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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First and Second Guessing the Oscars

Yesterday Hollywood took time to congratulate itself handing out the Oscar nominations for 2011.

In years past it was pretty easy to see most of the heavy hitters.  As this is the 3rd year the Academy nominates 10 (too freaking many!!) films for Best Picture I find myself lacking.  What else is new?

To date I have seen 4 films.  In case you missed it, you can find them all here:  http://oscar.go.com/nominees/  Of those (4), The Help, The Descendents, Moneyball, and Midnight in Paris, only Paris was worthy, in my opinion.  In fact, Brad Pitt and George Clooney's projects are both vastly overrated.  For more drama from both men check out Michael Clayton or A River Runs Through It. You will be better served.

Some reviews here:


The silent film "The Artist" and that annoying dog that stole the Golden Globe spotlight make for a nice story.  But let's be honest...  no one has seen that movie.  In fact it has been said some movie goers have demanded their money back.  A silent film?  In the age of smart phone???  It's a great idea, but we are just too darn dumb to adore that movie.  Nevermind it might be the most intelligent and creative movie made last year.

Do we award it because of that?  Or despite it?  Either way it is flawed.  Let's say the Academy, in its high brow-ed-ness, crowns it Best Picture.  If it is because of merit and skill we say great.  But shouldn't the "Best" film represent our Country as whole?  Should it speak and touch the masses?  The art house crowd is a fine bunch, but their numbers are small.  Should art be the one time they are the majority?

And if the Academy passes it up for say, The Descendents or The Help what message does that send?  They both have leading men who dominate the A list.  Clooney and Pitt are Hollywood royalty and established stars like say, Pacino, DeNiro and Nicholson were in the 70s.  When they branch out and take on new challenges their peers love heaping praise on them.   But is this not the easy way out?  Is it really daring to play a baseball General Manager or troubled millionaire?  Pitt could probably run the Oakland A's these days and Clooney IS a troubled millionaire.  OK, I am using troubled loosely.  But the man can't seem to find true love.  So very tragic.  See the homely women he ends up with.  Such a shame.

The point is Oscar is a very grown up, very glitzy, popularity contest.  It is Junior High on steroids.  Pay your dues and soon you will be rewarded.  And it does not hurt to be pretty.  Real pretty.

Maybe that is the reason Rooney Mara is up for Best Actress and Tilda Swinton is not.  Swinton has her Supporting Actress trophy.  Let the pretty girl get some love.  

It is why established acts like Glenn Close and Meryl Streep end up nominated every year.

The Academy wants you to believe they are cutting edge and all inclusive.  In reality they are the Student Council who wouldn't talk to you in recess.  They might let you start your Chess club.  But you better believe they are gonna goof on you for belonging to it.

Meanwhile I will watch the whole silly broadcast smiling ear to ear.  There is really nothing quite like it.  A fairy tale world celebrating the fairy tales they create.  We might not all love the same movies.  But a great many of us love movies period.  They provide an escape we all need from time to time.  

Like music, they dominate our popular culture.  They influence our dress and out language.  And they continue to entertain.  Now, if they could only lower the price of popcorn and clean those damn sticky floors.

Looking ahead:

Best Picture:  The Artist is going to win mainly because of its daring.  

Best Actor:  Brad Pitt is due and Hollywood is ready to crown him.  Too bad...  this was maybe the worst film I saw all year.

Best Actress:  Michelle Williams will win for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.  However, 60% of those voting will do so due to the Heath Ledger thing.

Supporting Actor:  A no brainer:  Christopher Plummer was brilliant in Beginners.  And he is 82.  See Jack Palance.  Let's just hope he does not try to do 1 armed push ups.

Supporting Actress:  Melissa McCarthy will be the big surprise of the night.  The Academy only gets crazy when it comes to the Supporting Actors.  Silly since they most often steal the pictures they represent.  McCarthy's performance in Bridesmaids is a perfect example.

Director:  Martin Scorsese will surprise here too since Hugo will not win Best Picture.  But the Academy will feel compelled to do a mea culpa giving Robert Redford a trophy over him for Ordinary People.  I mean seriously???

And should you care...  Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)will win Original Screenplay and Aaron Sorkin and his posse will win Adapted Screenplay (Moneyball.)

What say you?  What were the best films of the year?  How about the best performances?  Will you watch the Oscars?  Do you care?  Is it all flawed?  Are all awards shows flawed?  Are we all too flawed to even worry about it?  Do you watch for the fashion?  Do you watch for the host?  



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