The New World‘s lack of Oscar nominations shows how utterly blind and unqualified Academy voters really are.

This is nothing new, I know. But just because the Academy members make a habit of shoving our faces in their ignorance and susceptibility to hysteria and political hype doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt each time they insult and misguide the many who think their judgments are actually meaningful. Some of you have told me I shouldn’t care about this. Do I care much about the Academy? No. But the Academy does influence how many people see a film, and when they pass by the chance to introduce people to something truly beautiful and nourishing, it is a crying shame. And I care about beauty. I want people to discover it when it happens. It’s happening here, in a big way.

Perhaps if Malick had found a way to spin it as a red-state-bashing film, then it would have suddenly been interpreted as “important.”

Listen to this:

Terrence Malick does not cut his conscience to fit the pattern of the day. No matter how many times he re-edits The New World, it remains outside current trends, obstinately politically unfashionable. Malick’s movie asserts a revisionist’s historical affirmation. Instead of delighting in the superficial, modern negativity of Syriana, Lord of War and The Constant Gardener, Malick offers agape.

I’m telling you, if you want to see a film that, twenty years from now, will be spoken of with reverence and awe, and people will shake their heads over the fact that Oscar didn’t appreciate it… you’ve gotta see The New World on the big screen.

On the desk beside my keyboard lies one of my most prized possessions: a ticket stub from the January 21, 9:30 p.m. showing of “The New World” at BAM-Rose Cinemas in downtown Brooklyn.

At this showing of this movie, at this time on this day, in this theater, in this borough of this city, I bore witness to American commercial cinema’s ability to astound, move and inspire masses of people – an ability that reached its fullest realization during the heyday of the blockbuster art film, the 1970s, but has rarely been exercised since.

The history of American studio blockbusters includes a handful of indisputable high watermarks, moments when entertainment and art merged to create not just a hit, but an origin point for new ways of thinking about, and making, popular cinema; a rallying point for anyone who still believes in the blockbuster’s ability — and responsibility — to deliver more than escapism; a secular house of worship for anyone who prizes ambition, mystery, and beauty over familiarity and neatness; a transformative experience that can be had for the price of a movie ticket, and that anyone who ever called him or herself a movie lover must seize now, or forever regret having missed.

“The New World” is a new watermark. It is a $50 million epic poem made with Time Warner’s money; it is an American creation myth that recontextualizes our past, present and future as fable, as opera, as verse. It is this era’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” — a musical-philosophical-pictorial charting of history’s slipstream and the individual’s role within it.

I also agree with this comment posted at the end of Seitz’s rave:

“Bitching about the Oscars is like complaining about the weather, but man, did Q’Orianka Kilcher get robbed. (I’d already made peace with Malick getting the shaft.) If Falconetti arrived today, she’d lose her nomination to Natalie Portman.”

Amen.

GreenCine is listing the other film lovers who are falling in love, one after another.

My boss greeted me when I came back to the office yesterday, telling me she’d just seen the best movie of the last several years. She had that look on her face that people have after they’ve just come back from a vacation touring New Zealand or Australia. I smiled. And then she said, in exasperation, “So… what… I don’t get it!” And I knew she’d just seen the nominations list.

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