Monday, February 27, 2012

State of the Race: The End

The Winners
The Oscars were clicking along, a few surprises here and there, but most predictable. Then came the big moment in the night, Best Actress. As soon as Colin Firth announced Meryl as the winner my heart sunk in my chest. I love Meryl Streep more than anyone. She is, quite simply, the greatest living actress. And I have no doubt that she deserved a third Oscar. But I had been waiting all year to see Viola Davis win that Oscar, and when she didn't, I was distraught. But I have picked myself up and have recovered, because I can't be mad that Meryl Streep won, she deserves every honor she gets. But that doesn't mean that my heart wasn't slightly broken last night. That being said, the winners were mostly predicted. Some of the closer races, like Costume Design, ended up going a different way than I thought, but I wasn't surprised. I was once again sadded that Emanuel Lubezki was snubbed for The Tree of Life, but if someting else was going to win, I'm glad it was Hugo and not The Artist. I also think it is important to mention that, to date, the two best used of 3-D technology are Hugo and Avatar. Both of them won Cinematography. It appears that the Academy is embracing 3-D but only if it is done well, and done to serve a greater visual purpose in a great film. Back to The Artist and Hugo. I find it interesting that the last two years, two (or in last year's case, three) films splitting the awards pretty evenly. It is interesting, considering that the Oscars are known for some of their sweeps. The other major surprise was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo winning Editing. They clearly liked the film (although couldn't get enough passionate support to get it into Best Picture), and it is the first film since the 1960's to win this award without a Best Picture nomination. A shock to say the least, but at least it provided some color to the night. And honestly, I wasn't too thrilled about either The Artist or Hugo or The Descendants taking home that particular award. There were of course some other snubs, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes or HP72 in favor of Hugo, but we all should have looked more closely as films that are nominated for Best Picture do not lose in that category. There were also some incredible wins, Plummer finally getting recognition, Spencer's emotional speech, Jean Dujardin's excitement, and even Meryl, who seemed genuinely surprised and gave one of her trademark speeches. I am so happy that I was wrong about In Darkness, as the message that radiated from the creators of A Separation was poignant and well-said, plus it was the best film of the bunch. Undefeated's win was also really nice and well deserved, and honors young filmmaking talent. So all in all, despite one truly huge disappointment, I wasn't too mad or too happy with the results. I was content. In my own predictions, I went 17/24, and if I hadn't switched my Live Action Short, I would have been 18. This is pretty good considering the surprises and the categories that were tough to predict, particularly some of the technical ones. However, 71% is not good enough for me, and so I hope to continue to get better at this as I analyze more Oscar seasons, and hopefully will provide you with better analysis and predictions in the future.

The Ceremony
Let's be honest, last year's ceremony was a long, messy disaster. So even though Billy Crystal did his same old schtick (which he acknowledged), I welcomed it with open arms. One of my fellow film bloggers was commenting the whole night sarcastically and rudely about Crystal, but I think that sometimes it is okay to play it safe. He was funny, classy, and showed his prowless for hosting by keeping the show clicking along at a reasonable pace. The ceremony as a whole had some eye-rolling moments, but some of the new additions, such as the clips of people talking about movies were a welcomed change to the five-thousand movie montages (which they still couldn't get rid of that opening one). The presenters mostly did a good job, noticeably Emma Stone, Will Ferrell, and Zach Galifianakis. There were no truly terrible show-related glitches, and I also liked some of the bits including Melissa McCarthy, The Muppets, and the Christopher Guest sequence. So while it wasn't the most exciting ceremony ever, I will take comforting and quick versus messy, long, and controversial.

The Season
As with every season, there were ups and downs, and this season in particular had its moments of high joy, and head-scratching omissions. My two favorite films of the year, Drive and HP72 didn't make much of a dent on the awards circuit, but did so in the American conscious. But unlike some of those pundits who will spend, and have spent, weeks on end ranting and raving, I will not turn to negativity. If you don't like the results, you have an easy escape route: leave, don't pay attention to them, and turn off the TV. For those of us who still enjoy the magic of Oscar Sunday, who throw their heart and soul into these awards and watch movies as religiously as those who go to church, we will still be here. I was dissappointed that Viola didn't win. But in many ways she won so much this year,  an Oscar wuld have simply been icing on an already delicious cake. But instead of dwelling on it, I am moving on, and continuing to do as Viola herself instructed us to do when she won her SAG award, "Dream Big and Dream Fierce." So for now I am going to toast the winners, whether deserving or not, and continue to dream big and dream fierce here at The Awards Psychic. I will turn my attention to new projects, a new Emmy and Tony Season, and of course, a new Oscar season already in the making. And I think George said in best in the last scene of The Artist: "Sounds Good!"

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