Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Post-Season Oscar Post

So I balked tradition, and didn't set out to write up a witty, glib accounting of the ceremonies this year.

Actually that's not true, I set out to write it.  It just never materialized for me.

I think this is because while I enjoyed having my friends over, making food, and commenting on the show--this year's awards fell a little flat with me.  I had such high hopes and expectations.  I really enjoyed watching the films this year.  There were so many incredible movies, and so much potential for great cinema.  Even though I had a pretty clear idea of the winner going in--it didn't diminish the fine films I had the privilege to watch.  So maybe that should have been enough for me.

But the Oscars are as much about great film as they are about show.  And this year's show fell horribly flat.  First of all were the hosts--what was the Academy thinking?  James Franco and Anne Hathaway are fine on their own, but together they are a total mismatch.  I get that they were trying to appeal to a younger audience, but why not then someone like Seth Rogen?  Someone with actual stage presence!  Don't get me wrong, I love James Franco, and I think he is an incredible actor.  But host?  Stand up comedian?  Not so much.

I am seriously interested in what drugs Franco took before the show.  He looked like Anne Hathaway's marionette/ventriloquist dummy.  It was just embarrassing.

And poor Anne Hathaway.  I think, starting to realize the show was going south, she amped up the perky vibe so much it felt like she was reenacting her own version of Little Orphan Annie.  As annoying as she was to watch, I sympathized with her; she basically had the carry the show on her own.  But did she have to be so cloyingly desperate?

Didn't they rehearse at all?  Didn't someone see a train wreck in the making?  But more than the hosts, I found my biggest disappointment lay in what no one could control.  The complete lack of drama.

Everyone looked very...nice.  No one wore a stuffed swan doll as a dress (but I really had my hopes on Helena Bonham Carter).  Oh, there were a few missteps here and and there but nothing glaring.  Nothing garish.  No risks, no flair, no drama.

None of the actors/producers/writers/directors gave a wildly inappropriate speech.  No one had to be dragged away from the podium, clutching their statuette and gesticulating.  I found the whole thing exhaustingly boring.  Wake up, Hollywood!  Are we so jaded that even this most fascinating and historically outrageous of award ceremonies can fail in such a spectacularly boring way?

Which is why I sat back for awhile dreading having to write this post.  Or write at all.  But in the end I think I lost my perspective along with everyone else.  If they were going to toss 80 years of history down the drain then what was I doing here?  After a month of brooding, however, I watched a short show on ABC chronically the top categories of fan favorite movies.  Best Musical--The Sound of Music.  Best Action Hero--Indiana Jones.  And I started to remember why I loved movies so much in the first place.  It's because like a good book, a good film can reach down inside you and make you thrill to dream the impossible.

I'm getting maudlin, I know.  I try not write in sappy moods; it turns my writing into "dear diary" entries.  But there is something wonderful in the discovery of cinema that can rock your world and make you view it differently.  So I'm grateful I got to watch all those films for this year's Awards.  And I'm glad that I'm going to keep on keeping on.....