If James Franco Gets an Oscar Nod For 'Spring Breakers,' We All Lose
A24, coolest house of movies on the block and the distributor behind Spring Breakers, wants James Franco to be nominated for an Academy Award. Really. (Well, we think.) It could all just be ironic because you know how those cool kids love their irony (it tastes so sweet, almost like satire!), but still: they went as far as to make a For Your Consideration video for it, so let's go ahead and take them seriously. If they're after Oscar gold for the Franco Entity, then that's as serious as a heart attack... and maybe the worst life decision of the day.
I, in the minority it seems amongst most of my peers, did not particularly care for the cinematic stylings of Harmony Korine's ode to trashy flash and poor life decisions that is Spring Breakers. I got what it was doing, its commentary on the fucked-up interpretation of the American Dream that's ingratiated itself with so many people, but meh. Just not my cup of tea. Maybe I'd have appreciated it more if it was actually a metaphor for the rise and fall of Britney Spears as a former colleague of mine once wrote. But it wasn't, so I just can't stand for this. Because if James Franco gets nominated for an Academy Award for this role we're never going to hear the end of it.
It will start a chain reaction of films similar to Spring Breakers, but with far less going on underneath the surface. Some will succeed, others will not. There will be tone-deaf interpretations of appropriations of culture. People will probably (justifiably or otherwise) throw the whole racism argument around, because that's a thing. And there's going to be a whole new generation of self-styled antihero bad boys cropping up to show their support for the consumer-to-excess culture that's sort of allowing all of these big business to win everything, all the time.
And it also means there'll be a continued platform for highly aspirational figures such as Riff Raff and Franco's inspiration for the Alien character, Florida-based rapper Dangeruss. Who — and maybe I'm just an old granny, but — may just be one of the more intolerable examples of musical ability out there.
The problem is that a fair amount (if not the majority) of the viewers of Spring Breakers and the Alien character in particular are not, shall we say, aware or removed enough to look at the film as a commentary on society, let alone a negative one. The aspirational and romantic idolatry that's been thrust upon an, for all intents and purposes, a shitshow of a life are being revered just a tad bit too early. Give this generation a few years to really understand what this is all about and maybe try again. Franco may have been ahead of his time on that front, but I don't think it's quite time to reward him for such a performance, either.
Besides, we all saw how insufferable he was while hosting the awards — imagine if he actually won one.