And while you might make the blanket assumption that the honored movies are as stuffy as the campaign period, major award shows have doled out accolades to some very provocative pieces of work. Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights brought Bert Reynolds back into the spotlight and the most taboo film genre — porn — straight to the Oscar red carpet. In fact, controversy can be a blessing. Definitely not one to watch with the parents or the kids, this biopic of Marquis de Sade, an early icon of sexual freedom, would do the Marquis proud with its graphic, messy depictions of sexuality. What fans see on any awards night may give the illusion of spontaneity, with the daring red carpet fashion and the breathless acceptance speeches, but make no mistake: awards season is a regimented process. Then I saw it and I wasn't confused anymore. Inevitably, some eligible films are not as widely seen as they should be. These provocative movies rode their buzz straight to major awards recognition. The erotic thriller and its masked orgy were a little too much for the Globes and the Oscars, but festivals and critics associations were all over it.
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