Monday, February 28, 2011
Oscar Post Mortem/semi-rant
I love the Oscars, but even I don't want to listen to my favorite Oscar podcasts or even go to my favorite Oscar sites. That being said, I have a rant building in me...and I'm going to let it out.
1. Natalie won.
I said it back in October, and I stand by it: It was the strongest, most complicated performance of the year. In many years. I have honestly had to rethink my opinion of certain critics/peers after hearing dissent for her performance. I get that the film might not be for all people. But what she does in that role is nothing less than a revelation. Was it showy and over the top? No. Watch "The Fighter" if you want to see that type of acting. Portman's work was heightened reality.
2. The Hosts/ratings
Was Franco really that bad? I didn't pay much attention past the opening montage, which was incredible. Already people are saying that the ratings drop was due to the hosts. Hmmm.... People watch the Oscars when movies they LOVE are nominated. We didn't have an "Avatar" or "Titanic" this year. We had great smaller scale (Inception and perhaps TS3 removed) films nominated. Not to be too much of a regionalist...but those middle states don't always respond to films like "Winter's Bone." Maybe because they live it.
3. Best Picture/Director
So...it happened. Tom Hooper won best director. Yes, it wasn't deserved. If you know anything about film...you know what Fincher did...what Aronofsky did. What Hooper did was get great performances out of great actors using standard cinematography and themes that have been around for years and years. Nothing new there. Sure it was good. But not Best Picture of the year. Look for "The King's Speech" on bargain racks for $5 in a few years next to "Gladiator," "How Green Was My Valley," and "Dances With Wolves." A good film that is immediately discredited for beating one of the best, most relevant films of our time. But I guess it made people feel good. Next time take a Prozac, Academy.
This was a very weak year for Oscar shorts. Of all 15, I only liked 3. One of them, "Strangers No More," won Best Documentary Short. It was not the best, but it was good. (Definitely check out "Warriors of Quiquang.") I fell asleep during the animated short winner, "The Lost Thing." Again, it was ok. But this is the freaking Oscars! And in terms of Live Action...jeez. I do a lot of student films, but "God of Love" felt like a student film. In all the bad ways.
5. The Reviews
I have for a few years now been so disappointed with "reviews" of the Oscars. Imagine if I wrote the "review" of the Super Bowl for the New York Post. Would be horrible, right? That's how I feel reading almost every major publication the day after the Oscars. The Huffington Post had a headline stating there were no surprises last night. Umm...yes there were. Several. I understand that some people can't see all of the films...some journalists who have to critique the Oscars don't actually cover Oscars year round...but there are more awards than the top 5. Oddly enough, these are the same people, every year, who complain that the show is too long, but somehow manage to suggest things they should have added.
Yes, negativity sells, and yes, I'm oozing with it right now, but for what I consider to be the right reasons. Could publications actually consider having people who ENJOY awards shows to begin with write about them? Or maybe people who are at least informed! Maybe if these "critics" actually watched all the films nominated, they wouldn't be so annoyed that those "smaller" awards were being given out. Why do I see all the films? Because it's my job to see the films. I'm covering the Oscars. How can I do that and not see the nominated films? I'm not just a Best Picture writer.
On Twitter I have seen plenty of objective criticism, but in the majors, it's "same old, same old." Hate on the hosts, hate on the length, blah blah blah. If the critics/bloggers/journos actually focused on the films, god forbid, maybe they could discuss what matters. The awards!
6. It's what you make of it.
My friend Nathan on Twitter said the Oscars distract people from going deeper. I don't agree...exactly. Sure it can distract. The Oscars are what you make of them. I saw all 56 (?) films nominated for Oscars. Not just for bragging rights. I actually watch the films for the films. Therefore my Oscar experience is a celebration of film.
7. Putting it to bed.
The Oscars are over. Thank goodness. This whole season has been so ridiculous.
"I am bored. The Social Network is winning too much."
"Wait a minute. The Social Network isn't going to win BP? I'm not bored anymore. I'm mad."
You get what you wish for. Either accept the ride or get off of the Oscar train. If you are bored. STOP WRITING ABOUT THE OSCARS! It was a mostly good time overloaded with negative noise. Great films overshadowed by comparisons to Citizen Kane...and major critics (Edelstein, Scott) calling out other critics for having opinions, not their own. Oscar panels with "journos" v/s bloggers. One thinking they are better than the other, when they are actually a dying breed, and the other self deprecating themselves when they are the ones people actually listen to.
Let's get back to the movies! Let's enjoy film again. At least until this time next year.
I want to thank Rick Hamilton for helping me take Awards Wiz to another level.
I want to thank Sasha Stone for letting me write for Awards Daily. Seriously...a dream of mine.
Ryan Adams: What is there to say? I wish we could go to Limelight together.
Thanks to Anne Thompson for helping me figure out who to contact when I needed to find films in order to see all the nominees.
Thanks to Peter Knegt, Guy Lodge and Kris Tapley for always engaging in conversation.
And to everyone who came to my Oscar party last night. Old/new friends. But what I really learned. You are the real friends. There through success...not just failure.
And to Steve. Words aren't enough.
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