Well it was a year of surprises and of safe moves, of miraculous beauty and head-scratching descisions. If you haven’t already seen it, check out my predictions for who would win here and then come back for my final thoughts on the 84th Annuel Academy Awards.
What I absolutely loved (and caught the careful purpose of) about the Oscars this year was the intense focus on reminding us why we like the movies, which I thought they did a great job at. I left remembering the amazing feeling of seeing WallE on the big screen, catch every Harry Potter film at the Cinema’s and being blown away by them every time. Obviously it is an important marketing move after one of the worst year in cinema attendance to date, but I felt they didn’t throw themselves at us too much. It felt tasteful, glamourous and it did exactly what it needed to in bringing me back to why I love the movies so much. So for that, Good on ya!
Let’s start with the good things, shall we? This year was an incredibly safe show in stark contrast to the “edginess” that the Globes go for. In some ways this was good, as it honored some of the best stars their are with dignity. I rather loved Billy Crystal’s antics, despite the blandness of his intro. He did a great job of making it subtly fun, keeping it clean and generally reminding us of all the fun of the movies. Of course the departure from the “safe” came from the magnificent performance by Cirque du Soleil – wonderful as always.
All of that was wonderful, but what really wowed me by this year’s ceremony was the reverence and wonder they built into it. Though it is sort of the thing to do these days, I was moved by the “In Memorium” section, which beautifully paid tribute to the men and women who do all of the hard work that allows this to happen. Also, I nearly broke down watching Octavia Spencer lose it on stage. She was a mess but it was an elegant, beautiful thing. And finally, I think we will all remember that marvelous moment when Christopher Plummer, 82 years young, was finally united with his long lost love and said “Where have you been all my life?” It was a touching moment that he has deserved for a very long time and it was a joy to finally see him honored for his lifetime of dedication and quality performances. Congrats, Christopher!
And now, let us turn to the the few puzzling and slightly infuriating flops from the Oscars. First and foremost, FREAKING IRON LADY!!! I was so surprised that a film about recent British figures beat out a film about a British woman being a British MAN, and a film about a magical world full of creatures and battles and stuff FOR BEST MAKEUP!!!! Are you kidding me? I was happy with almost every choice they made and I even understand why Potter wasn’t getting any love from the Academy, but REALLY! That choice makes no sense.
Secondly, I cannot believe that Meryl Streep walked away with the win for Best Actress. Please understand that I have nothing against Streep – in fact I think her to be the best actress of our time. HOWEVER, why did she win for this film? Why not for something that she really gave 1000% to like Doubt or Adaptation? Instead of acknowledge her serious work, the Academy gives it to her for a Margaret Thatcher impression. It just doesn’t feel dignified of her to win for that. And when you look at how much each nominated actress put on the line for their role, Viola Davis is the clear frontrunner. Michelle Williams and Rooney Mara both took greater risks with their nominated films than Streep did in this one. Anyway, enough griping. Congrats, Meryl and better luck to all those great actresses in the future.
Briefly let me mention the few other things that flopped this year. First, that stupid Oz clip – no one thought it was that funny. In fact we all hoped it would be real, but then it wasn’t…. Beyond that was the now standard Ferrell-comedian presentation of award which was funny as usual but it is becoming a little too usual.
Finally, I was a little upset at Hugo taking just a few to many awards, namely Cinematography and Visual Effects. As I haven’t seen it yet, I will speak only briefly about it. I just felt like it took a lot of awards that were locked for other films and that started to get really old really quickly. Honestly, how does it beat Terrence Malick’s soul-movingly beautiful Tree of Life. And Particularly in VFX, I can’t fathow how good they must be in Hugo to beat out both the game changing performance capture of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the stunning conclusion of the Potter franchise. It just seems bizarrely implausible that it could be THAT good. Anyway, congrats also go to Scorsese proving again that not all Film Brats fall. 🙂
Overall I was very pleased with how the Oscars went this year. Almost immediately after the ceremony I began to feel the low rumbling quake of Potter fans worldwide storming the internet with their unholy hatred for the Academy and I expect the rioting to end soon. 🙂 Sorry, but the great things we are to expect from you apparently weren’t Oscars, Mr. Potter.
As promised I provided a perfectly adequete 50% success rate in predicting the winners and I am already getting excited about next years awards. My friend Ryan on the other hand nailed 19/24! Let me know what you thought of the ceremony, the winners, the losers, whatever! (I am an excellent shoulder to cry on, Tree of Life fans) I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have and I will leave you with what I think has to be the best visual metaphor I have ever seen for this year’s Animated Feature race: