Oscars in Review: There Were Reasons to Love and Reasons to Hate

February 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

I have been a fan of the Academy Awards since I was a little kid, rooting for those that I wanted to win and against the pretentious ones that I wanted to lose.  I held the Oscars in high regard and figured that this was the only way that they would get the recognition that they deserved.

And then I grew up.

The older I get, the more jaded I get towards the ceremony and the easier it is to recognize how smug and awful most of the night is.  For one actor to stand on stage and to praise other actors by describing their work as “breath-taking” or “heroic” is a slap in the face of the english language.  Did you really watch The Help and gasp and go “Oh my GOD!  This acting is AMAZING!” as you tried to regain the ability to breathe?

I’m not taking anything away from the fact that there are good actors and bad actors.  That there are good actors and great actors.  And that there are people that are so on top of the game, that I watch certain movies just for the acting.  But the same can be said about any field.  There are amazing doctors.  Amazing dentists.  Hell, there are people out there that can manage the shit out of a TGI Fridays but we don’t go around acting like they re-shaped the wheel into a more efficient design.

They’re just actors.  They’re given a script and direction and they’re told what to say, and some of them say it perfectly and so we nominate them for awards.  Which is all fine and good, but can’t we just say “Hey, Meryl.  Nice work.  That was pretty cool what you did there.  I didn’t see it, but from that 30-second clip, I’d say you probably did pretty good.  It didn’t change anyone’s life, but you were asked to do a job and you got paid for it and now you might even get an award.  Congrats.”

If we’re praising anyone for making a movie, then let’s do the honorable thing at least and rank directors and writers ahead of actors.  Let’s also give props to the editors and special effects and sound people that make an actors performance worth watching in the first place.

With that, this years ceremony did have some highlights that made me happy to watch the Oscars this year.  Surprises (and I don’t mean Meryl) that make me think that there’s hope for the awards show in the future.

And then there was a whole lot of shitty ass-kissing.  Here’s what I liked and what I didn’t:

Loved – Nat Faxon and Jim Rash win Best Adapted Screenplay (with Alexander Payne)

Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw “the guy from Beerfest and Club Dread” not only on the Oscars telecast, but walking up to accept an award!  What the fuck?  I didn’t know he was a writer!

Then when standing on stage, I look over to the right and HOLY SHIT IT’S DEAN PELTON!

I didn’t know he was a writer either!

A little digging shows that Faxon and Rash previously co-wrote the 2005 TV movie “Adopted” and then six years later they team up with Payne to co-write and adapt the novel for The Descendants into an Academy Award-winning screenplay.

That’s the kind of story that makes all aspiring writers hopeful that work hard can eventually have a happy ending.

Now stop threatening to cancel Community, NBC.

Hated – The opening 10 minutes

It’s very hard for any comedian to be funny and edgy and on the forefront of “what’s funny” very late into his or her life.  Billy Crystal is no exception.  If you wanted “funny” during the Oscars or an example of someone who has been funny for 30 years, you should have followed @normmacdonald during the telecast.

Hey, let’s have a kiss between Clooney and Crystal!  Hey, let’s throw in Justin Bieber!  YEAH, BIEBER FEVER, LOL!  How about Crystal in black face doing his Sammy impression?!  Yeah, that’s still gonna be good!

No, no.  None of it was good.  Then Billy came out, told a couple “jokes”, did a regrettable music number because “it was expected of him!” and then we could finally start giving out awards.  Everyone wake up, we’re giving out the awards now, we promise!

Which awards?

Not the good ones.

Oh, okay.  :(

Loved – Bret McKenzie, It’s Hard Out Here for a Conchord

Okay, the category of Best Song is so outdated that they only had two nominees but it’s still cool to see half of Flight of the Conchords win an Oscar.  A few years ago they were known to nobody in America.  And then they were known to a few people.  Now, Bret’s got an actual Oscar.

With Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy nominated for awards, McKenzie, Rash and Faxon as winners, there’s more and more hope that comedies will get more proper due at the Oscars.

Worst Presenter Skit of the Night – Robert Downey Jr in “The Presenter” documentary.

Every time something good happened, it seemed like producer Brian Grazer wanted something awkward to happen.

Hey, let’s take a cocky actor and have him be over-the-top cocky as a guy that’s documenting his life as a famous presenter and then have a camera crew film him going up to the mic to present an award for best documentary and mock the whole idea of making a documentary in the first place!

And throw in Gwyneth Paltrow because as an actress with little comedic background she’ll know exactly how to play off of it.  It won’t be awkward at all!

Best Presenter Skit of the Night – Zach Galifinakis and Will Ferrell

There wasn’t much to choose from.  Chris Rock was great, too.

Loved to See Win – Ehhh

I actually thought it was neat that Streep won for the first time in 30 years.  I thought it was cool that Christopher Plummer became the oldest winner.  Though is it fair that Plummer can win for playing a gay man but Tom Cruise gets nothing for always playing a straight man?

I had almost no rooting interest in anything this year.  Drive wasn’t nominated.  The rest of the movies were whatever.  I have not seen many of them and have no interest in seeing most of them.

It was a bad year for “Oscar” movies in 2011, and we can only hope that we’ve got some better choices for next years Oscars.

And a host that’s been funny in this century.

Hated – “Go to the Movies!”

Throughout the night, the ongoing theme was “Isn’t it great to go to the movies?” with montages of famous people talking about what inspired them to become actors or directors and there experiences of going to the movies and being inspired by the magic of film.  It continued throughout, including Tom Cruise presenting the award for Best Picture by again explaining how great it is to see a movie in the theater with a crowd of people and enjoying each and every frame of picture and sound.

Sure, some movies have to be seen in the theater.  If you saw Avatar in a 2D television, then you saw a really shitty movie.  If you saw Avatar on the big screen in 3D, then you saw a really shitty movie that had some amazing special effects.  However, I’m remiss to think of how that compares to seeing Moneyball on the big screen or enjoying The Help with a hundreds of strangers.

No, seeing those at home is just as good if not better and a hell of a whole lot cheaper.

Look, we get it.  You’ve just bought a Jacuzzi for your dog and installed it on the roof of your summer home in the Hamptons, and now you’re worried that your latest movie will only make $75 million.  So, Hollyweird bands together on Oscar night and tells millions of people that they need to go see your latest 3D remake or Queen Elizabeth (your dog) won’t have a place to relax when your cokin’ it up with your fellow millionaire actors this July.

But you aren’t really making it worth it to me, and your plea is falling on deaf ears.

Here’s a deal: Make better movies and make better deals with theaters so that it doesn’t cost me $40 dollars to take a date to go see Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and I’ll go see more movies.  For now, I’ll stick to Netflix and On Demand.

Oh, and when you do make a great movie, let’s say… Drive… then nominate the shit out of that bitch.  Otherwise, I’ll stop watching the telecast that begs me to go see more movies, too.  And hire Louis C.K. or Steve Carrell to host.

Follow me on Twitter @Casetines

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