POLL: Does ‘Avatar’ deserve to win Best Picture?

Posted by · 11:41 am · January 5th, 2010

Judging from our last poll, most readers seem to think James Cameron’s “Avatar” will rack up the most Oscar nominations in just under a month’s time.  But does it deserve to win the big prize, as a great many prognosticators are currently expecting?  The debate is raging elsewhere, but let us know your cut-and-dry answer in the sidebar poll and feel free to explain your position in the comments section below.

→ 133 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

133 responses so far

  • 1 1-05-2010 at 6:28 pm

    Beau said...

    If we’re talking about flat characters and a dull script, you should go right on over to THL’s screenplay. If I have to watch one more goddamn war film that capitalizes on the theory that war is a drug, I’m going to hit someone. Preferably the filmmaker.

    If ANY director this year, let alone female, it should be Campion for her brilliant work with ‘Bright Star’, a film that’s all but forgotten from every list around. Really tragic, IMHO. She made that movie sing. Bigelow can direct action sequences, but the scenes in between? Bored to tears.

  • 2 1-05-2010 at 6:38 pm

    Yogsam said...

    i agree with you, THL is a fine film but nothing special, is probably going to win “Director” at the OSCARS but nothing else, the editing is OK, script? above average, Cinematography? No way, average at best, White Ribbon has the best DP of the year, but we all know that “THE BEST” of the year, doesn’t win so often
    An i agree with you with the Jane Campion comment as well : )

  • 3 1-05-2010 at 6:40 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Holy shit, 100 comments? I won’t even bother digging through it all, but good on ya for keeping a debate going!

  • 4 1-05-2010 at 6:57 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I agree with both of you, Beau and Yogsam. Bigelow doesn’t deserve to even be one of the five nominated. If a woman deserves it this year it’s definitely Campion.

  • 5 1-05-2010 at 7:06 pm

    Loyal said...

    I’ll sum it up for you Kristopher Tapley.

    Blah blah blah, Avatar is no Star Wars, it’s a big, stupid story, all visual effects, no heart. I hate James Cameron and all the money it made. blah blah blah. It’s going to ruin the Oscars.

  • 6 1-05-2010 at 7:08 pm

    Yogsam said...

    @Speaking English
    Absolutely, Campion has a unique “touch” when it comes to directing, she’s really captivating and unique
    Bigelow? Generic Female Director # 12
    That’s what i think, you know

  • 7 1-05-2010 at 7:41 pm

    Simone said...

    I voted no. I would have voted ‘Hellz nah’ if that option were available.

  • 8 1-05-2010 at 7:54 pm

    Sara said...

    I would be overjoyed if Avatar won! In my opinion, no film deserves it more.

  • 9 1-05-2010 at 8:07 pm

    Mike said...

    Hurray! This site finally got some Avatar ads. Avatar all the way! Woot woot

  • 10 1-05-2010 at 8:11 pm

    Shelby said...

    Entertainment Weekly has now dared to suggest that attention to D9 and/or Trek may slow Avatar’s momentum… (splitting the sci-fi vote and leading to say, Hurt Locker or Up in the Air to come through…)


    (looks like a D9 vs. Avatar donnybrook in the comments…)

  • 11 1-05-2010 at 8:20 pm

    Me. said...

    I said yes on the poll. It’s not my favorite, but it would definately make a worthy winner.

  • 12 1-05-2010 at 8:53 pm

    aaron said...

    megan, andy, and shelby have basically summed up my thoughts. does avatar deserve to win? not at all. will it? most likely.

    oh, and irishman: what, exactly, was so rote about TDK? the joker as jungian archetype? his john nash-ian use of game theory to show that people will always fuck each other over? or was it that the movie showed that batman can be just as morally dubious as the corrupt officials he fights against? oh, i know: it was how the movie, with the exception of the ferries prisoner’s dilemma, shows that the joker is right and how batman and gordon have to cover up what harvey did. because EVERY SUPER HERO COMIC BOOK MOVIE *always* validates the villain’s ideology. right!? right. any other silly comments you want to make?

    as for avatar, i keep seeing people say that the movie took them back to their childhoods. and to this i say: grow up. so the fuck what? disneyland takes me back to my childhood, too; is *that* a work of art? i know a lot of artists and i’ve spent a lot of time in art galleries and i’ve *never* heard anyone say, “oh, this painting takes me back to my inner prepubescent, it must be real art.” do some of you really love being infantilized that much? so that’s the measure of great art now, huh? how coddled and childish it makes you feel?

    there is nothing remotely artful about avatar. it was made by an effects technician who moonlights as stenographer; a guy whose true calling is business. cameron is a shrewd fucking businessman, i will give him that. absolutely. but make no mistake, he is no artist. there isn’t an artist in the whole of recorded history who let money or technology stand in his way. but cameron sat on his ass for years because the technology supposedly hadn’t yet caught up w/ his “vision.” bollocks. a key component of creativity is to make do w/ what you have; to see possibilities in things no one else can. cameron is not a “visionary.” if you’re a child who takes everything at face value, then sure, cameron is a “visionary” (“ooooh purdy colorz”), but in the deeper sense of the word he’s anything but.

    seriously, though, good on him. he’s gone on to say that titanic was “fuck you money” and i have no doubt he’ll be similarly dismissive about avatar years hence, so let the troglodytes keep singing their hosannas. cameron basically knows that people are really rather stupid and love being infantilized and avatar’s smashing success proves just that.

  • 13 1-05-2010 at 8:59 pm

    Matthew said...

    Avatar hearkens back to pure storytelling wherein you have a simple story about good vs evil that is engulfed in a fantastical world. Avatar deserves a Best Picture nomination at the very least. If it actually wins best picture, I won’t begrudge it. There have been far FAR worse films that has gone on and actually won best picture.

  • 14 1-05-2010 at 9:06 pm

    Craig said...

    If you honestly think Renner’s character in THL was anywhere near the boring, cardboard, stock characters populating Avatar, then I can honestly say we saw different movies.

    I think TDK’s concepts sound a lot better on paper than they worked in film. I felt like Nolan suffocated all he was going for with a cluttered second half littered with half baked plot points and one terribly developed character (Dent).

  • 15 1-05-2010 at 9:13 pm

    Ali said...

    Personally, I thought the script easily served the film. My friends in high school quote the “Your not in Kansas Anymore” line all the time and “I See You”. Also I thought the actors all did a pretty awesome job and you could connect on an emotional level easily.

  • 16 1-05-2010 at 9:21 pm

    Craig said...

    Basically, it was a James Cameron movie.

  • 17 1-05-2010 at 9:24 pm

    Troy said...

    If it wins it then it wins it and I will definitely have no problem at all with it. Was the acting and screenplay of Avatar legendary? No it wasn’t, but it was definitely more than adequate and was not detrimental at all to the overall film.

    Every film can be nitpicked to death and that is what’s going on here with Avatar with a minority resorting to everything imaginable to derail this beast of a movie that has captivated both “blue” and “red” America and the rest of the world.

  • 18 1-05-2010 at 9:32 pm

    Todd said...

    The award should go to PRECIOUS. Cost a fraction of AVATAR’s budget, and has a story that’s much more moving and powerful.

  • 19 1-05-2010 at 9:40 pm

    Will said...

    Avatar will get a Best Picture nomination. If it wins, I won’t be bothered by it. It is definitely one of the few films in recent memory wherein I left with a sense of wonder and amazement in the purest sense.

  • 20 1-05-2010 at 11:12 pm

    phil said...


    Your belligerent and condescending comments about Avatar’s fans do nothing to help your argument. There’s plenty of people that liked Avatar and plenty that didn’t, but clearly it’s striking some individuals on a deeply emotional level. Sasha Stone had a really great post to this effect over at Awards Daily: http://www.awardsdaily.com/?p=17141

  • 21 1-05-2010 at 11:55 pm

    qwiggles said...

    Count me in the “wouldn’t be bothered by it but not in my top 5” camp. It’s a good film, and an amazing achievement, and that alone makes it a compelling winner. But it’s also a surprisingly weak screenplay for Cameron.

    I say surprising because, for all the (deserved) flack he gets about dialogue, he’s usually pretty spot-on with both plotting/structure and thematic development. I just rewatched Aliens and marveled at how subtly and effectively it played as a film about motherhood, right down to the uncanny doppelganger of the aliens’ impregnating face claws and chestbursters. Avatar, for me, fumbles here. I come out of it every time disappointed with the titular concept, which has no stakes for us, because for Jake, a Naavi body is simply a better body. Of course the dream world seems like the real world for him — in the real one, he’s a marine without legs, therefore nobody, as JC hammers home.

    But instead of developing this idea about how much our sense of our lives as being real is dependent on our having fit, working bodies — a lot of interesting stuff about disability in the mix here — Cameron forfeits the interesting remote body stuff to make Jake’s conversion all about becoming one with the earth. Yeah, fine, but then what do I care about his reawakening Naavi eyes at the end, when his epiphany already happened way back, when he first plugged into home tree?

    For this reason, Avatar strikes me as a busy and often clunky narrative that appeals to everyone by surrendering its singular vision in order to grasp as many archetypes as it can find. And what the hell — it works in spite of that problem, so sure, it deserves laurels. But I’m looking forward to a point in the near-distant future where the mechanics of its narrative become a bigger part of the discussion. (Probably sometime after it wins BP.)

  • 22 1-06-2010 at 1:15 am

    Andrew2 said...

    I think that only very rarely the best picture of the year wins the oscar. If it was called Film of the Year, Avatar is it but that takes into account the success of the film. I dont think its the best film of the year though

  • 23 1-06-2010 at 2:19 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Precious is dead in the water and simply not that good a film as many people believe. I feel that beyond the initial shock factor of so many bad things happening to a girl at once there’s not much more that really makes you change your mind or feel really more emotional towards her than you did in the beginning.

  • 24 1-06-2010 at 5:22 am

    ninja said...

    “Slumdog Millionaire proves that a special sort of madness can easily take hold around Oscar time which anoints a “just OK” movie as the big winner. I’m putting Avatar in the Slumdog slot.”

    How so, Shelby? Slumdog madness and this year`s 4-way Best Picture race with a big chance of Director/Picture split has nothing to do with showering Slumdog with every major award by almost all precursors and AMPAS in the end, including some unexplicable nominations for adult cast mambers who were much weaker than the boys playing younger versions of characters. heck, I`ll go so far to claim that had the movie been only about Patel and that expressionless babe, and without boys, nobody would`ve cared about the movie. They just rode on kids` coattatils, the whole movie did. Oh, aren`t they cute? Oh, two of them are real slum children! Oh, lets feel better about ourselves by finding another “in” charity – slumdogs! AIDS is so 90s, cancer is so last year, Mumbai slums are the shit of the day! Please, THAT was madness, not “Will Hurt Locker, Bastereds, Up in the Air or Avatar win?” or “if Bigelow wins Director will Best Picture go to her ex-husband or some other movie since Locker is too small for AMPAS taste?”. Unlike last year when the winner was obvious since freakin` Toronto Film Festival, this year is a big suspense. There`s no madness, just many different tastes.

    By the way, tanathor and banshee>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Dev Patel who was nominated by SAG

    Avatar tree >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>that expressionless Slumdog hottie nominated by BAFTA

  • 25 1-06-2010 at 7:32 am

    Sawyer said...

    God, it’s 1997 all over again.

    Remember the first time you saw Titanic? Wow, what a spectacle! This is one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, and James Cameron is truly King of the World! Let’s give it 11 Oscars.

    Now fast-forward to 2009. Avatar! What a spectacle! This is one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, and James Cameron is truly King of Pandora! Let’s give it 11 Oscars.

    When’s the last time any of you revisited Titanic? Do you have the same reaction to the movie as you did the first time you saw it? The answer is an emphatic no.

    Avatar is a beautiful movie, with amazing effects, a cloud-soaring score and a likeable cast of characters. But people are overlooking its flaws now, just like they did in 1997 with Titanic, and as the years roll by, those flaws will become more apparent, and the “wow” factor will go the way of the Na’vi.

  • 26 1-06-2010 at 8:04 am

    ninja said...

    “When’s the last time any of you revisited Titanic? Do you have the same reaction to the movie as you did the first time you saw it? The answer is an emphatic no. ”

    With all due respect, give me a break! Titanic is as awe-inspiring now as it was then and film buffs who are,like, 0.00001% of movie-going population are the only ones claiming that Titanic faded, didn`t stand the test of time, is forgotten, worst Picture winner and what not. Something that general public, that doesn`t eat, breathe,shit movies or spend 24-7 on the Internet, doesn`t agree with. So, again, in all due respect, this elitist POV, that is very loud but few in numbers, doesn`t hold water, never did,never will. Same goes for Avatar. Buffs are going “Oh,no, it doesn`t deserve Best Picture, awful script,blah, Dances with Smurfs” but poll people at the end of Avatar shows, rushing to buy tickets for another viewing, what they think and the answer will be “Best Picture?Hell, yeah!”.

  • 27 1-06-2010 at 8:21 am

    JJ said...

    ‘Titanic’ is still in my Top 5 from the 13 years ago. I re-visit it every year. An incredible movie, in my opinion. ‘Avatar’, not quite so much.

  • 28 1-06-2010 at 10:39 am

    Yogsam said...

    so, can you say that “Hurt Locker” “Basterds” “Precious” and “Up in the Air” are all perfect films, without any flaws??

  • 29 1-06-2010 at 4:41 pm

    nevin said...

    no, just no, not even in my top 100

  • 30 1-06-2010 at 4:42 pm

    mark kratina said...

    I hope Avatar doesn’t win BP so I don’t have to see Cameron hoist the statuette and proclaim himself “King of the World” again.

    Once was enough.

  • 31 1-07-2010 at 10:00 am

    Everett said...

    Avatar is a great film! Probably the best sci-fi film ever made. The visuals are beyond anything that has ever been done before. Avatar has everything, special effects, love story, great plot, plenty of action. Just look at how the world has responded to such a great film. The critics and naysayers will try everything in their power to bash this film but they won’t succeed. When it’s all said and done. Avatar will be the most coveted film in history. This is by far James Cameron’s best film to date. Cameron took us on a journey to another world and he makes us believe in that world and that my friends, Avatar is worthy of best picture. No film today can match it’s awe inspiring achievments. James Horner has out done himself again, a beautiful score to go along with a beautiful movie. Avatar wins best picture!!

  • 32 1-16-2010 at 9:07 am

    Matt said...

    Absolutely not. The movie is a tech demo and nothing more. It just throws great special effects on a generic, cliche, and predictable plot, and while that may be just fine and dandy with people who like to be wowed solely by pretty colors (see Transformers 2 box office take), it is not a good movie overall by any stretch of the imagination.

  • 33 1-18-2010 at 1:17 pm

    Jake said...

    No way. It was visually stunning but in terms of quality of story & depth of characters it falls VERY SHORT! Not only that but it doesn’t have that enduring quality that others seem to strive for. Cameron’s Avatar intends to bring a lot of “shock and awe” in visuals and “piss and moan” in political undercurrents that de-rail and micron of actual “story” in the film. I’m disappointed that it won Best Drama at the Globes. It was a “wow” movie in terms of visual effects and musical score… but not epic for the ages… and certainly not the best picture.