From the Archives: Imagine if the Academy Awarded Oscars Based on First Half Performance



Oscar de la Rental. Seems like that sometimes as several stars win, then disappear.

Take “No Country for Old Men,” the 2008 winner for Best Picture. Great opening,  lots of tension, the Bardem-Brolin cat and mouse keeps you on the edge of your seat until the air is let out in the meandering final scene.

Now, for my money, the first forty five minutes of “There Will Be Blood” is superior, it grabs hold and doesn’t let go.  If I’m a member of the Academy and basing my vote on the first half, I’m giving the nod to “Blood,” though by the time the final credits roll, it’s clear to me that “No Country” is the superior film.

Does selecting All-Stars based on their first half performance make any more sense? Don’t you need to wait till the film ends before determining its value?  

I mean, props to Josh Hamilton for transforming from Keith Richards to Jimmy freaking Foxx. Ninety five RBI in the first half?  Insane. But will he be able to keep the plot-line moving in the second half. Reds hurler Edison Volquez (who was traded for Hamilton) is 12-3, 2.26ERA and 126K’s in 117 innings pitched. (“Edison turns out the lights!!!” Someone’s thought of that before, no?) Killer first half…but will he fade like the second half of a slow-moving Flemish film on mussel harvesting?  Evan Longoria, the Rays young stud 3B, is making his first start. He’s got 16HR and 53RBI.  And then you have Indians pitcher Cliff Lee, first time all-star who’s starting for the AL. He’s 12-2, 2.31ERA, 106K’s in 124IP. Great first half-stuff.  But selecting them based on several months of output is like writing a film review based on the first forty minutes. I’d be here all day if I were to compile a list of films that ran out of ammo after the half-way point (but if any come to mind, by all means share).

(Obviously the NBA plays its all-star game at the season’s half-way mark too, but it’s fair to say that the rosters are, on balance, made up of established stars in their prime, or players just emerging as stars…on occasion you’ll get someone having a career year who’s selected based on years of solid, just below all-star caliber play. Additionally, basketball players usually put up consistent numbers across the length of a season – certainly more so than baseball players who are more subject to prolonged slumps and more apt to piece together completely schizophrenic seasons.)

I say we move the All-Star game to late October, ala the Pro Bowl, when the facts are all in. And to maintain a sense of continuity, at the season’s half-way point stage a series of carny-style events, i.e., the home run derby, a skills competition and a tractor-pull…everyone goes home happy. All those in favor say aye.       


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