Oscar battle: District 9 versus Avatar
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.
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?