Darius Kadivar
by Darius Kadivar

Ratatouille Beats Persepolis at US Critics Choice Awards ;0(

It's not fair to the Winner, But honestly I wish Some US critics would take the Shit out of their Eyes. I am not very hopeful on the Chances of Persepolis at the US Oscars when I see how blind and indifferent they can be in ousting a courageous and artistically accomplished film like Persepolis but prefer to Award a cute but meaningless film like Ratatouille. OK Blame me for my lack of objectivity or some patriotic upheaval ( French and Iranian) that may be blinding me for a moment. But this is not the first time that American critics fail to see straight when it comes to seeing films other than just sheer entertainment. When one thinks that Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator was nominated 5 times and left empty handed at the Oscars of 1940, or that Modern Times was not even nominated at the Oscars in 1936 It makes me gulp!

Also it is no secret that Political considerations do sometimes interfere in the ultimate choice made by some critics. One can remember how Gerard Depardieu's excellent performance in Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac became subject to a very hot debate not on his performance but on his controversial past: he was accused of having raped a girl his age when he was 9 years old. This was based on an alleged interview that the actor had given to a French Tabloid and when drunk. In addition the story ( True or False ? ) leaked in the American Press when the French and American governments were at odd's over military intervention in Kuwait during the First Gulf War in 1990. Alas the American Press and film critics at large used this political oppurtunity to confuse issues and use the Oscar competition and Depardieu as scapegoat's to international confrontation when by all accounts Depardieu truly deserved an Oscar for his breathtaking performance which had conquered both European and American viewers at large.

I don't cliam that the Oscars truly make film history but they do help...

Apart from notable exceptions there have been milestones in the history of motion pictures needless to say that many films in the past 80 years have been awarded with the Golden Statue but have hardly lasted the test of Time both in content and significance to Film as an Artform.

Sure who would Spit on an Oscar ? No one and I would even say that every star and film director would even hypocritically claim the opposite if good luck would turn in their favor.

But there is something frightening to see that film critics cannot acknowledge the importance of some films that seem to ring true to our Times and maybe even beyond. I don't want to uphold Persepolis as "The Greatest Film of Our Times. " Its a Very Good Film and in its genre a Masterpiece but that can be overdone as in the case of any film in future years by another animated movie in terms of Artwork and emotional captivation. Nevertheless why should we fail to see the oppurtunity that some films offer in understanding crucial issues relevant to our times on so many different levels be it internationally, politically, socially and culturally. Who can claim that Persepolis doesn't in its own way helps answer some questions in regard to the World after 9/11, or to even universal themes like immigration, racism, religious and political gaps between East and West ?

Is it not after all the role of Art to acknowledge what needs to be acknowledged as Universal. For Heaven's Sake What is Universal about a French Mouse who knows how to cook ? Sure its a wonderful entertainment in the lines of the Aristocats or other Family oriented Disney Animations that will make you spend a very good time and bring sweet dreams to one's kids. But Is that supposed to be of any interest to mankind.

Even Americans could benefit from a wiser choice in understanding what they often refuse to understand in the name of "Happiness" and the Right to Happiness that they have inscribed in their Constitution as much as the Right to carry Guns in self defense.

This shortsightedness is all the more frustrating that America see's itself as a Beacon of Hope and Democracy for the whole World. 9/11 doesn't seem to wake them up or Alert them on the necessity if not for change at most in acknowledging that they are not alone on this planet nor in their sufferings.

I Love Hollywood Films and I think unlike what most French claim that Americans actually invented Cinema not because the debateable chronology as to who Edison or The Lumiere Bros first discovered the technology of moving pictures, but because I think that the Americans understood that films unlike all other Artforms depended on both commercial and artsitic skills in order to exist. But It does sound awfully depressing and "Déja Vu" to see how the Film community can't see the obvious and genuine step made towards a better understanding of the World at Large.

I give you credit that I am NOT AT ALL Objective, I would even add I am particularly angry and furstrated by the selection and results as far as the animated category and foreign film selections are concerned. Persepolis deserves running in at least two categories, that of Best animation ( seems the most obvious choice but not selected in this category at the Golden Globes and not confirmed either by the Oscar nominations Yet) and Best foreign Film ( is I think a treat but less obvious and certainly unequal choice given that its an animation amongst non animated films), but then again who is when it comes to expressing one's love or admiration for a work of Art.

They are all equal in the right to run for an Award but I wish and hope that some honesty and openmindedness not to say Originality would reflect in the selection and ultimate Choice of such prestigious competitions.

I don't have any particular judgment on the choices in other categories except that I think that Julie Christie seems to be a fair choice and can also draw attention on a terribly afflicting disease which is Alzheimers and can encourage public alertness and encourage help for medical research in the field. As for Clooney's nomination as Best actor for his performance in Michael Clayton, it looks more like a private Ocean 13th Joke which I have still not understood its significance. Please Help me if you figure that out.

Nevertheless Congrats to the Winners and ...


Nominations for 2008 Best Animated Feature included:

Bee Movie
The Simpsons Movie
See Other Nominations

Winners at Monday's 13th annual Critics' Choice Awards:

- Picture: "No Country for Old Men"

- Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"

- Actress: Julie Christie, "Away From Her"

- Supporting actor: Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"

- Supporting actress: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"

- Acting ensemble: "Hairspray"

- Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"

- Writer: Diablo Cody, "Juno"

- Animated feature: "Ratatouille"

- Young actor: Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, "The Kite Runner"

- Young actress: Nikki Blonsky, "Hairspray"- Comedy movie: "Juno"

- Family film (live action): "Enchanted"

- Picture made for television: "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

- Foreign language film: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

- Song: "Falling Slowly," Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, "Once"

- Composer: Jonny Greenwood, "There Will Be Blood"

- Documentary feature: "Sicko"

- Joel Siegel award: Don Cheadle

more from Darius Kadivar

deeper meaning

by Moosh (not verified) on

I actually found a deepr message in Ratatouille. Remember that The mouse's father and friends insisted to see the world as defined by their limited thinking; we are mouse so we should live a certain way. The young mouse however, pushed the envolope, ventured into uncharted waters, and lifted himself into a whole new level in life.

There was once this American pastor who labeled one of his congregation members as heretic and satanic because the pupil had suggested based on Biblical text, man may be able to fly one day like angels.
The pastor had two sons. They were wright brothers !!!


I agree with some of the

by Another lost iranian in France (not verified) on

I agree with some of the comment here, average americans don't have the basic historical references to completely understand the story. In other words some may say they're stupid, wich is also true. And I mean, what do you think a guy let's say in Denver CO will go for ? seriously ? Vienna and Marjan ? or a Bud Light and Ratatouille ?


Ei baba

by Zebel (not verified) on

During Clinton presidency, once they gathered about 100 student representatives from top K-12 schools throughout America and asked them to come up with a single question to ask from president. After much interaction, their question was "Mr. President, what type of underwear do you like?"

A few years ago, there was a poll about Iran. apparently 85%+ of respondents pointed to Australia as Iran :) When asked about the reason, the dominant answer was "well, you said it is a country far away with a lot of desert".

Movies?, Culture?, Learning from History?, Analysis?!!

Kaveh Nouraee

What can you expect?

by Kaveh Nouraee on



Granted, I have yet to see either film, but did you honestly expect anything more from the US in the area of culture? American award shows have degenerated into nothing more than meetings of the Mutual Admiration Society. The concept of "art for art's sake" is long lost on American sensibilities (another contradiction in terms, I know).



As pissed off as you are, understand that culturally-speaking, you cannot expect much if anything at all from a society that considers rap and hip-hop as musical art forms, or men wearing their pants below their butts (a look that started in US prisons, by the way) as "fashion".


Stop whining...

by Batman (not verified) on

Hey Darius... why do you have your panies in a bunch? After all, Ratatouille is French too so you should be happy you Francophile who would rather eat French food on the floor then Persian at the table.


I've seen both movies

by Anonymous-critic (not verified) on

Dear Darius, I think for average Americans Perspolis is a little bit confusing. I saw it with my American friend and I had to give her history lesson every 5 minutes! And believe me I had already told about Iranians a lot (really a lot!)But Ratatouille was a great animation movie understood and loved by both kids and adults. My kids loved it so much and I loved it too because it had no violence. So please don't get mad at the result. Being nominated is a great honor already...


People are sick of Iran

by Q on

Darius, I feel your pain. But I think people are sick of hearing about Iran, Iraq and MidEast in General. It's not about quality, that's just how America works.



by Farbors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

Great Dictator was not nominated. can it be that it was because Hitler was a US Construct? The real aim was to destroy the young socialism in Russland. the germans were the best performers. after they failed US came in and performed it. However after 7tie years.
Modern times was not nominated because it seemed anti capitalistic. How could such a well fed Servant of the capitalism nominate that film? regarding persepolice: I read nearly daily about so many iranian films which win a price in Italy in France and else where. But persepolice? well it is nowhere regarded. If US Film ignores persepolice, well may be it has different motive? can it be for example so? I mean the reason? Greeting


Ratatoulie was good.

by Anonymously (not verified) on

I wish Ratatoulie and Perspolis would not be involved in the same year. Just like Children of Heaven and Life is Beautiful, this is an unfair year for Iranian cinema/art. Ratatoulie is good, I saw it and it has a feel good message which is also new. So many people need to cook home made meals and stay away from fast food junk. Don't mean to dramatize it and make it more than what it is, but Ratatoulie is good and deserves honors, just like Perspolis, but there can only be one winner.


That might be the true price

by XerXes (not verified) on

The true price in the long run might be that Persepolise did not win the commercialized Oscar. True that it would be nice to be recognized, but Oscar is ran by a bunch of...


A shahollahi hates criticism. What else is new?

by Karim (not verified) on

Tell me something I don't know, "Kadivar."