Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscars 2014: In The End, None of it Matters

Wolf of Wall Street was the most daring, most interesting, best acted,  movie of 2013.  Nothing will deter me from firmly believing that.  Catching Fire received marvelous reviews, but as usual crowd pleasing money makers are often ignored.  It was second on my list last year.

Third was Gravity, but as I have said, the margin of preference between the three is miniscule. 

No doubt that 12 Years A Slave is a good film.  Yes slavery, racism, and discrimination, are terrible and I know that as well if not better than any film maker who wants to hammer me over the head with that fact. I crusade against the terrible injustices of this world constantly.  But when you get down to it, wasn’t 12 Years really just Roots on Violent Steroids? 

How many times do we have to be hit over the head with the fact that slavery is bad, discrimination is bad, and racism is bad at the Oscars?  It seems to become an annual event and starting from that premise results in an automatic nomination, whether the quality of the film is deserving or not.  And after a while, the constant drumbeat waters down the message. 

Conservatives will never be convinced.  Red States continue to act like they won the Civil War and Lincoln never existed.  Everybody else already gets it and you’re preaching to the choir.  But just as they did by proclaiming Crash over Brokeback Mountain as the winner, voters again took the safe easy route and gave the Best Picture not to the best film, but again to what they deem the best film that is most relevant.  Don’t go out on a limb, Hollywood.

Pre-order the Blu-ray and DVD at Amazon.The real purpose of giving the Best Picture Award to a film topic  straight out of the let’s be topical safe zone was never more evident when they chose Alfonso Cuaron as best director,  gave Gravity six other awards, then turned around and ignored it  completely for the big enchilada. 

Sandra Bullock was way better in this film than she was in the one she won for The Blind Side.  It doesn't ad up, and for me the whole charade has become a crushing bore if not a yearly joke. Let’s give racism an award so we can ignore it the other 364 days of the year. 

And please let Cate Blanchett’s award be the end of Hollywood’s perpetual ass kissing of the pedophile known as Woody Allen.  Every defender of this miscreant that says there was no evidence of molestation can only make that statement when they completely ignore the findings at the custody hearing.  They conveniently get a memory lapse time after time after time as if the transcript and judge’s decision never existed at all.  As I said on my Facebook page, what Blanchett should have said was “I thank Woody Allen on behalf of all pedophiles everywhere that are under represented in Hollywood.”

And on top of that, he’s overrated as a director.  His movies are nothing more than a hodgepodge in which he caters to his own inner psychotic neurosis hoping to use Hollywood as his psychiatric treatment instead of paying for an analyst.

These are just a few of the many reasons why the Oscars shouldn't mean diddily squat to you or me.  People will still watch to gaze at the hoopla and celebrities, but they have become so stodgy and snobby that the influence they actually have is now minimal despite how many tune into see this mess.  I mean, it’s an event.  But so was the Super Bowl and it was a crushing bore this year as well. 

From the New Yorker:

With very few exceptions (most notably Christoph Waltz, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Murray, and the duo of Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel), the presenters seemed zombified, reading their cue cards with an engagement and an enthusiasm compared to which the nightly reports of an average weatherperson seem Brando-esque. And it’s not because they’re bad actors—on the contrary, some of my favorite contemporary performers were onstage distributing statues—but because the tone, set from on high, was petrified, in both senses. I don’t entirely blame Ellen DeGeneres for the course of the evening. I don’t know enough about the parcelling out of power backstage to know how guided or vetted she was by the producers—whether the writers were hers or imposed upon her. But, having accepted the job, she seems, at the very least, to have accepted the regulations, and she toed the line with a dutiful eagerness in a desperate cause; she worked hard to maintain a show of good cheer and good times while being denied the freewheeling disinhibition that goes with real comedy. It was mainly the undue exertions that came through.

The nadir was the pizza; the synthetic spontaneity of the non-event brought to mind Andy Kaufman, whose genius I miss all the time and whose ability to mesh the nostalgic bathos of a pizza party with the edge of chaos would have made him a formidable, historic Oscar host. And to top off the pizza’s unfunniness came DeGeneres’s passing of the hat to pay for it, about which Emily Gould aptly tweeted, “amounts of money that are consequential to most people mean nothing to us, they are literally a joke! ha ha ha.”

In a brief interview in the backstage shadows, after the red carpet and before the main event, one of the two producers of the festivities (I can’t remember whether it was Craig Zadan or Neil Meron) likened the show to tightrope walking and called himself a good tightrope walker. So he may be, but this event was all net; it started in the safety zone and never got aloft……….

……………..There are the movies, and that’s where the far end of the bell curve is served. The fact that the best movies went home empty-handed—“The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Nebraska”—is beside the point. If my own internal audio-meter is to be trusted, two of the biggest rounds of applause and cheers of the night went to Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, for their performances in Martin Scorsese’s movie. Taking nothing away from the honorable but conventional performances by McConaughey and Leto, the house of peers seemed to know where the magic lay.

That its magicians were even on hand for the festivities, watching others collect statues, is itself a source of wonder. The movie has already passed into the future history of the cinema, and it will be watched with admiration and astonishment when the petty personality politics of the ceremony have passed into welcome oblivion. In the meantime, bring on the four-hour director’s cut of “Wolf” (and may it have a little theatrical run to coincide with the DVD release).

And if you want a list of the winners, here they are.


  1. I have nothing to disagree with you. Make sure you see Nebraska when you get a chance. It's a little gem.