How the “God of Love” Seduced the Oscars
Congratulations to the NYU (and perhaps a few NU) alumni of the Academy for propelling the worst of the nominated Live Action Short Films into the media darling stratosphere. I have nothing against “God of Love” or its charismatic writer and director, Luke Matheny, who undoubtedly gave a refreshing speech when accepting the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. The win even prompted the only relaxed utterance from Jean Franco during the entire evening: “NYU whassup!”
My suspicion is that NYU was up to a lot. “God of Love” looks exactly like what it is: a film school thesis. It is not even close to being a polished, cohesive, melodic and moving work like the rest of the nominees– none of which are American. At the screening, I was disappointed that “God of Love” was the best the U.S. could come up with for a nomination. I would be willing to bet that general public exit polls from the viewings would have placed “God of Love” far below Michael Creagh’s “The Crush” (Ireland), Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite’s “Wish 143” (UK), or Ivan Goldschmidt’s “Na Wewe” (Belgium). Conferring the life-altering statue on an undeserving NYU graduate production was Academy Awards’ politics at its best.
We may not know who comprises the Academy, but after this past Sunday, it’s clear there are a lot of NYU grads and supporters in the bunch. This film, in an already hidden category, was on no film critic’s radar for taking the prize because none of them were blinded by the love of a state, city and school when making their predictions. Critics, the few who even watched the shorts (Roger Ebert admitted: I haven’t seen these, but I’ve looked at their trailers at http://bit.ly/hJ4OPo) were untainted by the desire to support an alma mater out of nostalgia or pragmatism when completely ignoring the “God of Love”.
May Matheny live up to his Oscar status in his future endeavours. To the ‘losers’, the discomforting cliché: The best doesn’t always win. In the future, the Oscars should strive to be less Academy and more Award if there is any chance of restoring the importance and viewership of days dead as (Bob) Hope. Stream short films. Engage through interactive polls. Promote the art, not just the glamour…and the cream will start to rise along with the ratings.