I’ve snarked before about not watching the Oscars. In large part because I hadn’t seen any of the films nominated for Best Picture. After all, a night at the movie theater for my family with tickets and popcorn has the potential to reach north of $70.
Yet, even though I haven’t seen any of this year’s best picture nominees, [in all fairness, we made an honest attempt to see Gravity] I watched the entire presentation.
And for the first time in a long time, I want to see all the nominees. All.
Maybe it’s because my son is a film student. Maybe it’s because I’m spending more time back in the arts. Maybe it’s because Hollywood is getting better.
Maybe it’s because I went through an entire bottle of Frontera Cabernet/Merlot blend.
But last night, Ellen DeGeneres was a great host. The show was well run. The winners were gracious.
True, it wasn’t the most entertaining of awards shows. But there were some interesting moments. Ellen’s selfie with the crowd became the most retweeted selfie ever and broke Twitter for about 20 minutes.
Jennifer Lawrence decided to fall outside last night instead of on her way to the platform. She didn’t win, but did present and asked the crowd “Why are you laughing?”
Then there was John Travolta who began by proclaiming his love for musicals and ended by lighting up social media with everyone asking “what did he call her?” He butchered Idina Menzel’s name. Badly. Note to John: Don’t piss off the Wicked Witch of the West.
But Menzel didn’t let that deter her from giving an amazing performance of Let It Go from Frozen. The song went on to win the Oscar for best original song.
As always, the tribute to those who passed since the last Oscars tugged at the heart. The tribute was beautifully presented by Glenn Close and followed by Bette Midler singing Wind Beneath My Wings.
I love Bette Midler. Don’t judge. The crowd did too and she received a standing ovation.
The best acceptance speeches of the evening were given by Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey who both won for Dallas Buyer’s Club.
My wife and I printed out Oscar ballots and made our predictions. Having only seen a couple of nominees my score of 11 out of 24 wasn’t all that bad.
To me the show seemed to carry less of a forced message than in years past. Certainly with the films that won there was recognition of the horrors of AIDS and having the freedom to love as you wish. But no, at least that I recall, direct snarks against Arizona, or war (other than Leto’s mention of standing with those in Ukraine and Venezuela).
Maybe even Hollywood has mellowed. I suspect rather, that even Hollywood is learning that, as I wrote yesterday, that Christians (and conservatives) do spend money at the movies. Or maybe Hollywood is finally learning that the medium is the message and that works can speak for themselves.
That’s the way I see art. Tell the story. Don’t preach to me. Don’t tell me what it means.
I’ve seen two recent local productions that deviated from the traditional drama of the stage and ended with audio-visual messages to drive home the point of the play. To me, the switch was jarring. Maybe that was the intent. But it also took away from the beauty of the actual productions.
That’s just my opinion of course. But I’d rather be told the story, then left to ponder the meaning on my own.
I think the Oscars did that last night. We saw the beauty of the films for what they are. They were allowed to speak for themselves.