So here's the thing:
While Billy Crystal was a much, much, much more enjoyable host than last years' grating duo, this year's Oscar theme was.....boring.....
Outfits? Okay. Everyone looked beautiful, but aside from JLO's boobs popping all over the place (which I don't count as very unusual), no one wore anything too crazy. Even this year's worst dressed really weren't that bad! No one gave any crazy acceptance speeches, there was no heckling from the audience, and the host wasn't too cruel (here's looking at you, Ricky Gervais). I almost wished Ricky had hosted. At least then something would have happened!!
And the movies this year! While I loved some of them, they were definitely a motley group. The Artist was destined to blow them all away. It was the only movie I was fully behind. Tree of Life may be a cinematic achievement, but The Artist is and should be a fan favorite.
Favorite Dress? Maybe it's just because I love her, but Emma Stone looked amazing in a red Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown. Appropriate, beautiful, and a great color for her. She was also really funny when she presented. Go Emma!
Favorite acceptance speech goes to Octavia Spence from The Help who thanked the academy for putting her up there with the hottest guy in the room. Christian Bale...yummm...don't care that you're crazy.
Biggest upset was when Meryl Streep beat out Viola Davis for Best Actress. I mean I know she's Meryl Streep, but Viola Davis was robbed. She was the best thing about The Help and I think her chance won't come again.
Funniest moment goes to Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrel, with the ridiculous cymbol thing. Well played. It's silly, but I totally giggled.
All in all, while I'm happy for The Artist, come on America is this the best we can do? We need to step it up. Which brings me into this year's Oscar theme: nostalgia.
Each film is filled with the desire to leave the current time and enter another, most particularly in reference to children. Midnight in Paris is the perfect example. The main character desires to live in the 1920s, only to discover that those during that time wish to live in the time before. Tree of Life is a flashback to a man's childhood while The Artist is an homage to a different era while its main character comes to grips with the changing times. The Descendants has George Clooney grappling with both his progeny and his ancestors, while Moneyball has Brad Pitt fighting the ways of the old baseball system, yet being tied by love for his daughter. Both Hugo and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are about the loss of innocence, and young boys trying to regain a beloved father and a time when things were better. And War Horse is about war destroying a happier time. War Horse is a bit of a stretch--but really, so was the nomination.
I'm not sure what this means for our country as a whole. Even though the economy seems to be rebounding, do we still look back at a supposedly better time? Will we find, as many of these characters do, that the better time they remembered didn't really exist? Children seem to be at the base of most of these stories, and are secretly the most powerful. Perhaps the current generation fears and respects the younger one?
These are just conjectures. If I wanted to go on, I could ask why the best film here was one by a foreign country and an entirely different society. If anything, these films are largely confused. They lack the vision of last year's group. Perhaps that says more about our society than anything else.
This year, both cinematically and visually, the awards were a bit of a dud. Better luck next year?