June 25, 2009

10 Best Picture Nominees

So the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that they're increasing the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10 this year. Initially this may seem like a stunt. Then you might think, "Are there really 10 great films in a given year?" But after that you may come around to the idea that it could be pretty interesting.

Limiting the Best Picture group to five has, in my opinion at least, limited the nominees to a pretty narrow band of movie-types: Very serious dramas with famous celebrities in the leading (and usually supporting) roles. It's become really easy to distinguish between normal movies and movies that are trying to emulate that type in an effort to get an Oscar nod (the most obvious to me was Pay It Forward, which didn't get anything despite trying oh so very hard to seem important). Increasing the number of nominees to ten means there's room to nominate a great documentary, foreign film, or pure comedy, none of which ever get that biggest of nods. Will the big self-important dramas still win most of the time? Probably, and don't take this post to mean that I haven't liked most of the nominees in the last few years, but this allows the Academy to recognize that "best" doesn't necessarily mean most heavy, emotional, or serious; at least not for most people. Link.

June 18, 2009


One of the most important aspects of the healthcare debate that you almost never hear about is that it's not about making people more healthy. Genetics and lifestyle play such an important role that it's only in a small minority of cases that having good quality insurance makes a decisive difference in medical outcomes. What healthcare reform *is* about, however, is cost. The U.S. spends more than any other developed nation on healthcare for pretty bad health outcomes overall.

Ezra, who you should really be reading every day for you healthcare debate fix, has a great peace up today that makes the case that we've set up a system in America where we pay through the nose so that we can avoid having to make tough choices, but that refusal is itself a choice with very real consequences. Link.