Monday, February 13, 2017

27 Days of Oscar, day 19: Grammys, BAFTA, Best Documentary (Short Subject)

There is so much to cover today!

First let's start with the Grammy Awards. As I was watching the BAFTAs I was reading online about some Grammy highlights. Metallica and Gaga have sound disaster! Adele swears and starts song over! Beyonce is a queen! Beyonce is ROBBED!

Needless to say, I didn't quite care enough to watch it last night, although I did watch Adele's acceptance speech for Album of the Year and found it to be quite touching. "25" is a great album. "Lemondade" probably deserved the award. Luckily it seems that whatever crazy bitchery that was attempted last night on my social media feed denouncing Adele didn't go very far.

I watched the show in about 45 minutes this morning. Twenty One Pilots taking off their pants made me stop fast forwarding long enough to hear say Tyler Joseph say that "anyone from anywhere can do anything," which certainly gave me a warm feeling inside.

Beyonce was incredible, even though I was beginning to wonder if she was going to sing or simply pose. Sing she certainly did. Katy Perry will always sound odd live, but her new song is indeed infectious.

Adele starting over her "Fast Love" tribute to George Michael was certainly the highlight of the night for me. I don't remember being affected by an awards show moment like that since Jon Stewart brought Marketa Irglova back on stage at the Oscars for a chance to accept her award after a commercial break being cut off before she could begin.

But back to the Grammy's. Adele's performance of "Hello" was a bit off for me. Maybe it's the fact that she's been performing the number for well over a year. It seemed like she warmed up halfway through the song but never quite arrived.

But vocals and the humanity she showed us on that stage during "Fast Love" is something quite rare on Awards shows. Thinking about this year's Oscar race, I just want to shake both Emma Stone and Casey Affleck. They are both so wonderful, but I feel as if they are scared to show us who they really are on stage.  I feel their PR machines working every time they accept an award. Hopefully if Emma wins on Oscar night she will let loose!

Which leads me to the BAFTAs. I'm feeling some serious awards show fatigue and its clear that almost everyone on that stage was feeling it as well. Viola gave the same speech, although incredible. Emma tried to sound meaningful, bless her heart. And all I could think of when Damien Chazelle won was I hope he doesn't break up with his girlfriend because his impending Oscar speech will forever have the regrettable breakup stamp ala Sandra Bullock/Jesse James.

 I, like many others, are bored with the awards part of awards season. It was great to see Dev Patel win. And I really enjoyed Lonergan's speech as well.

And as great as Denzel is, I'm with Kenneth Lonergan. Casey Affleck gives the best male performance this year. Hands down. I'm still picking him for the win. This is a body that gave Polanski an Oscar. Scandal be dammed.

What I am not bored with is the movies I'm watching.  I'm hoping to watch "The Red Turtle" and "Kubo with Two Strings" so I can really did into Animated Feature. And I'm going to finish up my foreign film piece for Awards Daily after lunch today.

Since I last posted I did manage to watch the Documentary Shorts as well as "Fire at Sea."  Two shorts docs feature Syria, one centering on the Syria Civil Defence, is a volunteer civil defense organization that currently operates in parts of rebel-controlled Syria ("The White Helmets") and one more heavily focusing on a refugee family ("Watani: My Homeland"). A third doc short, "4.1 Miles" also deals with refugees in regard to the Greek Island of Lesbos and the Greek Coast Guard.

What fascinated me about "4.1 Miles," "Watani: My Homeland" and the documentary feature, "Fire at Sea" was the fact that in each film it was stressed by the non refugee subjects the importance and obviousness of doing what must be done, everything we can, to help the refugees. They are humans and must be helped. What a stark contrast from our country. A country of immigrants.

The other two doc shorts are a bit different. "Joe's Violin" is a touching story about how a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and a 12-year-old Bronx school girl. It is a beautiful subject, but not quite as strong as the rest of the bunch, including "Extremis." This is a Netflix documentary (one of two that are nominated, the other being "The White Helmets") that addresses end of life care decisions made by patients and families with the aid of doctors. This is the one that moved me the most, and when it comes to predicting the shorts, that's the way I vote. From the heart. It has come in handy many years in a row. Although, it's really a crap shoot.

You can watch "4.1 Miles" in its entirety here. "Extremis" and "The White Helmets" is on Netflix, and you can see trailers below.

4.1 Miles from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.

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