Monday, February 29, 2016

The Oscar Narrative: The End

It's funny sometimes how quickly everything seems to end. You start in Sundance, a month before the Oscars, you work your way through Cannes, the summer blockbuster season, Toronto, Telluride, Venice, AFI, New York, the critics, the guilds. You build up a narrative for all of these different categories. Then over the course of one night the momentum builds and builds. And with one word, Morgan Freeman declares a winner. Then it's over. How quickly the gold dream fades. Its been about 24 hours since the end, and we are already moving on. Because in the end it never ends. It just cycles back around. Now we can turn our focus, now we can look at the upcoming year. It just seems to be so fast this year, the turnaround seems so blunt. Before we do though, let's reflect on this wacky and wonderful season.

Of course it was Spotlight. It was Spotlight since September. We kept thinking it would be someone else. It was The Martian, then Ridley Scott was snubbed. It was The Big Short, then its momentum died. Then, in the end, it was The Revenant, despite being the most divisive film of the bunch. We should have known. But this year the stats failed us. This is the first time since the expansion of this category that the PGA was wrong. This is the first time since the 1950's since a director won back to back Oscars, since a film won Best Picture with only one other win. Although the SAG Ensemble stat remains intact. If the actors are behind you, it helps. It also helps to be liked. People loved The Revenant, they didn't like it. The Big Short was important, but a comedy. And while they didn't mind giving Mad Max six incredible Oscars, it was never going to win Best Picture, although a George Miller win should have happened. It was Spotlight. It was Spotlight all along, and the punditry, including this guy, missed the boat. I am so happy for this film. Tom McCarthy has been a favorite since The Station Agent and Win Win, two underrated gems. This cast, some of the best actors working today, deserved that moment on stage. Spotlight is an important movie, it is a great movie, and I think it will go down as one of the best Oscar choices. Leo finally won, Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander just launched what I'm sure will be magnificent careers. Everyone is upset about Stallone, but this has happened before. Ask Mickey Rourke, ask Eddie Murphy. One great role cannot erase decades of crap. And missing out on SAG and BAFTA is not an easy path. Mark Rylance is right now a despised man among many who follow this race. But I know that time will realize that it was a great performance, in a good movie, from one of our finest actors. Mad Max had a great, so deserved night. Inarritu is now an Academy favorite, and all three directors from the top three films for Best Picture won Oscars. Also, 6 of the 8 nominees for Best Picture won at least one Oscar (Brooklyn and The Martian were shut out). They spread the love, and besides that dreadful Best Original Song winner (seriously, that song sucks), the winners were deserving, the night had some great winners and some awesome upsets (Ex Machina taking down the big guys was awesome), and my favorite film of the year, Inside Out, got a great moment.

The ceremony was too damn long, some of the moments fell flat, and that awful scroll was a waste. But Chris Rock was great, and his monologue was brilliant, funny, and important. Louis C.K., Tina and Steve, and others had great moments. The In Memoriam was wonderful, the clip packages for all of the categories were great. The show as long, clunky, and cut off too many winners. But that's the Oscars. They keep finding ways to try to make things smoother, to shorten the show, to draw in more viewers. In the end, it is the movies that do that, the actors, the stories of the season. We all might as well give up the notion that somehow the Oscars will dramatically improve. They can't be the Tonys, but at least they're better than the bloated and ridiculous Grammys. The Oscars are what they are, get used to it.

This has been an interesting season for me. I started graduate school in January. I work full time all day, then come home and work on school work. My life has become a stressful, time-consuming mess. And so I haven't been as engaged with this blog as I want to be, as I should be. I haven't posted as much, I haven't felt as passionate about it. It is not the films, the season (this was one of the most exciting in years). It is me, and my ability to juggle all of the different things in my life. I feel like George Clooney in Up in the Air when he talks about the weight of his backpack. First, I'd like to apologize for not being as engaged. I would also like to apologize for the next two Oscar seasons where I will also be a bit distant. But I refuse to give it up. I love film, I love this blog, and I love the Oscar race. I have sacrificed a lot to make my dreams come true, but this is where I draw the line. This has been an incredible season, and I loved every minute. I will keep this up as long as you out there, the fans, the viewers, the film lovers are here to root me on. Thank you for yet another incredible season. Thank you for your support, thank you for loving film as much as I do. As we speak, I am starting my eighth year here at The Awards Psychic. Eight years ago, I was a skinny college freshman launching a new adventure. It's funny how the adventure never seems to end. Just when you get comfortable, the world throws something else at you. That is why I need this blog, probably much more than you do. It is a constant. For eight years it has been my place to go and write, to listen, to feel, to express. I love it, and I hope at least a few of you out there do too. Thank you for seven incredible years. Here's to many more.

1 comment:

  1. Great retrospective.

    About Best Original Song though..."Writing's On The Wall" may rank quite low in the pantheon of Bond songs, but for the year 2015 in film songs, it was undeniably one of the better ones. "'Til It Happens To You" was a great performance, but the lyrics are so on-the-nose and typical Diane Warren. No one cared about "Manta Ray" after it was nominated. "Simple Song #3", my personal vote of the nominees, was never going to win for being an aria. And "Earned It", despite the strong performance (arguably the best because Lady Gaga's spasms docks points for her performance), was from a terrible film. If my pick couldn't win, then I'd rather go for the Bond song. Forget about how the Oscars have barely recognized them in the past. At least they're making up for it now.

    I still wish "Feels Like Summer" from Shaun The Sheep was nominated. It was the best film song of 2015 for me due to its immaculate pop-rock production (very Brian Wilson-esque), clever songwriting and lyrical rhyme scheme, and (most importantly) thematic relevance the film and the characters. "Who Can You Trust" from Spy as a faux Bond song was arguably better than the actual Bond song from 2015. And "Fine On The Outside" from When Marnie Was There, while slight, perfectly captures that feeling of introverted contentment.

    To next year!