Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review of the Academy Awards Presentation

You know, yesterday I read an article about the Oscar winners from the night before.  The writer stated that she did not understand how the winners were selected, except that actors voted for actors, directors for directors, etc.  That's correct and then every member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes for Best Picture, no matter what their movie career entails.

I also read that the viewing audience was considerably less this year than the last few years. I have to say, I watched the entire telecast Sunday night, using the commercial breaks to hustle my shih tzus outside and back again.

And you know what? I thought except for a few highlights, it was a lackluster, boring show.  Don't get me wrong, Neil Patrick Harris was fine.  He's a talented guy, a good singer, and good with a joke.  There were plenty of beautiful people dressed in couture.  But the glamour seemed somehow shabby when compared to the glory days of Hollywood.

I am a stage actor and director.  I was taught in college the differences between film acting and stage acting.  For one thing on the stage, an actor has to sustain a character and there are no retakes.  It's either get it right the first time or blow it off and go on.  Film actors are required to emote bits of scenes, sometimes out of sequence, and only have to learn the lines a bit at a time.  Stage actors have to learn their whole part.  The best stage actors learn the entire play.

The best actors are able to seamlessly go from film to stage and back again.  People like Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Eddie Redmayne to name a few, are noted for doing just that.

I'm not complaining about any of the winners this year. To me any of the acting nominees could win, as well as any of the Best Picture nominees.

In fact, I found I was strangely unmoved by the Oscars, except for a few moments.

The moments that moved me most were the songs - "Everything is Awesome" from the Lego Movie - loved the movie and loved the production number. Lady Gaga's tribute to the Sound of Music and Julie Andrew's reaction to it when it was over, made me sniffle but not weep copious tears. Mostly the reaction was due to the knowledge it had been fifty years since the movie came out - years that I was a sapient life form who is now growing older.  Besides, my mom and dad loved that movie.

Then came the presentation of the song "Glory" from the movie Selma.  Now, that did make me cry.  No, I haven't seen the film yet because I know that's one I need to see at home.  You see, my parents and I were driving from Dallas to Jacksonville, Fl on the day the marchers tried to cross that bridge.  We were stopped by the National Guard members before we got to the bridge and told there was a problem and we would have to take an alternate route.  We glimpsed a bit of what happened...a fact which cemented my liberal political leanings for the rest of my life.  I never forgot that or the subsequent news films on TV.  I cannot watch that in a public place. I know for sure it will upset me.

The memorial segment, which usually has me in tears, didn't move me that way this year.  Instead, I was angry that Joan Rivers, long known for her Red Carpet work at the Oscars, as well as her work in films, writing, doing voices, and appearing in a film about her life and career, was completely omitted.  They included "studio marketing executives" a couple of them, but they couldn't include Joan Rivers? Get real.

All of this got me to thinking...it doesn't really matter who does or doesn't win an Oscar.  A few years from now, no one may remember or care who won at all.  A win matters to the actors who can demand bigger salaries from holding that statuette.  A winning director will be offered other projects.

Some classic films never won an Oscar and some fly-by-night films took Best Picture and disappeared into oblivion...

After all, as Neil Patrick Harris announced Sunday night, in 2014, movies made a total of $600 million dollars.  American Sniper took in $300 million, half of the total amount for the entire industry and the entire year. American Sniper took one Oscar - for sound editing.

In the end, I guess the Academy Awards are really more of a popularity contest, like a student council election in high school...the really popular kids will be elected while the smarter kids who might really be good officers will be overlooked.

Did you even remember who ran ten years later? I doubt it.

I'll keep going to movies and watching what I like, though I may not watch the Oscars again.  Instead I'll look at the highlights on line. That will tell me the salient points of the presentation.

I know what good acting is and appreciate it - onstage or in films. So, I'll just post my reviews and let people watch what they want.

After all, Everything is Awesome!  I have to admit I LOVED the Lego Oscars they passed out to the famous in the audience...nice touch.

Until next time...take care.


  1. I'm waiting for the PEOPLE'S CHOICE Awards - then we'll know who the real winners are. This, as you say is a popularity contest or perhaps a political one. The real winners will live on in our hearts and the psyche of our culture regardless what the industry thinks or says.

  2. I agree. A lot of films that remain in our cultural consciousness were never nominated for Oscars at all.