Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Reactions

Javi: Well the big day has come and gone. The Oscars are over, and now studios can go back to releasing movies that AREN'T about British people from the past with middling problems. It almost makes me look forward to the ridiculous summer movies coming up. Anyway, just a few thoughts about the show and then the winners and losers of the night.

First, the show. Apparently, a lot of the Internet hated the show, and they blame a lot of it on James Franco. He was tweeting, texting, and seemed overall distracted by the whole "hosting" thing. What's funny is that what people thought to be robotic and apathetic, I found to be part of his rather stoned composure. Then again, that's why I got so annoyed with Anne Hathaway's high school cheerleader act; she seemed to be trying to make up for Franco's attitude, but it got tiring so quickly for me. At first, the enthusiasm was slightly endearing, you could tell the young hosts were pretty excited to be in the presence of all of the invited stars of Hollywood, but by the time we saw that atrocious auto-tune number and Anne Hathaway seemed to be more amused about her dresses and being peppy, I was turned off by the whole affair. I get the reasons why people were turned off by James Franco's act, but I can't help but feel that maybe he was mimicking the way most of us actually feel about the Oscars and their "celebration" of film. I will say, this year was an experiment that failed, but please don't bring back someone safe like Billy Crystal.

Now, let's talk the actual awards. The big surprise for me was that there was no one movie that won a lot of awards. THE KING'S SPEECH and INCEPTION won four awards each, followed by THE SOCIAL NETWORK. It seems to speak volumes to me that there weren't any big sweepers this year. The Academy apparently couldn't decide between awarding originality or just going with the same old stuff. This trend started early in the night with Melissa Leo winning for THE FIGHTER. I am not knocking down her performance, but it would still have been amazing to see young Hailee Steinfeld win for TRUE GRIT. The fact that INSIDE JOB won over EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP continued the predictable trend for the evening, and it almost felt that the Academy did not want to deal with Banksy's antics. I will complete go all Armond White on Jonesy here and say the Auto Tune scenes from the movies would've been cool. A year ago. Just saying guys if that Home Intruder song hadnt been so big, it would've felt more relevant.

The big surprises of the night for me were the trophies for ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE WOLFMAN, and a non-Pixar animated short winning (THE LOST THING.) With the Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting categories all being very obvious to everyone involved, the end of the night really came down to THE KING'S SPEECH and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. By snubbing David Fincher and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, the Academy has shown that progressive and original film making has no place in their ranks. I think that Spielberg said it best when he mentioned CITIZEN KANE, ET, and STAR WARS among movies that did not win Best Picture Oscars, right before announcing THE KING'S SPEECH as the Best Picture. A little passive aggressive, but it speaks volumes. With this, I leave you all with a very thought provoking article by Drew McWeeny. I'll be taking his advice next year. Although it's still kind of cool to say that I'm listening to Oscar winner Trent Reznor's Pretty Hate Machine from now on.

Jonesy: I remember when the Oscars use to be unpredictable. It was always up in the air who would walk out with a trophy. In the past few years, the Oscars seem to have taken a turn for the, well... boring. There never seem to be any upsets, you can always tell when it's a very political year (i.e. the Denzel Washinton and Halle Berry year), and they seem to never recognize anything truly new or innovative. It's all about the sweeping epics or personal dramas.

This "boring" trend is also apparent with the recent choice of hosts. Now, I understand the academy is trying to draw in young crowd with Hathaway and Franco hosting, but something just seemed off last night. The opening montage was a lot of fun, but once they got onstage, it seemed very lackluster. Franco didn't seem interested at all, and maybe he wasn't. So, Hathaway overcompensated with being overly bubbly, and in turn they didn't mesh well. Is that what the academy thinks young people relate to? Bubbliness or disinterested-ness?

The part I did enjoy the most was the short auto-tunes section. Then again, any chance to get Harry Potter more screen time makes me happy.

As for the awards themselves, I echo my cohort that I'm surprised no movie swept the awards. The academy appeared to spread the awards around. I was very proud of INCEPTION taking home four awards for all their amazing technical achievements. The acting awards, again, were predictable and boring. I was shocked that David Fincher was snubbed for Director. I figured he would win Director with THE KING'S SPEECH taking home Picture, that way both movies would get a taste of the big awards. However, when Tom Hopper's name was called, then I had, for a moment, a fleeting hope that THE SOCIAL NETWORK would take home Picture. However, then the academy went back to their old ways of giving the Director and Picture to the same movie. Again, boring.

Also, I remember when ALICE IN WONDERLAND came out last year, and I do not remember people loving really anything about that movie. Why in the world does the academy love it so much?? That was very surprising too.

I've read a lot of people giving the Academy crap because they don't recognize the truly great movies that come out, and that they seem to be getting more and more predictable. However, they do, somewhat, listen to outcry from the community. When THE DARK KNIGHT wasn't nominated, there was an uproar, and what happened? The next year we had ten best picture nominees. There are always going to be movies which should have won. Just like Speilberg stated at the awards shows, THE SOCIAL NETWORK will now join the ranks of STAR WARS and CITIZEN KANE, the latter considered the be THE best movie of all time. If we want the awards to be fun and unpredictable again, then we have to do what we're doing now. Writing about it and getting our opinions out there. Because like THE SOCIAL NETWORK says, the Internet is written in ink.

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