If anyone needed any further reason - and they can't - to completely dismiss the Oscars as a genuine arts prize then the fact that Steve McQueen's Shame is not nominated for a single one of them should do it.
By my reckoning, of films released in the last 12 months, this one contains the best performance by both an actor and actress, the best direction, the best cinematography, the best score (albeit with a large tip of the hat to The Thin Red Line) and it is, without doubt, the finest film.
The subject matter is sordid. The treatment superb, The performances wrought with unspoken pain with McQueen apparently subscribing to Hemingway's dictum that 9 tenths of the iceberg is underwater, therefore a work gains power by what is unsaid as much or more than what is. This film speaks its depths with a series of subtle poetic gestures, not surprisingly as McQueen started out as a visual artist, and indeed its best scenes contain no dialogue at all (the one thing the director doesn't do terribly well is dialogue), but at told in the faces of Fassbender and Mulligan and the movement of McQueen's camera.
Tinker, Tailor ... is nominated plenty. Which is telling of the people who judge such prizes: I can only assume their thinking goes something like this: British intelligence in Cold War = serious; New York professional with a sex addiction = not serious. Ergo, the former goes through. Tinker, Tailr, despite the gravity of the men's faces in frame, despite the grandiosity, is nothing more than an amusing cerebral game, every Agatha Christie book is as good. And to make the whole business a complete joke, that great turkey slap of a film The Tree of Life is nominated.
In fifty years time people will still by watching Shame; they'll probably be remaking Tinker, Tailor or something very like it with concessions to the nostalgic tastes of the day (I was 4 years old in 1980 - people didn't dress like they do in that movie - didn't see any crimped hair or tie-dye in frame); and the Tree of Life will come on once a decade on a community channel in Venezuela at 2 in the morning.
Pensees - spelling and punctuation mistakes and all ... I believe at least three quarters of what I say. ... And the good stuff only stays posted for an hour or two.