We are a few hours away from the biggest Awards ceremony in Hollywood and the world. So what part do Immigrants play in the biggest show on earth? Talent is the one universal passport, and Hollywood has always had a place for immigrants — from German maestro Fritz Lang, who headed west when Hitler’s minister of propaganda pressured him to take over Germany’s top studio, to Polish Roman Polanski, who directed Los Angeles’ definitive film noir, “Chinatown,” and Taiwan-born Ang Lee, who became the first nonwhite to win an Academy Award for directing for “Brokeback Mountain,” his reinvention of the western.
As Hollywood tries to stave off commercial stasis, the industry has been undergoing another chapter in its love affair with foreign writers and directors, particularly those from the Far East and Latin America. The international box office now accounts for more than 60% of a film’s box office gross.
Of course, in this age of globalization, it’s unclear what it even means to be a Hollywood immigrant anymore. “It doesn’t matter where you live,” says Paramount Classics chief John Lesher. “We all talk on the phone. We see each other at film festivals. You can edit a movie in Brazil, and your editor can be in London, and you can put it together seamlessly in perfect time.”
So for Oscars 2010 we will not able to determine again who is an immigrant and who is not, an honestly who cares. What we want to know is who will win tonight.
For as lacking in suspense as the acting races are, the contest for the biggest prize couldn’t be any closer. It’s David vs. Goliath here, with ‘Hurt Locker’ and ‘Avatar’ seemingly trading “favorite” status every other day.
Unless they somehow split the votes and the Weinstein-backed ‘Basterds’ revises more history with an upset, the Oscar will go to either the highest-grossing Best Picture winner ever, or the lowest (in half a century, anyway). Be warned: This one is flip-a-coin close. Enjoy the Oscars tonight!!!!