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A belated reflection on the Oscars 2012

March 6, 2012

Billy Crystal's face is the metaphor for the evening: old Hollywood, frozen in time and preserved, and dragged out for the occasion.

Almost everything that can be said about the Oscars has already been said: it’s a self-loving and self-promoting occasion, designed to push the movies that need to make money for the Money Men. That said, it is crucial to recognise the sheer girly fun of picking on gowns and cringing when stars embarrass themselves (goodness knows there were lots of opportunities this year!). But what is disturbing, as always, is the quality of the films, and occasionally the performances nominated and rewarded.The Oscars have become synonymous with awarding untroubling mediocrity on an annual basis, which kinda dilutes the excitement value of the ceremony, let alone the point. No wonder viewer numbers are declining for this show: it’s out of touch And bad. Everything a major awards-fest should Not be. Duh.

Now This is a silent movie.

1) The Artist. Most often described by people I know as ‘sweet’ or ‘boring’, my main problem with this film is that it is artistically underwhelming (as well as in the other departments). I recently watched It happened one night’ with Claudette Colbert and Clarke Gable (not silent but beautifully lit and shot), and am passionately fond of the Garbo silents. Surely these classics deserve to be properly emulated?

What is the point of making or reinventing a silent picture, as an affectionate nod to the fabulous silent pictures and the Hollywood industry, when your film is flat and poorly filmed? And what about the acting was so deserving of nominations and a Best Actor win (a buffoon-like Jean Dujardin?)? Consider me flummoxed on this score. Homage is just Not a good enough excuse for a film to be recognised, or lauded.

2) Meryl Streep. I adore Meryl Streep, she’s humble, cool and hilarious. But Meryl Streep is a boring i.e. suprisingly predictable choice for Best Actress. She pretty much deserves the award every year; she needs her own ceremony, along with Helen Mirren. They can just have a drink together and giggle and be humble and give each other a gold statuette.

Its also boring to always give the award to actors playing Real People. Surely its harder to imbue a fictional, written character with depth and pathos and identifiability? Real people often get merely caricatured and imitated. Even if it is by utter professionals by Ms Streep. I say give someone else a chance. My vote would have gone for Viola Davis, of the stars nominated. She is always excellent, and even if The Help is kinda middle-brow and predictable, you cannot take her performance away from her.

3) Tilda Swinton et al. Why was she not nominated? Why did she not win? The woman is amazing – and just so … edgy. Aah, yes, that would be why. How can she possibly get chosen, nay even suggested, over Meryl Streep? The Brits seem to think this year’s Oscars were a giant conspiracy to ignore their actors and they may be right. Fassbender certainly deserved an award for Shame, screw it, for everything he’s ever done. And the Oscars love giving awards to previously overlooked actors in mediocre movies. So wasn’t it time for perenially ignored (but luckily apparently unaffected) Gary Oldman? He’s the ultimate Smiley in this game: grey, better than almost everyone else, unstarry. Actually, that disqualifies him for the Oscars. Its not about acting, its about being a better star than the others.

Basically the Oscars are terminally uncool. The comatoze 62-year old, male American voters need to get euthanazed (metaphorically speaking) and replaced with hip young blood; people with their finger on the pulse of who watches what; who values what; what’s actually good. Pronto. Because the public’s lethargy and growing irritation with these ceremonies will just end up with a quicker death for the big-screen picture industry. In a year where so many of these films/the cermony itself paid sentimental homage to the same concept: Old Hollywood – it would be a damn pity, and ironic, if it were to become a dead tradition.

You know things are bad when Angelina Jolie's leg is the most commented on and memorable moment of the ceremony


  1. Anonymous permalink

    You have totally nailed it. I must admit i havent bothered to watch the Oscars for the last couple of years = life is too short, but its is always “die selle ou storie ” leaving one feeling let down and irritated.

  2. I agree completely about “The Artist” For someone who loves silent movies, I went and had no idea what all the fuss was about. There were thousands of silent movies before sound, and many of them are so much better than this redux. Guess you can rack it up to Hollywood feeling nostalgic…about Hollywood.

  3. Love the Fanosphere!

    Thank you for your comments on “The Artist.”


    Sorry. I doze off every time I think about that movie…

    • Thanks Jim!

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