Lara’s Post-Oscar musings

28 Feb

The Oscars were last night. Of course, if you’re between the ages of 15-28, you already know that because this year Young People hosted and used The Twitter and Other Internet Devices resulting in you Caring Now. Or at least that’s what the Academy thinks. Obviously, Tom Sherak should have asked me to run the show (or at least for my insightful opinion on it), for not only am I as big of an Oscar Show fan as you can find, I am also a hip youth. Or so they tell me. So, without further ado, movie montage, drumroll, spotlight, and Lara’s Opinion on this Year’s Academy Awards.

THE CEREMONY

As we were constantly reminded throughout the night, this year was aimed at a younger demographic. This has been the case the last couple of years, but 2011 played it up even more than the prior ceremonies. This meant young hosts, auto-tuning, young presenters, Youtube sensations, tweeting, and less movie montages. While some of it was successful (I must admit I found the auto-tuned clips to be quite humorous), the focus on the Next Generation meant that a lot of the Hollywood glamour was lost. Where were the Denzels? The Julias? The Meryls? I missed the Actual Comedian hosting, pointing at the stars and riffing. The most natural part of the evening was when Billy Crystal made an appearance. He was hilarious. The audience was suddenly at ease, because they knew they were going to be entertained; having Billy on stage just feels natural. And it really wasn’t until he got up there that I realized how dissatisfied I was with the hosts of the evening. Anne Hathaway was trying a bit too hard and James Franco was too cool for school. They didn’t do a horrible job, I thought some of the things they said were funny, but it’s just not the same as having a comedian host. Please, Mr. Sherak, next year have Steve Martin or Billy Crystal or Ellen Degeneres present. I’m a young person and that’s what I want.

James and Anne (note: under 35)

Where was I? Oh yeah, Billy. The only problem with his time on stage, besides the fact that it was only for five minutes, is that the heart of his address was on The Olden Days. This brings me to one of my main qualms with the evening: the tension of the “new way” and “how it used to be.” Akin to a wife constantly telling her new husband how young and wonderful he is, while simultaneously and incessantly mentioning the manner in which her dead husband used to do things. It was just plain awkward. If you’re going to freshen things up, go all the way and freshen them. Either effectually keep the traditions alive or drop them completely. You know how you can have the best of both worlds? Reminding people via MOVIE MONTAGES! Everyone (most of all me) loves movie montages. Especially when they are scored live by John Williams. You know what people don’t love? Hearing a fact or two about an old movie that is then projected onto the back of the stage. What does that accomplish? Is that what the academy think young people want? And why does THAT matter?! Do they really think an 18-year-old boy was sitting around, wondering how to spend his time, found out that Anne Hathaway was hosting the Oscars and decided to tune in? I highly doubt it. Anyway, what’s so great about young people?!

Ok. Rant over. This year’s ceremony was fun. I enjoyed it for the most part. However, I needn’t have stressed out so much about finding a VHS tape to record it (nor was it necessary to get laughed at by the Conn’s employee) because I don’t see myself re-watching it over and over as I have done with Oscars past.

The Swan and the Dude

THE AWARDS

This year I did worse on my ballot than I have in a long time. I got a pathetic 14 out of 24 right. Sure, I got most of the “major” categories right; actor, actress, supporting actor, (I was wrong on supporting actress, I thought Melissa Leo’s self-made ads would be her Golden Death), screenplays, director, and Best Picture. I was wrong, however, on a lot of technical achievements due to my belief that, generally and unjustly, whatever wins Best Picture wins in just about every other category for which it is nominated. Though it brought down my ballot score, I was pleasantly surprised that The King’s Speech didn’t sweep. Suitably, Inception won technical awards, Alice in Wonderland won for artistry, and The Social Network took home gold for editing and score.

I watched 9 out of the 10 Best Picture nominees this year, and I really loved every one of them. Black Swan was brilliant and intense (see review). The Fighter was really well-acted and much better than the sport film nominee of last year (The Blindside—I still can’t get over it!) Inception is everything I could hope for in a movie. The Kids Are All Right was genuine and clever. The King’s Speech was inspirational in the simplest, most British way possible. The Social Network was not a movie about Facebook, but a great story about friendship and the inner-workings of an empire. Toy Story 3 was the perfect close to a trilogy. True Grit was Coen-gold. Winter’s Bone was [unscreened]. Due to some cheesiness, 127 Hours was my least favorite of the choices, but I still would have been satisfied (albeit it surprised) if it had taken home any Oscars.

Pretty much everyone knew The King’s Speech was going to win Best Picture. That’s because it,

A)   Is really good

B)   Received accolades from many other film awards ceremonies

C)   Makes you feel good about humankind.

I have a theory that The Academy has a Best Picture pendulum that swings from depressing to uplifting films. Of course, there are occasional cases where my theory doesn’t ring true, but look at the last few years:

2002: A Beautiful Mind – Uplifting

2003: Chicago – Depressing (this can be debated, but it’s a movie about completely selfish people getting away with anything they want, so I find it depressing)

2004: Return of the King – Uplifting

2005: Million Dollar Baby – Depressing

2006: Crash – Uplifting (though depressing that it won)

2007: The Departed – Depressing

2008: No Country for Old Men – Depressing (and obviously that’s where my every other year theory breaks down)

2009: Slumdog Millionaire – Uplifting

2010: The Hurt Locker – Depressing

So you can see why I was even more convinced that The King’s Speech would take home the gold. And why I am brilliant.

Well, there is so much more to comment on, like the redundant introduction of introducers, the continued lack of recognition for Sam Rockwell, Jesse Eisenberg’s obvious hatred towards Facebook jokes, Nolan and Leonardo’s nomination snubs, the overall decline in ceremony brilliance… but I will stop now so that I’m not still writing about it when next year’s nominations come out .

I hope you had a happy Oscar night and are preparing yourself for a dismal Best Picture winner next year which will be presented, of course, by Miley Cyrus,

Lara

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