As usual, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to watch this year’s Oscars, since this year’s highly lauded list of best picture nominees largely leave me cold. I already talked about my lack of interest in the two SFnal nominees in my post about the Nebula awards. And while Twelve Years a Slave, Philomena and Dallas Buyers’ Club are undoubtedly important films and either of them would be a good choice as examples of other countries coming to terms with the darker parts of their history. Ditto for The Wolf of Wall Street, only that I don’t think it would be a good choice. Captain Phillips – well, Americans probably think it’s important. As for American Hustle, I have no idea why this is even nominated – and I’m usually a sucker for stories about good-guy thieves and con-artists. Besides, did it win anything at all, even in a side category? Finally, there’s also Nebraska, which I’d never heard about until today.
As for Ellen DeGeneres (whom I usually like), the good news is that she’s not Seth MacFarlane. The bad news is that she isn’t much better. In the first ten minutes or so, she made a joke about the nationality of a Somali nominee for best supporting actor, an ageist joke about an elderly actress nominated for the best supporting actress award as well as not one but two transphobic jokes. At least, she hasn’t sung about anybody’s boobs… yet.
To be fair, she did get less offensive as the show went on and I actually liked the bit where she served pizza to the audience. Not sure what to make of the star-studded selfie.
Regarding the make-up category, couldn’t they have scrapped that altogether this year or just given it to Dallas Buyers’ Club by default rather than nominate The Lone Ranger – a film that was widely and rightly criticized for its use of Redface – and a bloody Jackass film?
Again, they should just rename the Best animated feature film category “Best Pixar film” and be done with it (even though I would have preferred the Miyazaki). Besides, if you have a presentation about “Great animated films”, maybe a bit less CGI and a bit more traditional animation (and any sort of non-western animation at all, since there was none) might be in order.
Loved the woman who sang during the acceptance speech for the best longform documentary BTW. I actually liked her better than some of the people nominated for best song. Okay, the “Happy” guy was great (and got several Oscar nominated actresses to dance with him in the aisles) and U2 was U2, but the Her song was just insipid and the Frozen one not much better. I’m not happy it won either, though Disney/Pixar film songs often win Oscars.
Loved Bill Murray’s unscheduled tribute to Harold Ramis, though he was of course included in the official memorial as well. Meanwhile, the German cultural TV program kulturzeit completely ignored the death of Harold Ramis, though they did honour an East German film director who happened to die the same day.
And for those who were playing “Spot the Avengers” at the Oscars, we got Hawkeye on the red carpet, Thor, Captain America and Nick Fury on stage and all of them in clips.
Two great choices for best supporting actor. Loved Jared Leto’s acceptance speech and his tribute to his Mom and Lupita Nyong’o is simply lovely (great acceptance speech, too) plus it’s always great to see people of colour winning Oscars (also great seeing more people of colour presenting Oscars). Though I feel sorry for her that she had to kiss Christoph Waltz. Blame Tarantino for bringing him to Hollywood – German speakers would have been happy to continue to ignore him.
Surprised that Cate Blanchett won best actress after the current debate about Woody Allen. I would have preferred Judy Dench to win, though I loved Cate Blanchett’s shout-out to the fact that films focussed on women can and do draw audiences. Matthew McConaughey was widely picked as the favourite to win best actor and I can’t really argue, though personally I had hoped for Chiwetel Ejiofor to win. Plus, McConaughey really did go on and on and on in his acceptance speech, didn’t he?
There sure is a lot of love for Gravity this year. Now I don’t begrudge it the various technical wins, but Alfonso Cuarón for best director? I would have preferred Steve McQueen.
Finally, Twelve Years a Slave won a well deserved Oscar for best picture. Definitely the best choice, though I wouldn’t have minded Philomena or Dallas Buyers’ Club either. Great acceptance speech from Steve McQueen as well.
BTW, here is the New York Times article that was the base for Twelve Years a Slave.