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“A Film Isn’t a Horse Race”

Thanksgiving is almost here, but don’t assume that means it’s turkey time. At least, not at your local movie theater.

Time now for Hollywood to bring its “A” game. The last few weeks of the year inevitably bring a fresh crop of films that the major studios hope will be serious Oscar contenders.

But what did our favorite Twilight Zone scribe, our curator at the Night Gallery, think of the Academy Awards? Not much.

Serling -- B&W 1

Here, taken from a 1972 speech, is what Rod Serling had to say about the yearly Oscar telecast:

This offers up the patently impossible premise that there’s a ‘best picture’ and a ‘best performance’ and a ‘best director’ and a ‘best’ actor and actress. And I don’t think that’s true; I think that borders on the nonsensical. You can make comparative judgments about an art form, any art form. But a film isn’t a horse race. And to say that the whole or a component part thereof is the best, absolutely the best, is like trying to establish that an orange tastes better than an apple. Read the rest of this entry

Serling on Awards

Rod Serling won numerous major writing awards throughout his career, including six Emmy awards. Yet he was surprisingly unimpressed with such trophies.

RS Emmy 4

Here’s what he told editor Linda Brevelle in what turned out to be his last interview (March 1975). She asked how he could top himself after being feted on so many occasions, and he replied:

Well, first of all, I’ve never really topped myself, because awards in themselves really don’t reflect major accomplishment. It’s kind of a strange, backslapping ritual that we go through in this town where you get awards for almost everything. For surviving the day you’re going to get awards. So I can’t suggest that those things represent any pinnacle of achievement.

If indeed they did, I suppose I’d be worried about how do I top myself. But if indeed I’m a household name, it’s a fortuitous event, really singularly undeserved, and caused by a whole lot of extraneous, fortuitous things that have occurred. Read the rest of this entry