we have in American cinema.

I dont care if Tarantino got the historical details perfect because its a B film that is plot-driven and blood-fueled. As with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, the historical accuracy isnt the point. BASTERDS and DJANGO are basically revenge films: The entire plot structure is built to punish someone who does evil at the beginning of the film. Which is also why ZERO DARK THIRTY, one of the most suspenseful films Ive seen in a long time and would highly recommend, is also a revenge-themed B movie.

Jabbar calls upon the need for cultural gatekeepers, a select group who will preserve the arts most deserving of acclaim. While I personally loved DJANGO UNCHAINED, I cannot help but agree with Jabbar. Many cite the Golden Globes as representative of the worst form of Hollywood gluttony where movies like THE TOURIST are given nominations just to gain ins with the elite in the industry.

Plus, it is very interesting that this comes from a man most associated with professional sports. His movie acting in films like AIRPLANE and GAME OF DEATH do not bring to mind someone with the level of intelligence and insight that he brings to this article. No, I am not saying an athlete cannot be smart because there are many who are, but this was surprisingly better than what we get from some of our nation's top film critics.

Bravo, Mr. Jabbar.

Source: Esquire

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1:44PM on 02/22/2013
He's essentially right. DU is entertaining (much more entertaining than Inglorious Basterds), but Best Picture Nominee it ain't (and IB was nowhere near Best Picture quality).
He's essentially right. DU is entertaining (much more entertaining than Inglorious Basterds), but Best Picture Nominee it ain't (and IB was nowhere near Best Picture quality).
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6:04PM on 02/21/2013
Works for me, he's entitled to his opinion. Plus, it's not winning, right?
Works for me, he's entitled to his opinion. Plus, it's not winning, right?
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11:42AM on 02/21/2013
Why is everyone coming down so hard on Kareem? Everyone posts their own personal thoughts and opinions on this site and many other sites all the time. And I would put my money on the majority of people posting having no connection to Hollywood. The majority of people who voice these opinions are fans, much like us. So why is Kareem's point of view dismissed because he's a basketball player? Using that logic, all of you should stop posting and voicing your opinion because you are neither a
Why is everyone coming down so hard on Kareem? Everyone posts their own personal thoughts and opinions on this site and many other sites all the time. And I would put my money on the majority of people posting having no connection to Hollywood. The majority of people who voice these opinions are fans, much like us. So why is Kareem's point of view dismissed because he's a basketball player? Using that logic, all of you should stop posting and voicing your opinion because you are neither a film critic or working in Hollywood.
Just because he doesn't like a Tarantino movie isn't the worst thing in the world. I liked Django as well, but don't think it deserves the nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars. There were far better pictures that explored, developed, and presented themes and ideas in a more compelling way than Tarantino was able to present themse on slavery from the 1800s...in the year 2013. All I'm saying, is it's not like he tackled anything new with this picture.
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1:23PM on 02/22/2013
You're correct, but none of us here have the exposure as Kareem. He's a celebrity basketball player being interviewed about a movie. It's not like they interviewed some random basketball fan, your comparison doesn't make sense.
You're correct, but none of us here have the exposure as Kareem. He's a celebrity basketball player being interviewed about a movie. It's not like they interviewed some random basketball fan, your comparison doesn't make sense.
11:12AM on 02/21/2013

While I do respect him

I will not go to a hall of fame basketball player for their thoughts on movies. But I do appreciate their views and will respect them for it.
I will not go to a hall of fame basketball player for their thoughts on movies. But I do appreciate their views and will respect them for it.
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11:30AM on 02/21/2013
What does it matter if he plays basketball for a living. You come to this site for views and opinions regarding movies. And not to insult the fine staff of Joblo, but what makes their ability to analyze movies and hollywood anymore legitimate than a basketball players?

Kareem, like most people on this site, are giving their opinion from the perspective of a fan. Whether you agree or disagree is fine. But don't dismiss his point of view simply because he spent the bulk of his career
What does it matter if he plays basketball for a living. You come to this site for views and opinions regarding movies. And not to insult the fine staff of Joblo, but what makes their ability to analyze movies and hollywood anymore legitimate than a basketball players?

Kareem, like most people on this site, are giving their opinion from the perspective of a fan. Whether you agree or disagree is fine. But don't dismiss his point of view simply because he spent the bulk of his career playing basketball.
-7
8:59AM on 02/21/2013

Stick to Basketball

Django and Zero Dark Thirty (which I haven't seen) aren't B movies. Stick to basketball Kareem, because according to you any movie with a revenge plot is automatically a B movie and that is ludicrous. And shame on you for agreeing with him Alex.
Django and Zero Dark Thirty (which I haven't seen) aren't B movies. Stick to basketball Kareem, because according to you any movie with a revenge plot is automatically a B movie and that is ludicrous. And shame on you for agreeing with him Alex.
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7:15AM on 02/21/2013

Meh

I get what he is saying, but like the academy itself I think that view is a little outdated. Kinda like the term 'B movie'.
I get what he is saying, but like the academy itself I think that view is a little outdated. Kinda like the term 'B movie'.
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11:16PM on 02/20/2013
While I do disagree with him- I feel it's not so much the story or themes of said movie, but the artistic way in which they are expressed and with how much technical prowess (thus, yes 'DU' is a B-story but it's made with A+++ style, etc)- he brings up a great point. However, I do wish he'd elucidate us on what he considers to be A-material.
While I do disagree with him- I feel it's not so much the story or themes of said movie, but the artistic way in which they are expressed and with how much technical prowess (thus, yes 'DU' is a B-story but it's made with A+++ style, etc)- he brings up a great point. However, I do wish he'd elucidate us on what he considers to be A-material.
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10:15PM on 02/20/2013
While I disagree about whether Django Unchained should have been nominated (it was my favorite film of last year), the points he raises are really interesting for discussion, so I give him props for that. What does warrant a film being declared the best, or one of the best, of the year? Good stuff.
Also, I'm really glad he acknowledged what most people did not--that Zero Dark Thirty is as much a revenge movie as Django and not necessarily the artistically brilliant work that some are
While I disagree about whether Django Unchained should have been nominated (it was my favorite film of last year), the points he raises are really interesting for discussion, so I give him props for that. What does warrant a film being declared the best, or one of the best, of the year? Good stuff.
Also, I'm really glad he acknowledged what most people did not--that Zero Dark Thirty is as much a revenge movie as Django and not necessarily the artistically brilliant work that some are claiming it to be.
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9:19PM on 02/20/2013
It's not a B movie in the classic sense that it was made on a lower budget than big event movies, because it is a big event movie. But Tarantino IS a B movie director. He's the best B movie writer-director in the business, but his films all have a certain seamy quality about them that most Oscar-winning movies avoid.
It's not a B movie in the classic sense that it was made on a lower budget than big event movies, because it is a big event movie. But Tarantino IS a B movie director. He's the best B movie writer-director in the business, but his films all have a certain seamy quality about them that most Oscar-winning movies avoid.
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8:37PM on 02/20/2013

I don't want to see Django (Hear me out)

because I don't want to see a violent revenge flick: I know that slavery and (the holocaust for that matter) was bad and I don't need a movie telling me that slave owners (or Nazis) deserve to die just so I can feel good about somebody getting killed.
That being said, if a movie is well made then it deserves an Oscar nomination. Midnight Cowboy won best picture at the Academy Awards in 1970 and it was rated X. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was nominated in 2001 and it was a Kungfu movie.
because I don't want to see a violent revenge flick: I know that slavery and (the holocaust for that matter) was bad and I don't need a movie telling me that slave owners (or Nazis) deserve to die just so I can feel good about somebody getting killed.
That being said, if a movie is well made then it deserves an Oscar nomination. Midnight Cowboy won best picture at the Academy Awards in 1970 and it was rated X. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was nominated in 2001 and it was a Kungfu movie. If the Oscars are going dismiss "B movies" out of hand then they should create separate categories for drama, action and comedy and people who think dramas are the only deserving films will be happy while "B movies" and comedies can still get recognition.
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8:21PM on 02/20/2013
He lost me at Zero Dark Thirty. Django certainly has elements of a B-movie so I can see where's coming from on that one, but Bigelow's film is in no way, shape, or form a B-movie or a revenge film.
He lost me at Zero Dark Thirty. Django certainly has elements of a B-movie so I can see where's coming from on that one, but Bigelow's film is in no way, shape, or form a B-movie or a revenge film.
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8:20PM on 02/20/2013
He lost me at Zero Dark Thirty. Django certainly has elements of a B-movie so I can see where's coming from on that one, but Bigelow's film is in no way, shape, or form a B-movie or a revenge film.
He lost me at Zero Dark Thirty. Django certainly has elements of a B-movie so I can see where's coming from on that one, but Bigelow's film is in no way, shape, or form a B-movie or a revenge film.
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-24
7:51PM on 02/20/2013
Shut up kareem abdul jabar.
Shut up kareem abdul jabar.
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7:37PM on 02/20/2013
Really worthy films don't get nominated for the Oscars every year that I think really deserve to be recognized. So I think it's a good thing for a film like Django to be nominated. Kinda of like a FUCK YOU to the Oscars, because even if it doesn't win. That film will be forever loved by the people who really matter.
Really worthy films don't get nominated for the Oscars every year that I think really deserve to be recognized. So I think it's a good thing for a film like Django to be nominated. Kinda of like a FUCK YOU to the Oscars, because even if it doesn't win. That film will be forever loved by the people who really matter.
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+3
7:25PM on 02/20/2013
I loved Django but I still think Argo should win. I love Tarantino and I think he's right about it being a B movie, but it's a damn great B movie. I think The movie deserves all the credit it deserves, but I don't think it should win best picture.
I loved Django but I still think Argo should win. I love Tarantino and I think he's right about it being a B movie, but it's a damn great B movie. I think The movie deserves all the credit it deserves, but I don't think it should win best picture.
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6:45PM on 02/20/2013
Oh thank God. I was holding off on watching this, waiting for a former basketball star to give me his review of the flick and now I have that review. Thank you basketball star.
Oh thank God. I was holding off on watching this, waiting for a former basketball star to give me his review of the flick and now I have that review. Thank you basketball star.
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6:29PM on 02/20/2013
Django unchained made the whole world discuss about slavery,racism.what more "meaningful insight" it should offer?!
Django unchained made the whole world discuss about slavery,racism.what more "meaningful insight" it should offer?!
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11:35AM on 02/21/2013
What grand worldwide discussion has been happening regarding slavery because of Django Unchained? Slavery is already outlawed, and people have been discussing racism long before Django Unchained was ever released. Django didn't prompt any discussion about anything. It was a period piece and it was a great entertaining film. But don't try to associate the film with a connection to cultural change in thinking about slavery. C'mon man!
What grand worldwide discussion has been happening regarding slavery because of Django Unchained? Slavery is already outlawed, and people have been discussing racism long before Django Unchained was ever released. Django didn't prompt any discussion about anything. It was a period piece and it was a great entertaining film. But don't try to associate the film with a connection to cultural change in thinking about slavery. C'mon man!
+12
5:55PM on 02/20/2013
B-movie? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
B-movie? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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5:44PM on 02/20/2013
everyone is entitled to their own opinion. my opinion is Django certainly deserved the nom
everyone is entitled to their own opinion. my opinion is Django certainly deserved the nom
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5:33PM on 02/20/2013

Hmmm

You know what they say, opinions are like assholes...and while i cant speak on Django (saddly I havent been able to get out and see it yet), I look at past winners like The Godfather (parst 1 and 2) Dances with Wolves, Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindlers List, Braveheart, Gladiator, and many others that have atleast some element of revenge for the plot and say that these are far from B movies....I'd also like to see a list from him of what he considers A movies
You know what they say, opinions are like assholes...and while i cant speak on Django (saddly I havent been able to get out and see it yet), I look at past winners like The Godfather (parst 1 and 2) Dances with Wolves, Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindlers List, Braveheart, Gladiator, and many others that have atleast some element of revenge for the plot and say that these are far from B movies....I'd also like to see a list from him of what he considers A movies
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5:21PM on 02/20/2013
But what does Mike Piazza think?
But what does Mike Piazza think?
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6:59PM on 02/20/2013
Genuinely laughed at this. Well done.
Genuinely laughed at this. Well done.
5:12PM on 02/20/2013

I can respect that

I don't agree with him but I see where he's coming from. I respect his opinion here. He was able to say it and say why and didn't just make a broad statement with no context.
I don't agree with him but I see where he's coming from. I respect his opinion here. He was able to say it and say why and didn't just make a broad statement with no context.
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5:12PM on 02/20/2013

I can respect that

I don't agree with him but I see where he's coming from. I respect his opinion here. He was able to say it and say why and didn't just make a broad statement with no context.
I don't agree with him but I see where he's coming from. I respect his opinion here. He was able to say it and say why and didn't just make a broad statement with no context.
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5:06PM on 02/20/2013

Interesting ...

Interesting opinion. Essentially though, a B-movie was named such because they utilized B-actors and had substantially lower budgets. Things like that don't exist in the Hollywood of today, so calling a film a B-film based on its subject matter doesn't really hold water. I do like the idea of holding films nominated to a higher standard of storytelling, but Django was doing some fascinating things with its plotting, aside from the revenge framework. Zero Dark Thirty wasn't a revenge film
Interesting opinion. Essentially though, a B-movie was named such because they utilized B-actors and had substantially lower budgets. Things like that don't exist in the Hollywood of today, so calling a film a B-film based on its subject matter doesn't really hold water. I do like the idea of holding films nominated to a higher standard of storytelling, but Django was doing some fascinating things with its plotting, aside from the revenge framework. Zero Dark Thirty wasn't a revenge film either, that is a misconception. Bottom line, B-movies are not defined by their story. Some of the best B-movies had great, complex, fascinating stories, and often took the best risks, with the best payoffs. They shouldn't be looked down upon.
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6:35PM on 02/20/2013
B Movie has become more of a style than anything, much like Indie.
B Movie has become more of a style than anything, much like Indie.
4:55PM on 02/20/2013

LMFAO

Wow
Wow
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-3
4:52PM on 02/20/2013
I love Kareem but it's like Stephen Hawking coming out and saying that The Beatles weren't all that. That's great Stephen but who cares, it isn't news, This is just random information.
I love Kareem but it's like Stephen Hawking coming out and saying that The Beatles weren't all that. That's great Stephen but who cares, it isn't news, This is just random information.
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+12
4:51PM on 02/20/2013

Say what???

So any movie driven by a premise based on revenge should be considered B movie material??? I don't get it.
So any movie driven by a premise based on revenge should be considered B movie material??? I don't get it.
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4:49PM on 02/20/2013
I was not blown away. I was very entertained which is all I ask for and the time flew by... I still have no idea why I put it towards the bottom of his films. Maybe the horrible audience in the show I saw took away from the experience, which is a shame. Not being overly sensitive but the constant laughter at parts that were just uncomfortable (dog mauling scene in particular, among others) really annoyed me. Maybe I expected something of a smaller scale. I hope a second viewing at home
I was not blown away. I was very entertained which is all I ask for and the time flew by... I still have no idea why I put it towards the bottom of his films. Maybe the horrible audience in the show I saw took away from the experience, which is a shame. Not being overly sensitive but the constant laughter at parts that were just uncomfortable (dog mauling scene in particular, among others) really annoyed me. Maybe I expected something of a smaller scale. I hope a second viewing at home will make me appreciate it more. It's still a great flick.
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4:36PM on 02/20/2013
So it doesn't deserve accolades because of it's tone and genre? And Zero Dark Thirty is essentially a B movie? STFU
So it doesn't deserve accolades because of it's tone and genre? And Zero Dark Thirty is essentially a B movie? STFU
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11:05PM on 02/20/2013
Well, according to you....wouldn't Kareem Abdul Jabaar be a "nigga?" because of his opinions....?
Well, according to you....wouldn't Kareem Abdul Jabaar be a "nigga?" because of his opinions....?
4:33PM on 02/20/2013
I'm a Quentin Tarantino fan if there ever was one, I've rated all his movie a 10/10 so far, yes even Death Proof.
Django Unchained has been my most antcipated film since it was announced. But to my great and utter surprise it didn't blow me away like all the QT films that came before have. I never would've guessed that the theory, as to why that is so, would come from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, but it did, and I mostly agree. Though the connection with the Oscars is up for debate.
It's a really
I'm a Quentin Tarantino fan if there ever was one, I've rated all his movie a 10/10 so far, yes even Death Proof.
Django Unchained has been my most antcipated film since it was announced. But to my great and utter surprise it didn't blow me away like all the QT films that came before have. I never would've guessed that the theory, as to why that is so, would come from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, but it did, and I mostly agree. Though the connection with the Oscars is up for debate.
It's a really good B-movie in my book (8/10 after 1 viewing) and I just wish Mr. Tarantino would just knock out at least one more smaller-scaled, dialogue driven, non-sub-genre film.
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4:44PM on 02/20/2013
Im with you brother!
Im with you brother!
5:06PM on 02/20/2013
Amen.
Amen.
9:03AM on 02/21/2013
Saying Death Proof is as good as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill is ludicrous.
Saying Death Proof is as good as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill is ludicrous.
2:37PM on 02/22/2013
It is ludicrous, but I didn't say that. If Death Proof is a 10 (which it is to me) then Pulp Fiction is at least a 20, but seeing as how 10 is the max; they're both 10's for me.
It is ludicrous, but I didn't say that. If Death Proof is a 10 (which it is to me) then Pulp Fiction is at least a 20, but seeing as how 10 is the max; they're both 10's for me.
+7
4:19PM on 02/20/2013
"marvels that offer meaningful insight into the subject matter".... what if the subject matter were B movies themselves? Django Unchained (like most QT movies) make me re-evaluate and appreciate the type of films they're inspired by. i get the nobel prize comparison, but are there even films being released every year to warrant such praise? i thought the oscars weren't necessarily the "best" but the "best out of what we have"
"marvels that offer meaningful insight into the subject matter".... what if the subject matter were B movies themselves? Django Unchained (like most QT movies) make me re-evaluate and appreciate the type of films they're inspired by. i get the nobel prize comparison, but are there even films being released every year to warrant such praise? i thought the oscars weren't necessarily the "best" but the "best out of what we have"
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+0
4:12PM on 02/20/2013

not quite jabbar

b movies are movies with terrible acting, effects, story. typically straight to dvd. when you watch them, if you watch them, you know it's a b movie. i think i get what he's trying to say and i know he's a movie buff. but he's wrong about these movies. all the movies he mentioned in this article above are solid A movies.
b movies are movies with terrible acting, effects, story. typically straight to dvd. when you watch them, if you watch them, you know it's a b movie. i think i get what he's trying to say and i know he's a movie buff. but he's wrong about these movies. all the movies he mentioned in this article above are solid A movies.
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3:59PM on 02/20/2013
Yes, I agree that Django is based on B movies but if you take a B movie formula and upgrade the acting, writing, sets, director shouldn't it be classified as an A movie? Also Zero Dark Thirty is not a B film..simply no
Yes, I agree that Django is based on B movies but if you take a B movie formula and upgrade the acting, writing, sets, director shouldn't it be classified as an A movie? Also Zero Dark Thirty is not a B film..simply no
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+16
3:54PM on 02/20/2013

Heh

Loved Django Unchained - but he's right. Queue overprotective Tarantino zealots who perceive anything less than glowing, unambiguous praise as a shot across their bow. Also - this article needs to have a meeting with the "Come On, Hollywood! Listen to the Fans" - hilarity will ensue.
Loved Django Unchained - but he's right. Queue overprotective Tarantino zealots who perceive anything less than glowing, unambiguous praise as a shot across their bow. Also - this article needs to have a meeting with the "Come On, Hollywood! Listen to the Fans" - hilarity will ensue.
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