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Oscar battle: District 9 versus Avatar

3 February 2010

It seems that not one, but two sci-fi movies have been nominated for the best film Oscar: District 9 and Avatar, and this has caused quite a buzz among the critics and commentators.

Oscar Overload: The Avatar-District 9 Brawl Begins – Techland –

So please remember: It’s a good year for sci-fi in the mainstream. Very good. Maybe a little too good. Over the next four weeks, up until Oscars night March 7, I fully expect the Avatar-District 9 spat to grow heated. Guerrilla-style documentary approach, versus $500 million, 10-year technological revolution. Peter Jackson protégé versus king of the world. Racism vs. eco-terrorists. Grainy 2-D versus industry-changing 3-D. Box office contender versus box office champ.

I have a feeling that fans of one are more than likely critics of the other. All of which means that things are gonna get ugly. The great Avatar-District 9 war of 2010 has just begun.

Around here, the conventional wisdom is that District 9 suffers from a serious handicap — it isn’t American enough. In the very same year that it was produced, another South African film, Invictus has Americans playing the leading roles; at least it didn’t get nominated.

I haven’t seen Avatar, and perhaps I should have done so before writing this, so I can’t really tell which film is better, but I do think District 9 was the best South African film in a decade, if not longer. What do you think?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 3 February 2010 10:38 am

    What, no poll option for those of us who have seen neither?

    I haven’t seen any of them yet but District 9 is top of my list to see when I get the opportunity. It just seems a more interesting storyline.

    As to being not ‘American enough’ that would count as a bonus to me. I’m one of those people where Hollywood and media hype sends me in the opposite direction.

    And what I read about Avatar does get me wondering if there’s an ‘agenda’ to that film?

    • 3 February 2010 1:08 pm

      I’m sure there’s an “agenda” to both of them, it just dpeends on whether you agree with it or not. I agree with you about the “American” bit being annoying. It’s one of the reasons I didnn’t go to see “Invictus”, and didn’t much like Cry the beloved country. There are plenty of South African actors who could have played the leading roles more convincingly, but the producers didn’t think they would go down with American audiences. I’d like to think that District 9 shows that they were wrong.

      If you haven’t seen either, it means you can come back and vote in the poll when you have 🙂

      • 3 February 2010 5:58 pm

        So Americans are the primary target audience for movies produced in South Africa? That strikes me as…unfortunate.

        I haven’t seen either movie yet. I tend to wait until movies come out on video. Ten dollars seems like a lot to pay for a single viewing of a movie.

  2. 3 February 2010 1:55 pm

    Avatar was visually stunning, but the story is as old as the hills. Hybrid hero bridges the gap between two worlds, wins the battle against the dark lord. Ringing any bells? Many are comparing to Dune, Fern Gully, Dances with Wolves but methinks we can go waaaay earlier than that.

    District 9 on the other hand, that was odd, that was different. And I kinda like surprises.

  3. 13 February 2010 7:40 am

    As Matt said, Avatar had a rather over-done storyline but did ground breaking things in the technical arena. I hope, though, that District 9 wins because it is experimental in a far more risky way. It’s a tough one though because I do feel Avatar needs to be acknowledged for changing the way movies are done.

  4. 27 April 2010 2:02 am

    Avatar is the best.

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