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James Mangold

Fine films but off Oscar's radar

/*The argument against awarding Oscars to supposedly frivolous entertainment is that it would crowd out spots for films of vaunted social-cultural importance.

It is a compelling line of debate: In these days of hyper-commercialism and caution, it takes guts to back movies like the elegant, moving Atonement, the terrifying No Country for Old Men, the sharp, iconoclastic Michael Clayton and even the bombastic There Will Be Blood.

Still, when wide audiences embrace movies that seem slight, they often have deep reasons for it. I think Juno chokes on its own self-adoring cleverness, but my e-mails suggest that it answers the hunger of teenagers and their mothers for an adolescent...

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