Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Oscars Are My Super Bowl



This is actually my 4th Annual "The Oscars are my Superbowl." I would post these on Facebook within the week after the Oscars take place. Since I have this new platform I figured I'd start posting them here as well.

I LOVE the Oscars. They’re my Super Bowl!!! I've been watching the Oscars religiously since 1995 when "Forrest Gump" won for best picture of 1994. I HAD to watch it because a movie I saw in the theater (Forrest Gump) was up for best picture. I felt like I was in the know, in the "in crowd" because I had seen it in the theater and the highly respected group of film experts known as The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) thought it was one of the best. Before then I would only watch them casually when my parents had them on. I remember parts of watching the "Schindler's List" and "Silence of the Lambs" years and remember vividly the "Dances with Wolves" year.

Check out my Thoughts on the 84th Academy Awards After the jump.

This year my local multiplex (Savoy 16) played them on the big screen. I found it’s the best way to watch them. Plus they held Oscar trivia during the four commercial breaks! I lost the first question to a faster raised hand, Won the next two rounds, and due to a lame final round prize and not wanting to take home all the loot I gave the final win to a lady behind me. If they hold the Oscars again next year I’ll definitely be attending - that is if I’m not attending the real thing.

My Thoughts on the 84th Annual Academy Awards:

In last years “The Oscars are My Superbowl” I wrote, “Bring back Billy!”. They did! I have to assume the AMPAS read my article, and agreed. He was a fine and reliable choice. The theme was “The Magic of the Movies.” Could have just as easily been “A Night at The Movies.” I loved the theater ushers (whose outfits resembled those of the fashion models from Don’t tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead) walking the isles serving popcorn to the crowd of celebrities.

In classic Billy Crystal style, the ceremony opened with him traveling though the nominated movies of the year. It wasn’t necessarily his best opening spoof but it had its moments, especially the Justin Bieber segment. It let us know that (at least for this go around) they are over trying to reach younger demographics. They’re never going to be the Superbowl in terms of ratings, pulling viewers in droves. The Oscars are who they are and they’re again coming to terms with their identity in the television world. And thank goodness for that! We didn’t need another attempt to be “young and hip” like last year.

Billy then went into a song about all the best picture nominees, something we expect from him. It was fine. Not his best. Still, I’m glad he continues to do them.

The talking head segments, where actors talked about the power of movies, were moving. Each one had me teary eyed. The Christopher Guest crew had an entertaining skit on focus groups, where they provided their likes and dislikes of an early cut of The Wizard of Oz. The Muppets skit was sadly forgettable. I get Kermit and Miss Piggy are the faces of The Muppets, but they really should have utilized Statler and Waldorf. They are the kings of the balcony. Plus some easy ‘The Academy is old and out of touch’ jokes could have come out of it. I’m not sure how the Cirque Du Soliel segment looked to everyone who watched it on a television, but I have to say, on the big screen it looked amazing.

Once it started, I thought the In Memoriam was going to be the greatest one we’ve had in years. They had a great singer, enchanting background singers, and a well-chosen song. But then they started a slide show of black and white photographs of those who had passed in the industry over the 2011 year. That was a major mistake. We’re celebrating the lives of people who worked in the movies. SHOW MOVIE CLIPS! Plus, being crass, did anyone else feel like no one cool died this year? I counted maybe 4 people that the general public would recognize. Plus they were missing Bubba Smith and Jeff Conaway! What's with that?! For a ceremony that brought me to tears multiple times, this segment gave me zero sentiment. They had me with the music, lost me with the power point.

Thoughts on Presenters, Winners, and Speeches:

Short Film Categories - The “Bridesmaids” cast brought the laughs while presenting these categories. Everything from dick jokes to drinking games continued from the Golden Globes.

Best Visual Effects - Emma Stone and Ben Stiller knocked the presenting of the awards out of the park. I feel the award should have gone to “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” - the only movie nominated in the category to actually push visual effects to new heights.

Best Original Song - Thumbs up for The Muppets! Bret McKenzie thanking his parents for never telling him to get a real job was one of my favorite lines in a speech. I would have liked to see a couple other songs from “The Muppets” and “Star Spangled Man” from “Captain America” nominated in this category.

Film Editing - I liked how Wall and Baxter, editors for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” had no inclination that they would win this award. They got on stage, mumbled a bit, realized they had nothing really to add, then one of them said, “let’s get out of here” and they walked off the stage. Hilarious stuff!

Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer won for “The Help”. The “wrap it up” warning interrupted what started out to be the most moving speech of the night. I really hate that.

Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer won for “Beginners”, I’d also say he won for best speech. Nice work Captain!

Best Actress - Poor Viola Davis. I really hope she gets another shot at this. I think since her role was more of a co-lead with Emma Stone, the Academy decided to give it to Streep who carried an entire film on her own and did it well, regardless of how forgettable the movie is. Congrats to Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady”.

Best Picture - Before the show even started I knew "The Artist" was going to win. Still, I was rooting for "Midnight in Paris". I must say though, this ceremony really sold all of their nominations and by the end of the show I was ecstatic for "The Artist".

In a Nutshell:

Stick with Billy. Let him shake some of the rust and dust off and bring him back next year.

How amazing did Jessica Chastain look?! Am I right? I wanna slap a ring on that girl.

I think the Academy still needs to get a little more adventurous with their nominations. I guess it could be said that a silent black and white film winning is really ballsy and adventurous for the Academy, which is true. Same goes for the Tree of Life best picture nomination. I have to tip my hat to them for that one. But overall this years best picture line-up was way too mild. Especially considering movies like “Melancholia,” “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” and “Drive” exist out in the world.

Nominations, If It Were Up To Me:

Best Picture
The Artist
Drive
The Guard
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I
Hugo
Melancholia*
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Young Adult

Best Actor
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Mel Gibson – The Beaver
Brendan Gleeson – the Guard
Ryan Gosling – Drive
Michael Shannon – Take Shelter*

Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender – X-Men: First Class*
Riley Griffiths – Super 8
John Goodman – Red State
Patton Oswalt – Young Adult
Michael Sheen – Midnight in Paris

Best Actress
Charlize Theron – Young Adult*
Meryl Streep – Iron Lady
Rooney Mara – Dragon Tattoo
Viola Davis – The Help
Glen Close - Albert Nobbs

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo – The Artist
Jessica Chastain – The Help*
Elle Fanning – Super 8
Carey Mulligan - Shame
Charlotte Gainsboug – Melancholia

Honorary Award
Andy Serkis

Honorary Award in grateful recognition for his outstanding contribution to performance capture acting, which in turn revolutionized the industry and pushed forward the advancement and possibilities in acting.