Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Oscar Narrative: The End

So another Oscar season ends. It feels like it just begun. We were at Sundance, talking about the year ahead, thinking about the films that may or may not be a part of the conversation. My how time flies by. Not just one year, but ten, now almost eleven. A lot has happened in eleven years. There have been so many inconsistencies, heartbreaks, immense changes. Through it all, I have have had this blog, and this continuous Oscar season. Before long, this one will be a faint memory, and we will be moving on to a new and exciting year in film.

Before we do that, let's take a moment to talk about 2019. There were some amazing films, and the Oscars, despite their continued controversy, continue to do great things. We live in an outrage culture, and we live in a time when any idiot can post their thought for the world to see. The Oscars have been caught in this culture, and it seems like nothing will ever be good enough again for them. Not that there aren't legitimate concerns. The nominees are still too white and too male, and the process often leaves out great films, especially in this horrifically short season, which luckily, was a one time only event. But on Sunday, beloved veterans finally won overdue awards. The 92 year drought for foreign language films ended. You had the first foreign language film win Best Picture, the first Korean film to win either Picture or International Feature, and the first Korean director win Best Director. You saw three female filmmakers and two black filmmakers win deserved Oscars. I know we need to see more of those wins in top categories, but documentaries and shorts matter, and their diversity this year was fantastic. We saw the first mainstream studio film to feature gay sex win an Oscar, and by the person who inspired the film. We saw the first indigenous director win an Oscar. There are still lots of strides to be made, many of them by the industry itself. But for all of the issues, they did a lot better than many people expected.

I'll be honest, I spent most of Oscar season kind of checked out of the process. Work was crazy, with a special project that nearly did me in. Personal issues always affect me. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and depression, I often let the weight of the world consume me, often at the expense of the things that bring me joy. Even the morning of the Oscars, I was just not into it. Then something happened. I started watching the red carpet coverage, started thinking about the night, and suddenly I was in. I am seriously in. I was my normal geeky, giddy self. Oscar night was as crazy, fun, and exciting as it has always had been, since before I can remember. It came back, that love, that passion. Often we forget to make time for the things we enjoy, we forget to live. Oscar season may be an eye-rolling experience for many. But for me, it is one of the few passions I have. Well film is the passion, the Oscars are the celebration of that. And in 2019 we celebrated differences, we celebrated and looked hard at our history, and we celebrated love. We did so with the backdrop of divisiveness and hatred, and a world torn apart. I have said many times before, and yet I feel it bears repeating, that we often find our common humanity in art. Films have a way of connecting even the most disparate individuals. When Renee Zellweger won her well-deserved comeback Oscar, she said this about the legendary Judy Garland, who she brilliantly portrayed, "Our heroes united us. Ms. Garland, you were certainly among the heroes that unite and define us, and this for you". Judy Garland was one of those heroes, and this year, many of the films nominated gave us a whole new crop of movie heroes to unite us and move us closer together, not further apart. That is the power of film, that is why the Oscars matter. That is why, no matter how bogged down in my own world I get, I will strive to never let it affect my blog or my love of film. We need heroes, we need film, we need art, and as long as we have it in this world, I will be here to join all of you on this wild and crazy ride that we go through every year, to celebrate what we love. Thank you for everything. Cheers to year eleven.

No comments:

Post a Comment