Monday, February 25, 2013

My Thoughts On The 85th Academy Awards

Well, since this is the first Oscar ceremony to come along since I started my largely movie related blog, I figured it was probably incumbent upon me to write a post about my reactions to the show, as well as the most important part, the winners and losers.

 As far as the ceremony itself, I actually thought Seth McFarlane did a pretty good job all told, especially considering the recent history of lackluster hosts. Before him, the last one I really liked was Jon Stewart, and before that it was the much maligned Letterman year. His timing could have been better and his cameo as Ted was offensive without also being funny, but anyone who doesn't admit that this was easily the funniest opening in years (ably assisted by Shatner) is just biased against the guy, and let's face it, the only reason we care about the host is the opening monologue anyway.

Supposedly this was the first Oscar ceremony with a theme, which apparently was Appreciating Music in Film or something like that, and I spent the entire broadcast alternating between wondering what the point of it was, and marveling at the fact that they could establish this theme and still not have live performances of all the Best Song nominees as they did in years past. Once they bring back Shirley Bassey to sing Goldfinger and a surprisingly off key Catherine Zeta Jones to sing the least interesting song from Chicago, its almost like a giant middle finger to Pi's Lullaby. The length of the show has been a running joke for years, but this one seemed to deliberately indulge in superfluous, easily cuttable nonsense.

Now as for the awards themselves, I figured I'd just go through the biggies one by one, talk about what I thought of the winners, and who I thought should have been nominated and/or won instead. This is actually the first time in a long time (if not ever) that my favorite live action film of the year actually won Best Picture. Overall my favorite is still Pirates: Band of Misfits, though since we now have the Best Animated Film category, I would have settled for it to win that, Brave's win and Rise of the Guardians lack of a nomination both being travesties.

Historically, the winner of Best Director almost always wins Best Picture, so when Affleck was snubbed for Argo in the Directing category even as it seemed like a lock for Best Picture, it made the race for Director a little more interesting this time around. It's weird to say it, but I think that despite all the "Poor Ben" press, this one hashed out for the best, as while I probably still enjoyed Argo more, Life of Pi was probably the greater accomplishment from a strictly directorial standpoint.

In retrospect, all four of the major acting categories were pretty much foregone conclusions, with the possible exception being Christophe Waltz. I didn't see Lincoln or Flight, and didn't really like Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, or Les Miserables, so I'll have to take the Academy's word on Daniel Day Lewis, as I can't think of anyone else more deserving off the top of my head. I'd say Jennifer Lawerence's win was a modern day Marisa Tomei (in fact I did say this), but again, the other nominees weren't any better (still, for the record, the ingenue amazed at everything, oh so cute when she trips cherubic thing is not as charming as everyone wants me to think it is). Waltz and Anne Hathaway were both obvious, though I still argue that Django was the supporting character in that movie and Dr. King was the lead, regardless of the title.

On the writing categories, we went from forgone conclusions to the best of a lot of bad options for Original Screenplay and a list of shrug worthy candidates for adapted. Both sorted out uncontroversially, though I would have nominated and given the best Adapted Screenplay Oscar to Pirates. Over all it was a year of meh with a few bright spots dotting like islands in a vast sea of who gives a shit anymore? In the pool I got 14 out of 24, far from the top, but then I refuse to do research and mostly vote my favorites over the likely winners outside of the biggies (and I never know docs and shorts, so I just pick at random). People who do research on Oscar buzz for movies they haven't seen will always beat me in these things, but I take a symbolic victory in committing to the spirit of honest predictions not stolen from a website.

That's right, fuck Nate Zoebl is the general point of that. Though thanks for hosting the party I guess. And in case anyone is wondering, the movie themed dish of the night was a roast dubbed the Roast In Hell, Paul Thomas Anderson!. Anyway, see you next year, and you know, also tomorrow and throughout the year for all the other posts. I'm not gonna just start doing one on the Oscars a year and nothing else. That would be kinda stupid.

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