Impressions of the 2012 Oscars

I’m watching the Oscars at the moment. Well, half watching, since I’m writing and blogging on the side.

So far, it’s quite dull. Even the dresses are nothing to write home about. Billy Crystal is still one of the better presenters, though I preferred Hugh Jackman two or three years ago. I don’t quite get why he had to make so many jokes about Kodak being bankrupt, but then the Kodak bankruptcy has affected Americans in a way I cannot quite understand. Kodak was always just a brand of film to me along with Agfa and Fuji (I mostly bought Fuji), but for Americans apparently Kodak really was synonymous with film.

So far it looks as if Hugo will be the big winner tonight. I don’t have an issue with that, since Hugo seems to be a lovely little film and it’s certainly a good choice. Though I have to admit that I hoped The Artist would take home a few more Oscars, since I like it a little better. Still, a head to head duel between The Artist and Hugo means that whichever wins, it will be a good film.

Though The Artist is taking the “main” awards, since it did win the Best Director award over Hugo, but then it is tradition that Martin Scorsese is always nominated and never wins in the directing category. Though I think that Hugo would be a more deserving winner than The Departed for which he finally won after thirty years or so. And Jean Dujardin deservedly won the Best Actor award.

ETA: It just won Best Film, too, and most deservedly. They even brought the dog on stage.

It does seem to be the year for Steampunk inspired films, though, cause apart from the Steampunky Hugo a lovely Steampunkish film just won in the short animation category.

I’m particularly happy that the Iranian film A Separation took home the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film after winning the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin film festival. I don’t particularly care for the film itself, but giving an Oscar to an Iranian film by a director who is controversial in his own country sends a great message. And the acceptance speech by director Asghar Farhadi was not just great, it was also important.

Germany’s great hope, Wim Wenders’ documentary Pina on the late choreographer Pina Bausch, lost out against a documentary on a freaking American football team. I’m not a Wenders fan, but this is pretty infuriating, though probably inevitable given the American sports obsession. We should probably count ourselves lucky that Monkeyball (yes, I know that’s not the title) hasn’t won anything yet. The other German hopes in the short film category and a costume designer who on Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous didn’t win either.

ETA: Apparently the special effects crew for Hugo includes some Germans, so there is a German Oscar winner this year after all. Besides, I completely forgot to mention Sandra Bullock speaking German.

I’m also happy for Octavia Spencer winning in the Best Supporting Actress category for The Help, even though it is sad that exactly 63 years after the first supporting actress award was awarded to a black actress, Hattie McDaniel who played Mammy in Gone with the Wind, another black actress wins an Oscar in that same category – for playing a maid. Really, I’d hoped that the world had moved on a bit more in the intervening 63 years.

Though Octavia Spencer herself was incredibly likable and her freak-out was quite touching. Coincidentally, the German reporter who did the red carpet interviews found himself interviewing Octavia Spencer and was faced with the problem that even though The Help was released in Germany last December, the film had almost no viewers and the interviewer had only the vaguest idea what the film was about.

I really don’t think Meryl Streep needed another Oscar, though. And based on her speech, Meryl Streep knows it as well. Why not give the Oscar to Viola Davis instead and make a real statement?

Meanwhile, Christopher Plummer mainly won in the Best Supporting Actor category for not being dead yet, since the film looks absolutely dreadful. Though I did like his acceptance speech.

Talking of absolutely dreadful, Bridesmaids passed me by, because American gross-out comedies never do well outside the US. But crap, that film looks so awful it’s unbelievable. Why was this crap nominated for anything at all? Even the cast presenting the various short film awards was grating. And anyways, doesn’t the Academy have any other presenters then Ben Stiller and Will Farrell and Tina Fey, who seem to be presenting some award or other every single year? For that matter, what’s Tina Fey doing there anyway, considering she’s a TV comedian and not a film actress?

And was I the only one who thought “Look, it’s Tony Stark and Pepper Potts”, when Robert Downey Jr. and Gwynneth Paltrow came on stage to present the Best Documentary award?

Thank heavens, we were spared having to listen to the nominated songs during the ceremony, probably because there were only two of them and both were from animated films, puppet and CGI respectively, which would make a live performance tricky.

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2 Responses to Impressions of the 2012 Oscars

  1. Rosario says:

    When I first started hearing about Bridesmaids I assumed it was as dreadful as you’re thinking it is. I don’t do gross-out sophomoric humour. At all. But then I heard a review from a film reviewer I really trust, and he said that if you look beyond the gross-out scenes, it’s a film about female friendship and really funny and well-written. So I went to see it, and I absolutely loved it. I could have done without the couple of poo and vomit scenes, but it’s a small price to pay for what you get, which is one of the funniest and most feminist films I’ve seen in a while.

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the hint. I will check out Bridesmaids then.

      The problem with the current trend for gross-out toilet humour in the US is that the gross-out humour tends to obscure some pretty good films among all the dross. I chanced to see Superbad a while ago and found a surprisingly touching and accurate portrayal of teen boys underneath the fart and puke and sex jokes. And even Knocked Up has its moments underneath the silly humour.

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