Brief Oscar Blog

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By Craig Thornton

2012 Oscar Blog

 I am nursing my annual Oscar hangover. Okay first of all, last night’s show was about five times better produced and more entertaining than last years.  It was still a snooze fest at times, but not the coma fest it was last year. 

 The Artist, a silent film about an actor who cannot adjust to sound film from the silent area won best picture, director, actor and two other words.  Jean Dujardin who played the matinee idol George Valentin won the best actor Oscar while only speaking one sentence on screen.  Dujardin is French and The Artist is a French co-production.  I loved The Artist and it is my second favorite best picture nominee next to Hugo. The Artist totally reinforces the concept of visual storytelling. I am not sure if The Artist’s win bodes well for the Academy’s image or not.  Does this mean it really is embracing the most artistic and original film, in spite of box office receipts?  Or is it the contrary?  Does it mean that the Academy is so old that they voted for it because they actually remember silent film and they were feeling nostalgic? In this case they don’t seem so open to new ideas.

 Of course everyone is talking about the big upset last night, Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) beat the favorite Viola Davis (The Help).  By the way Entertainment Weekly predicted this race and the best actor race wrong.  They had George Clooney winning best actor. Let me just say I loved Viola Davis in The Help and raved about her performance in my review last summer.  This is an amazingly subtle performance and feels so real it doesn’t look like acting at all.  I was rooting for Viola for sure.  But everyone knows that I am a huge Meryl Streep fan, and I think she is perhaps the greatest actress of all time.  There are so many times when she has been nominated and should have won, and hasn’t.  Personally, I find her performances in Silkwood (1983), A Cry in the Dark (1988) and The Devil Wears Prada (2006) all astonishing and worthy of the Oscar.  And who can forget the fact that Sandra Bullock beat her in 2009 when Streep was flawlessly Julia Child?

 There is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on today and here are some links to some theories on how an why this upset happened.  I have read several of these, and can offer one of my own.  Atonement.  Atonement for Meryl not winning the fourteen times she had been previously nominated.  Also do you really want Katharine Hepburn, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Brennan to be the only actors to win three or more Oscars and not include Meryl on that list?

 Still you have to feel for Viola, as she many not get such a great role in such a popular movie again. 

 Both of the supporting role wins were very popular, and now Christopher Plummer, becomes the oldest Oscar winner at 82. Plummer won for his role in The Beginners.  Octavia Spencer won for her great performance as Millie in The Help.  I loved her in this movie. She totally deserved it.

 Hugo won five awards including a much deserved Oscar for Best Art Direction and Set Decoration Francesca Lo Schiavo and Dante Ferretti.  

 As always the Oscars are never exciting as you want them to be, even when there is an upset or two. It is always baffling to me, that the montages celebrating movies never seem cohesive or thematic and just seem randomly put together.  I liked the clips of actors describing why the love movies, or what a great movie is, but the show part of the show (when awards are not being handed out) is always an iffy prospect.  Although host Billy Crystal’s opening sequence montage was very funny and reminded me of the year that he did one for “The Silence of The Lambs” twenty years ago.  Although the Oscar show seemed a bit dusty it was so much better than the last two years.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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