Considering the Oscars

Saying the Oscars are self-promoting is stating the obvious. The Oscars are all about congratulating each other on how great they are in the movies. I would say this year’s Oscars were self-promoting in a different way. This year, it felt like it was about how great everyone in the theater is compared to everyone else in the world. I’ll try and consider the argument and counter argument about this point.

The Theme

First of all, the theme of the night was “Heroes in Movies.” Yes, movie stars often portray heroes, and bring stories to light that we, as the public, may not otherwise know. (See: 12 Years a Slave). Does that mean they deserve a whole montage dedicated to their heroism? Maybe not.

Counterargument: The people portrayed in the montage were heroes to the people sitting in the theater. Audience members used to think they wanted to grow up to be the people in the montage. So, yes I could see how they would be seen as heroes to those people.

Pizza and Selfies

Is it a little presumptuous that producers thought the most entertaining thing for viewers would be watching actors take a selfie and eat pizza? Unless you were sitting in the first three rows of the Dolby Theatre last night, there was no entertainment. Really, not one dance number, Ellen?

Counterargument: It was kind of funny – and we broke a Twitter record.

Women? Women?

My social media was annoyed with the lack of women in the “Heroes” montages. So many men and so few women!

Counterargument: Men have most of the hero roles in movies, even now. The fact that Cate Blanchett felt the need to point out in her speech that movies with strong female leads were not “niche” films, but movies people want to see speaks to the current state of the industry.

Also:

  • For the first year ever both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards were hosted by women.
  • We didn’t have to endure a “We Saw Your Boobs” song.
  • The Winner for Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song, Best Actress, every technical award Gravity won, and Best Documentary were all movies principally about a woman.

Progress. Slow and painful progress. But progress.

Best Picture Winner

YES YES YES YES YES!!!  This fact makes most of the past transgressions forgivable.

The last few years with The Artist and Argo, the Academy has chosen movies about movies and how great they are. It’s the epitome of self-promoting behavior. For that reason, I guessed  Gravity as Best Picture because I thought it did the best job at showcasing how wonderful movies are. I’m so glad I was wrong!

12 Years a Slave was a much more important movie, a much better script, and a really well made film. I’m so happy it won.

And so is Steve McQueen.

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