Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

Oscars 2013: The Year of the Shrug

Posted by CinemaPsycho on February 25, 2013

Maybe it’s just me, but does it seem to anyone else like no one really cared about the Oscars this year? Am I the only one who got that impression? Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick lately and I’ve been preoccupied with that, so I haven’t been paying the kind of attention that I normally would be. But usually it seems like there’s months and months of Oscar hype before the event, and this year I didn’t see much of that. Even on the internet. Maybe I just didn’t go to the right places. I didn’t see much argument or discussion about it, except for the usual “the whole thing is bullshit” ranting from certain corners. I don’t know, maybe I was the only one who paid attention all along and I never realized it until now. Hey, guess what, your life is a Twilight Zone episode. Didn’t you know?

Seriously though, people can argue about the importance and relevance of the Oscars until kingdom come, but the bottom line is, Hollywood is a business. Without the Oscars, they have no motivation to focus on quality. Period. Without these awards, mainstream filmmaking becomes all about money and making drivel for the lowest common denominator. It becomes about making crap like Battleship and nothing but crap like Battleship. Maybe there’s some idiot out there who wants that, but I don’t. That’s what matters, not who wins and who loses. It’s the big picture that matters. Maybe people like Ethan Hawke don’t understand that, but some of us do.

Oscars-2013-Wallpaper.jpgAs for last night’s show… ugh. I find no fault whatsoever with the winners, and I sincerely congratulate them all. I was particularly happy to see Jennifer Lawrence and Christoph Waltz win, as they gave two of my personal favorite performances of the year. Lawrence seemed incredibly shocked to have won, and I think she was the only person on Earth who didn’t know she was going to win. Anyone who thinks she didn’t earn it with that performance can go fuck themselves, as far as I’m concerned. Ang Lee winning Best Director was a nice surprise. While Life of Pi didn’t make my Top 10, I did like the film and I thought it was very well directed. I am an Ang Lee fan in general (going way back), so it was nice to see him recognized. I still haven’t seen Les Miserables, but everyone seems unanimous that Anne Hathaway is fantastic in the film (whatever its faults may be), so I can’t argue with that one. I wasn’t a huge fan of Lincoln as a film, but I can’t argue that Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance wasn’t great, nor would I be foolish enough to attempt to do so. Not me, brother.

The show itself, however, I thought was a giant disaster from start to finish. It’s almost like they were trying to do the worst possible show they could, full of gaffes and mistakes and really bad jokes. It made me nostalgic for Whoopi Goldberg as host. I thought from the beginning that Seth McFarlane was a terrible choice for host, and last night sadly confirmed it. I don’t hate the guy (though I don’t like his shows), he seems smart and funny in interviews, but his sense of humor was all wrong for the Oscars. The Academy Awards are supposed to be a classy event. The classiest. McFarlane crossed the bad-taste line early on and never looked back. The Oscars are not the place for comedy routines you can research on Mr. Skin. And the whole “we did it, but we didn’t really do it” thing is a bullshit cop-out. The Lincoln joke had to be the all-time low point in the history of the Oscars. And yes, I saw the Rob Lowe/Snow White dance number. Just awful. What’s in store for us next year Seth, dead baby jokes? Oh right, there’s not going to be a next year for you.

What bothers me most about the show is how little attention was paid to what they’re supposed to be they’re for – the movies. Remember them? “We’re celebrating music this year” – WHY?? If you want to celebrate music, watch the Grammys. This is supposed to be an event that celebrates movies. What happened to that? Why was so little of the show spent celebrating the year’s best movies and the people who made them? Why do we need so many useless songs and musical numbers? I’ve really grown to despise the whole “red carpet fashion show” aspect of the pre-show. It’s useless and idiotic. If they would actually do it in a way that’s glamorous and cool, that would be different. But no, they do it in the most visually drab and boring way possible. I can’t imagine anyone sitting at home going, “wow, Amanda Seyfried looks really fucking hot in that dress!” Even if she does. Because they shoot it in the most boring possible way. Why can’t they actually get some photographers on the red carpet who know how to shoot these people properly? Just walking up to them and saying, “what are you wearing?” is boring and stupid. Nobody cares what they’re wearing, it’s what they look like that matters, you nimrods.

But what I really, really hate the most is when they play people off before they finish their speeches. They did that last night to Bill Westenhofer, Life of Pi’s Visual Effects Supervisor, after he spoke for a whole 43 seconds. I’m sorry, that’s fucking bullshit. The whole point of the show is to celebrate these people and the work they have done. This is THEIR NIGHT. This is THEIR MOMENT. Let them finish their speeches, you apes. Give them a goddamn minute.

I don’t really care that the show goes long. I just wish they would focus on what matters, or at least what’s supposed to matter about this event. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: if you really want to fix the Oscars, here’s what you do. Hire a host with class who gives a shit about movies. Then start the show at 8:00. An hour is long enough for the fashion show. Do the opening monologue and dance number at 8:00. Then spend the rest of the show focusing on what matters – the nominations, the awards, the MOVIES. Give the winners 3 minutes each to speak. Only do songs and musical numbers that relate to this year’s nominated movies. Get the presenters to actually rehearse. Then you’ll finish by 11:30 and everybody’s happy.

And for God’s sake, remember, the show is about the MOVIES. Nothing else. Forget that at your peril.

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