Once again I was unduly seduced by the glamor and intrigue of the Oscars on Sunday night. And yesterday I read a recapitulation of the proceedings by some “experts.” My overall take on the affair is that the ceremony is a colossal waste of time. It’s a total ego trip for the attendees.
Hollywood types spend an inordinate amount of time giving awards to each other and telling one another they are the most sensational people in the world. Actually the writers and technical people are the most talented people in the movie business. The actors memorize lines and say them over and over until they get it right. But actors and actresses are better looking than the technical workers so they get most of the face time.
That segues to the red carpet idiocy that precedes the actual ceremonies. Like millions of others my family and I fell into the trap and critically assessed the narcissistic and empty-headed individuals that paraded in front of the cameras. The interviewers tell the actresses they look gorgeous in their truly over-the-top, gazillion dollar gowns, and jewelry they borrowed from stores on Rodeo Drive. My favorite female pose is the one where they turn their backs to the camera and peer over their shoulder.
This year the Oscars were unable to find a man who doesn’t have a history of sexual misbehavior or other kinds of socially unacceptable missteps to host the program. The solution to this problem is clear, have a woman be the host for the evening. Dah! That became even more obvious when three SNL actresses engaged the audience, making everybody query why they weren’t chosen to do the entire show.
One of the really great changes to the program was to limit the acceptance speeches to 90 seconds. It’s a really great moment for Oscar winners, and so they want to wallow in their achievement and thank the hordes of people that helped them win the award. The only problem is that most of the speeches are boring, repetitive and nobody gives a crap about the no-names that “made it all possible.” In fact nobody really cares who wins best costume design or editing awards, even though they are critical functions in making a film.
The Oscars and the fifty other award-shows for celebrities have become a political correctness hotbed. The Academy that selects the winners has been on the spot in recent years to give awards to a diverse group of people. If they don’t nominate an appropriate number of women, people of color and foreigners, they are going to be lambasted. It really doesn’t matter which movie is the “best.”
The allocation of awards to the aforementioned groups this year seemed to be fairly evenly distributed. In fact, people of color and women did very well indeed. But not everybody was happy.
What turns on the Academy? What subjects are most important to the legion of people selecting Oscar winners? Is art in movie-making important? Should a movie have an important social message to climb to the top of the heap? There will never be a real consensus on these questions.
It appears that movies that address social issues are most likely to win. This year Green Book won best picture (and best supporting actor). The film is about a gay, black piano virtuoso who hires a white lower class thug to drive him throughout the deep South to perform concerts.
The racism and discrimination they encounter comes as no surprise. The growing relationship between the white man and the black man was the real story line. It was an inspirational piece of work. The Academy met the social standard as far as many were concerned, but not everybody (Spike Lee).
My favorite movie, which will come as no surprise to my readers was Bohemian Rhapsody, the story and music behind the rock band Queen and its flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury. Rami Malek, an Egyptian man, portrayed Freddie. I’m sure that the academy has its fair share of old timers who were Queen fans when they were young, and they felt obligated to be supportive of Malek for best actor. He deserved it.
Another Oscar season has come to an end. Several people made political statements that nobody really cares about. We already know that Hollywood types and most of America hate Donald Trump, so Spike Lee’s incoherent rant was embarrassing. But everyone has a right to express his or her opinions. The good news is that the American public can simply ignore the political crap emanating from La La land.