Just like last year, I’m setting this up so I can comment throughout the evening on the trainwreck (in my book) that is the year’s Oscars. Feel free to comment throughout, but remember, if you’re going to swear, let me know so I can clear your post.
Is anyone here really involved in this year’s competition? I confess I really have very little interest in most of the outcomes — and in fact (as I mentioned Friday afternoon on Jeff Messer’s radio show), I’m really rooting for things not to win in most cases. We shall see…
And indeed we did see — over a very long evening that offered some surprises, but not enough and not all of them were pleasant. I suppose I should feel all validated since I pegged Spotlight as probable Best Picture the morning we had the press screening. I think it was he best choice out of the nominated movies, but I much preferred Youth, The Hateful Eight, Clouds of Sils Maria, and Trumbo, but none of those were up. I’m still not sold on the idea that the Best Picture wasn’t also the best directed. It’s not like Spotlight made itself. Surely, Academy voters know that, but, hey they voted that awful song from SPECTRE as the year’s best…and don’t get me started on Room even being nominated for anything.
I’m sorry to see that the ratings were once again lower. Mostly, I’m sorry because they’ll blame Chris Rock, who is not, I think, the problem. In fact, I think Rock is the best thing to happen to the Oscars. The problem lies in a jaded moviegoing public that thinks it knows too much and is drowning in a sea of online information. By the time the Oscars get here, we’ve had a constant flow of awards for two months — Golden Globes, SAG, WGA, PGA, DGA, critics groups, individual critic lists, and, of course, the shadowy National Board of Review (nobody knows who these people are; I’m not convinced they exist). At one time, most of this didn’t matter. It was buried in the backs of newspapers. Now, if you are paying any attention at all, it’s shoved in your face. By the time the Oscars drag-ass in, the interest is gone. Most everyone is awarded out. I think the only real hope for them is to hold them between Christmas and New Years and avoid the crush. Maybe even earlier would be better.
Any other suggestions would involve changing the way moviegoers approach popular culture — turn the snark down, dial back the cynicism and realize that we only think we’re industry insiders, who have to keep track of absolutely every jot and tittle, obsess over box office returns (which really don’t impact most of us in any significant way), etc. How likely is that? Probably about as likely as me owning a Chuck Norris movie.
In the end, this was just an Oscar year like any other. They got some things right. They got some things wrong. Nothing here was anywhere near as embarrassing as voting Crash or Around the World in 80 Days or The Greatest Show on Earth for Best Picture. And at the end of the day…it’s a passing amusement of doubtful lasting value. The history of the movies isn’t written in Oscars. It’s written in much broader range than that encompasses — and thank goodness. If I was stuck with only Oscar winning movies, I’d quickly find a new interest.