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Boldly Not Going There

0001fL Yes, I'm still smarting over the Academy stiffing "The Dark Knight" last year — a film that will stand the test of time and be remembered as the game-changer that it was. Other nominees from last year like "The Reader" and "Frost/Nixon" are mostly forgotten already. Even the winner… what was it again?… oh, yeah, "Slumdog Something" with the guy who's brokering Mideast peace these days on "24" after running "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in India.

Okay, that mishap happened. I need to move on. But they won't let me! They keep pulling me back in.

This year the Academy kicked up the number of nominees to ten which — if they'd done it last year — would have practically guaranteed "The Dark Knight" its deserved recognition. So that should have paved the way for "Star Trek" to get in the mix.

Let's review. First of all, "Star Trek" did something new. It took a dated concept that was on its way out the door and revitalized it. For an industry so addicted to re-makes, the film was a two-fer. It tapped into the nostalgia of a landmark TV show and it was a unique movie-going experience that hit the ground running and never let up, while teaching great lessons about friendship and legends.

Star Trek Robbed @ Movie Smackdown

Ten Reasons Why Star Trek Should Have Been Nominated

10) It does not have a bleach-blonde Sandra Bullock teaching a black man how to read.    

9) It wasn't called "Star Trek: Based on the Sci-Fi TV Series 'Star Trek' by Gene Rodenberry." I mean, c'mon… how freaking pretentious is it to call your film… well, I can't even say it myself… but I'm talking about the film that should've been called "Precious" and left at that.

8) It knew its message. "Star Trek" was a buddy movie with literally Earth-shattering consequences should Spock and Kirk not form their legendary friendship. It didn't vacillate between Apartheid metaphor and weapon arms critique, before settling on showing us how disgusting all living creatures can be — main character and aliens alike. I liked the aliens in "Star Trek." They were good-looking.

7) It doesn't take itself too seriously. Why does the Academy still think good = serious? To quote another — achem — snubbed film:  "Why so serious?"  Sure, film is about conflict.  But how about telling a tale of universe-spanning proportions and connecting it to the natural going-ons of Earth people? That's what "Star Trek" did. It told a tale of ambition, identity, and friendship. And it didn't have to title itself "A Serious Star Trek."

6) Okay. I can't do a clever one about "Inglorious Basterds" and "Star Trek."  But it's better… just a bit. Both films rightly earned their places on this list — both dark horses in their own way.

5) Sure, the young girl in "An Education" got a tough life lesson in love and responsibility. But look at Kirk. An arrogant jerk with no responsibility who within three years becomes the captain of the fleet's most prized ship, well on his way to becoming the most legendary captain. He learns about humility, teamwork, maturity, and friendship in this film. Plus, the world wasn't going to be destroyed if Jenny didn't learn that she was being played in love. 

4)  If "Up" can make it, so can "Star Trek."  Both films blow audiences away with their visual boldness. Just watch the beautiful flares and amazing landscapes that Abrams puts together, all through the topsy-turvy looking glass of his free-floating camera perspective.  

3) How much further "Up in the Air" can you get than space, the Final Frontier? Listen, I know it's contemporarily relevant to talk about unemployment and joblessness. But why can't I just leave Earth and enjoy a space-faring adventure that shows the beauty of friendship and speaks of a legendary crew that has influenced pop culture for over a half-century?

2) Find one moment in "The Hurt Locker" as jaw-dropping, as breathtaking, as suspenseful as Kirk and Co.'s space jump down to the platform on Vulcan. Tense. Gorgeous. Thrilling. And unlike "The Hurt Locker," Abrams knew that the suspense needed a little release — be it humor, action, etc. — in order for us not to become conditioned to the same old tension over and over again. Plus, the soldiers in "Star Trek" don't whine about how hard it is to do their duty. They man up and get it done.

1)  "Star Trek" characters have depth, and each shine in their own moments naturally. Most importantly, their decisions make sense as characters. They don't recruit the enemy to learn their inner secrets in an attempt to win them over. They don't ramble on in voiceover about things I didn't care about, or weren't really that relevant to the plot in the end. They're smart enough to realize if they're being played by a war-mongering general. And even its villains have a bit of depth and motivation — however token — to what they do. They're just not scarred generals intent on killing the colored alien folk. And although a product of another era, "Star Trek" never felt like it was pulling lines from old B-movie sci-fi. It also doesn't kill the people who watch it. Plus, a Trekker could kick any Avatard's butt.

So there you go.  Again, as with "The Dark Knight," The Academy drops the ball.

Other SNUBS:

Moon.  This film has been snubbed by almost every media outlet out there.  It's a travesty.  Sam Rockwell's performance deserved some recognition.

(500) Days of Summer.   Totally snubbed.  Ridiculously snubbed.  Unforgivably snubbed.  But hey, we got some blue aliens.

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6 Comments on Boldly Not Going There

  1. Well said. I’m with you and Beau.

  2. I’m gonna go ahead and agree with Beau on this one and say that Trek was one of the top 5 films of the year. Brilliant writing, direction, acting, cinematography, editing, Star Trek truly excels on every level. And it does so in the face of a monumental challenge – rebooting the most famous sci-fi franchise in history for major audiences while keeping hardcore fans happy.
    I personally think it’s fair to compare its snubbing this year to The Dark Knight in ’08. TDK, nominated by the DGA for the top prize, doesn’t get a nomination? How? Why? I think the answer to that is the same reason why Star Trek was excluded from the 10 nominees this year. Star Trek and The Dark Knight aren’t allowed to be “best picture material” because they revolve around giants of pop culture iconography. A Batman movie can be a great movie, but not a great film. And the same goes for Trek. And that’s just sad.
    But hey, if you don’t agree with me, ask this year’s DGA nominee and Best Picture/Director hopeful Quentin Tarantino. When he was asked what he thought the best films of 09 were, Star Trek was the first title to come out of his mouth. Inglorious Basterds excluded, of course. But yea, stupid popcorn movies trying to be taken seriously.

  3. Rodney… You and I are the only two people on the planet who probably feel that way, but I’m with you, man!

  4. Mind you, I felt the same about Armageddon back in 98. Damn that Academy!!!!

  5. I think Beau needs a hug.
    Considering that District 9 is up for Best Picture, this more than makes us for Star Trek’s “snubbing.” I’d disagree that Trek deserved a nomination; it’s nowhere near the same league as Dark Knight, in terms of emotional weight and dramatic impetus.
    Overall, I was pretty happy with the list this year and am so glad Up was nominated!

  6. So. Let me get this straight, Beau. You liked “Star Trek” a lot and are disappointed it didn’t get an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. 😉

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