Kareem Abdul Jabbar doesn't think Django Unchained should have been nominated for Best Picture
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. That’s not an insult. I’ve 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 don’t care if Tarantino got the historical details perfect because it’s a B film that is plot-driven and blood-fueled. As with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, the historical accuracy isn’t 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 I’ve 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.
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