March 5th is Oscar night. Normally, I wouldn’t give a damn. Sure, two of last year’s favorites are nominated for Best Picture, but so are two movies I found absurdly overrated, so go figure. (Come to think of it, that means I’m batting .400 this year—not bad.)
Anyway, the reason it matters even a teeny bit is that Robert Altman—director of Nashville, Short Cuts, The Player, M*A*S*H, Gosford Park, and other masterpieces—is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. It’s the Academy’s way of paying lip service to an American master who’s never actually received the Best Director Oscar, and probably never will.
New York Press critic Matt Zoller Seitz has called for an official Altman blog-a-thon, and you’re all invited. For newbies, a blog-a-thon is when a bunch of different sites choose a single date to write about the same subject at the same time, linking to each other. In this case, everybody would be writing something about the Altman movie of his or her choice.
If you decide to write on Altman, pass on the weblink to your piece, as I’ll be updating my Altman post with links to others. As Seitz says, “it would be a hell of a lot more fun, and way more Altmanesque, if other critical voices joined in on their own sites, creating a cacophony, so that critical monologues overlap and answer each other.”
So, um, tag—you’re it. Write, and pass on the idea. And no, I won’t tell you which film I’m choosing. Show up here on 5 March to find out.
Related: Here is a first peek at Altman’s new film, A Prairie Home Companion.