If you're an awards show groupie or devoted to E! or Entertainment Tonight, you're probably (sadly) familiar with this idiotic hack. He's been around for years writing info-tainment books related to the entertainment industry and managed to parlay that success into being Hollywood's go to guy for Oscar/Emmy/Golden Globe prognostication A few years ago, when Oscar blogs were all the rage, he managed to talk the L.A. Times into buying his blogsite, Gold Derby where he is handsomely paid to pontificate on his entertainment savvy. I've never liked this hack largely due to his shitty taste in movies and his moronic writing style but he really stuck his foot in it this time. He dedicated today's column to answering an age old question that has haunted movie fans for decades, "What film really won the FIRST Oscar for Best Picture?" Most film buffs/nerds instantly blurt out, "Wings" which is the standard accepted answer, but ULTRA film nerds/snobs and lovers of great cinema like to point out that the first year of the Oscars there were TWO best picture categories, one for production which was won by "Wings" and another labeled "Most Artistic" which was won by the FW Murnau classic "Sunrise". O'Neill decided that this burning question must be answered and since he had never seen "Sunrise" he recently watched it and had this to say:
I've seen [Best Production winner] Wings a few times and liked it OK. But now that I've viewed [Best Artistic Picture winner] Sunrise, I must concede: Wings soars by comparison. Sunrise is paper-thin, hilariously schmaltzy. All three primary characters are cartoonish clichés and their performances 3-inch slices of honeyed ham.
Mind you, I'm the kinda guy who'd normally side with the weepie. On my top 10 list of fave pix of all time are Peggy Sue Got Married and Titanic. But I just can't shed a real tear when the farmer in Sunrise decides that he just — by golly! — can't off his sweet, dimpled wifey-pooh, after all. Nor could I cheer the scenes of the couple back together, all giddy smiles and kisses, posing for photos like newlyweds, dancing a happy peasant dance, joyous once he decided not to wring her scrawny little neck and hurl her over the side of the row boat.
What corn pone! Smothered in Cheez Whiz! Wings ain't Shakespeare or Scorsese, mind you, but it's better than that!
What's the name of the bouncy, chipper film critic/gossip writer at the Onion who gushes over things but goes all Miss Malaprop over every name? I'm guessing that the Onion MUST be parodying our friend Tom...all this motherfucker's writing is smothered in Cheez Jizz. And who the fuck has "fave pix"? Didn't that kind of film lingo go out with Movietone News and Anna Q Nilsson? What an asshat!
Oh, and how did I find out about this? I saw the original post at Movie City News but didn't really get riled about it until I saw it posted at Defamer, where they went ballistic on O'Neill's dumbass. Check it out: http://defamer.com/380165/lat-oscar-blogger-rehashes-80-year-old-argument-for-reasons-no-one-quite-understands
Here is part of Defamer Editor S.T. VanAirsdale's response to O'Neill:
"Corn pone"? "Smothered in..." Oh, fuck it. Look, we've all got opinions. O'Neil can cough out whatever he wants. Nevertheless, there are some incontrovertibly great films that got movies as we know them where they are today. The haunting, technically dazzling story-in-the-shadows of a simple man's basic struggle with modernity, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, is one of them. See Roger Ebert's extraordinary review for in-depth reasons why, BUT: Film noir? Thank Sunrise. Psychological horror? Thank Sunrise. Hitchcock, Welles, Kubrick, Scorsese? Thank Sunrise. The short-sighted, star-fucking O'Neil could very well be the main character here, which may in fact signal its most objectionable quality to his Titanic-adoring eye.
Film nerds frothing at the mouth: FUN!!