Sunday, February 27, 2011
And the Oscar goes to...
Glitz, glamour and gaudiness will be making their 83rd annual appearance on ABC tonight. That's right, the Academy Awards have finally arrived, celebrating the best in film, or perhaps, the most popular?
Last year, I have to admit, I was one "Avatar" best picture away from losing any respect I had left for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I was convinced that they'd sold out to the money-making crowd-pleasers, simply feeding the mob what they wanted. I was convinced it had become about who made the most money. The battle, for me, came down to spectacle over substance. "Avatar" represented spectacle, a term Director James Cameron seems to have made his own genre. It was the same with "Titanic," grand in terms of scale, not-so-grand in terms of writing and substance. Now, not to be too harsh to Cameron, he's good at what he does. His movies aren't bad. I just don't think they're great.
"The Hurt Locker" represented the substance for me, last year. And sure enough, the Academy shocked me by awarding the low-budget, little-known film about the psychological effects of war on one man, with Best Picture. It was a subtle yet powerful character study with strong writing and strong performances. It didn't need spectacle.
Hence, the awarding of Best Picture to this movie restored my faith in the Academy.
Now, this year, while I still think 10 Best Picture nominees cheapens the category, I at least approve of all 10 in the category. It should be an interesting race, while I think the big prize is going to come down to "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network."
If there was an equivalent to the "Avatar" of last year, I think it'd have to be "The Social Network," as far as popularity and public impact. "The Social Network," however, I feel has far and away more substance. May the best movie win.
I'm optimistic about the new, young blood they've brought in to host this year's ceremony, James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Should be entertaining. I did love Hugh Jackman, too, so we'll see how these two stack up.
And as always, gotta love the fashion watch. Really, the only hope I have for the night is an absence of bad jokes, presence of musical numbers and Natalie Portman taking home Best Actress. Otherwise, I plan to sit back and enjoy it, not as a night to worship and pander to the Hollywood elite, but a night to celebrate the reasons that filmmaking truly is an art form.