Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The End

As the afterglow of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards begins to fade to but a distant memory, and really there wasn't too much about this specific telecast to linger in one's memory, there's still the classic mantra of "the show must go on" to hold onto.  "The show," of course is the continued legacy to cherish the incandescence of cinema itself.  For the Academy has always been, and will always be a stubbornly middlebrow community, whose collective tastes are as suspect as agreeable.  But it's not really a statute that confirms one's place in the history of filmmaking.  As Steven Spielberg eloquently put while presenting Best Picture, the names of the films not called join a roster including Citizen Kane and Raging Bull
And while The King prevailed, it was far from dominant, The King's Speech earned four awards, one of the lowest tallies ever for a film with so many nominations, there was a spirit of generosity that extended in the below the line awards, shared by The Social Network (screenplay, film editing, and original score), Inception (cinematography, sound, sound editing, and visual effects), and those are very good things.  Good enough to almost settle with the notion that Alice in Wonderland is a two-time Oscar winner (art direction and costume design), trivia aside: this marks the fourth time a Tim Burton film has won for art direction (Batman, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd and Alice.)  The major winners were largely expected (I successfully predicted seven out of the eight big categories, sadly only missing out on Best Director, which is something we are all, especially the Academy is just going to have to deal with.)  And they all looked a bit tired, I'd suggest-- pretending to be surprised must be difficult, even for the most adept actor. 
Best Actor winner Colin Firth continued his refined thing, while Actress winner Natalie Portman was warmer and softer than in the past, Supporting Actor winner Christian Bale maintained his cool-- all were on their best behavior, except for, and god bless her...Melissa Leo.  Whether shamelessly flirting with presenter Kirk Douglas, or dropping the "f-word" during family hour of television, she was the peak at least for entertainment purposes.  She was having a ball, and while she may have across increasingly nutty throughout the awards season, perhaps even slightly tacky, it still made for an exciting live-wire couple of minutes of viewing.  She played to the rafters!
While the can argue the merits of the winners till the dogs come home, what of the show itself?  The Academy, more desperate than usual, laid it on the line a while back when it was announced Anne Hathaway and James Franco would serve as co-hosts.  A decision that prompted every reaction from stern wrongheadedness, rousing curiosity, and indifference (at least that was my initial reactions.)  The end result was decidedly bland, with one of the more boring telecasts of the recent history.  There were no montages, they ditched the legends toasting the acting nominees (a practice that took place the last two years), brought back the performances of the original songs (which unfortunately had to be one of the weakest years for that category, and that's saying quite a bit), and left a bunch of dead air to co-host Mr. Franco.  Was he stoned?  Just tired from the tireless amount of projects he's got?  Or was it some sort of weird avant-garde performance piece?  Whatever it was, it didn't work; thankfully Ms. Hathaway was game, and played her weak material with utmost precision and charm-- she should have done it solo...

So as the 83rd Annual Academy Awards drifts off into irrelevance, there are things to take away from it:
  • The Academy is the Academy-- and the pundits\cinephiles need to accept it-- The King's Speech is their best picture, it doesn't have to everyones.
  • The Academy needs to realize what they are-- younging up the joint won't impress (ratings were down 10% this year, 37.6 average viewers.)
However, I'll return next year like a proper trained seal.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...