Mr. Oscar Meets Mr. Altman
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Though Altman has never been a big Hollywood player -- in fact, I always viewed his 1992 take on Hollywood, "The Player"," as a scathing indictment of the frivolity and shallowness of the motion picture industry -- his films have always seemed perched right out there on the edge, continually striving to learn more about our collective humanity and always revealing the quirks and fissures of the human condition.
Altman has long been a maverick and virtuoso in the film industry, always experimenting and breaking new ground, both technologically (particularly in his movie's sound tracks) and in his unique way of working with actors (many of whom would work for scale to have the opportunity to work with the director). Both his approach to his filmmaking and the films themselves have been extremely innovative.
So, forget for a moment who was wearing whose dress, and who got shafted out of what award. For a few delightful moments, the collective of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored one of its own for a lifetime of innovation -- to one whom it had not previously given an award, and to one for whom it was long overdue.
Here's to you, Mr. Altman...may your new heart give you 40 more years of filmmaking.