Friday, March 15, 2013

Oscar Reflections (points deducted for late submission)

And so it’s been over two weeks since the Oscars, so why post now?  Maybe it’s because of my students.  They’re so sweet, you know?  They actually asked me questions about what did I think about Seth McFarlane?  So, ok.  What did I think?

First off, regarding Seth McFarlane.  The Oscars are seen as an old fogey show.  So, they’re trying to make it more relevant (or fun) to the kiddies.  They couldn’t do that with James Franco and Anne Hathaway two years ago, so they tried with Seth McFarlane this year.   And you know what?  It worked.  18-35 year olds want to see numbers like “We Saw Your Boobs.”  It was a win for the Academy, even though they shot their actual audience in the foot.  I both appreciate and bemoan Seth McFarlane.  I get him, but hate why.  Was he offensive?  Yes.  Did I get to see him attack Sally Fields and her reciprocate? Yes.  You can’t exploit someone who says yes.

So there is the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Where did everything fall?

The Good:
Yay for Oscars!!!  Because I was all “they got it right!” and impressed with some votes.

THE BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT BY FAR OF THE WHOLE SHOW WAS ANG LEE WINNING FOR BEST DIRECTOR.  I really cannot underscore that enough, and it blew my mind that he actually won.  I know from the get-go that I am way too emotionally involved in Life of Pi, but if you haven’t seen it, try to go see it before it leaves theaters.  You can see Amour at home.  Life of Pi is not the same.  If you don’t get to see it on wide screen, I’m sorry.

The second biggest “YES, WIN!!!” was for Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained.  Believe me, I don’t think Tarantino is the end-all, be-all, and other than Deathproof, this is his worst film.  But without a doubt, Waltz owned that part.  There was no protagonist in this film, because Foxx’s Django was so insipid.  I hope another talented director, like Fincher, gets ahold of this guy, because he is so amazing.

Third, Mychael Danna won for best score.  Yes all around.  What is weird is that I remembered the score when it was important, in dialogue sessions, not in action sequences.  He so got this from the beginning, and I love the fact that he finally got recognition.

Life of Pi winning for cinematography and visual effects.  Maybe I’m biased (in fact, I know I am), but I’m certainly not alone, with this winning the major tech awards.  This wasn’t by chance.  Again, if you can, see it before it leaves theaters.

Lincoln winning for production design.  There was some impressive attention to detail.

The Bad:
Argo for Best Picture, even though that is so obviously false and shows the flaws in the system.  Seriously, FUCK BEN AFFLECK.  I am working from a deficit since I haven’t seen Les Miserables, but of the 8 of the 9, this isn’t even in the top three.  But with all of the politics, whatever.  This was a really decent year for movies, and to see one win that wasn’t all that great win is disheartening.

And Argo winning for best adapted screenplay is sort of odious, too.  Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi didn’t win?

The Ugly:
I couldn’t say this is bad, because it isn’t, but I do think it is wrong, so I’ll put it under ugly.  Without a doubt, Emmanuelle Riva should have won for best actress.  The physicality of what she had to do for the part, and she was 85, was astounding.  I’m not trying to say Jennifer Lawrence was bad in her role, but she is so clearly second place behind Riva here.  I’m not sure if this is age bias or foreign bias, but this was a glaring oversight.

Sorry Steven, but all that overt, garish Oscar campaigning for your movie didn’t pan out.  It’s a bit sickening hearing about all the studio did to try to get votes.  I used to be a big Spielberg fan, but now, he’s diminishing quickly.

I’m still mad that Searching for Sugar Man won.  It’s not a bad movie, but Five Broken Cameras was so amazing.

You’re telling me that Argo was better edited than Zero Dark Thirty?  Wow, Hollywood was really ticked off by the waterboarding.

The Obvious: 
Daniel-Day Lewis for best actor.  DDL gave a great speech about him playing Margaret Thatcher and her playing Lincoln.  Can you imagine those movies?  Great speech by a great actor, though.

Anne Hathaway for best actress, although I still think Helen Hunt probably deserved it more.

Amour for best foreign film.

Les Miserables for best sound mixing.  All those live vocals.  All that noise.  No one else should have probably been in this category.

Adele winning for “Skyfall.”  But I didn’t know beforehand that Scarlett Johansson sang that ice movie’s song.  I didn’t know she sang.  Why hasn’t she been tapped for a musical?

Tarantino winning for best original screenplay.  They had to give Django more than just one award, right?

We had a tie?!?  Do you know how often that happens?  Like almost never.  And both Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall deserved the award, so that was really cool all around.

Brave won instead of Wreck It Ralph.  That is really too bad.  Given the positive message that Ralph was trying to send out, in this world of bullying, I was genuinely surprised that Brave won, since it was by-the-boards pedantic.  This honestly was my biggest surprise.

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