Oscar Night Review

My final analysis of the Academy Awards show was that it was okay. Anyone who reads my blog would not be surprised by that opinion, as I’m usually not enamored with all things Hollywood –at least not in the last few decades.

I think there were some good things about the Oscar show. Number One: they chose Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who were very funny together. Number Two: they chose not to “high-brow” the affair because no one likes to see a bunch of pretentious pseudo-intellectual “Hollywood elite” types trying to appear sophisticated, glamorous and “above it all” when the rest of America knows they are not!

But they opened the show with this cheesy act from Neil Patrick Harris that was pretty cringe-worthy. And their list of presenters was, for the most part, boring. They did not use enough past Oscar winners nor the “up and comers” of the acting world. They did use a lot of very young people in a fairly shameless ploy to boost ratings.

And in that same vein, they bottom-loaded all of the final significant awards into the last ten minutes of the evening, which simply made it look inept. And they also chose to use “testimonials” to the best actors/actresses which could have been left out, in my opinion because everyone in that audience should know if the actors in question are good to work with, and if they aren’t, it just looks awkward.

But one of my biggest beefs is the fact that we are in the 21st Century and the show looks a lot like a holdout from a bygone era. The glitz and glamour are not as believable when there is so much more to the film industry in the modern era. The age of computer imaging and video games and the type of sophisticated special effects used in modern films were barely acknowledged. There was little mention of the separate awards show they hold for the scientific and technical awards.

James Cameron has invented a new method of film-making and George Lucas and others have initiated many breakthroughs in the way we see things on film. NONE of this was mentioned….at all. And there should be new categories to acknowledge this and it should be brought to the public’s attention.

Plus the global village that we live in is still fairly compartmentalized in one or two categories of short films and the foreign film category. Even though “Slumdog Millionaire” won so many of the awards last year, it was treated as if none of that had ever happened. The encapsulated world of Hollywood elites still appears to be fairly homogenized. (barring a few obligatory jokes about Jews in Hollywood). The only nod to the changing of the guard was the fact that Barbara Streisand gave the Best Director award to a woman for the first time. And the black actress who won the Best Supporting award acknowledged Hattie McDaniels and all of the women of color who had come before her.

If Hollywood and film-making are a large part of the American “persona” and this show is one of our best chances to advertise our unique and diverse American way of life, then why don’t they pull out all the stops on these occasions? Instead, the powers that be in Hollywood present a timid and tepid kind of tribute to films the way they’ve always been done before. Not that there is a need for pornography or new age philosophy, but there should be an acknowledgement of INNOVATION. To my mind, THAT was “the stuff that dreams are made of” that Bogart spoke of so long ago.

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MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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