Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscars Post-Mortem 2013

Jennifer Lawrence made me and almost everyone on the planet swoon, Daniel Day-Lewis embraced Meryl Streep which I’m pretty sure caused the Tree of Life to reemerge in the garden of Eden, Joaquin Phoenix remains the weirdest human being on the planet, Ben Affleck has somehow become the most likeable person on the planet, and Seth MacFarlane has seen your boobs. Oh, and, Kristen Stewart. That happened. 

The Telecast

One thought kept rolling through my mind on Sunday evening as Seth MacFarlane was doing Seth MacFarlane things: Haters gonna hate.  Hosting the Oscars has become a job with no upside lately; either you crash and burn completely (Franco & Hathaway), you’re too safe (Billy Crystal, Hugh Jackman), or you’re too much of an outsider and/or too crass (MacFarlane, Jon Stewart).  Not everyone’s going to be happy all the time.

Newsflash: MacFarlane has been making Family Guy episodes for the past fourteen years.  If anyone thought no lines were going to be crossed, and that it was going to be some sort of all-class Bob Hope type of night, then the word naïve doesn’t even begin to describe that person.

Anyway, yes, some jokes were great, some fell flat, and a few even—*gasp*—crossed a line or two.  But that’s par for the course.  The cries of sexism on the night were definitely really odd to me. One of my favorite Oscar Pundits, Kris Tapley, put it this way: “Amid all the cries of sexism, did no one take a breath and consider that one of the most sexist franchises ever was being honored?” (Referring to the “50 Years of Bond” tribute).

Beyond the host, though, the telecast was quite long, and I’m not sure that all of the musical stuff really fit together.  Did we need Adele to perform “Skyfall” in ADDITION to having the song during the Bond tribute? Why not just put them together?  Did we need Norah Jones to do the song from Ted?  Probably not.  Did I need more Hathaway in my evening than absolutely necessary by the insistence that the cast of Les Mis do a number?  No, but again, this show is not going to make everyone happy all the time, and you, me, and everyone need to accept that.

The Awards

Caution: Photo may solve world hunger.
I predicted 18 out of 24 categories correctly in this year’s Oscars, not anything to write home about, but in the weirdest year since I’ve been doing this I can’t be too upset about that score, considering that was a bit higher than average compared with most of the Oscar pundit “experts.”   Allow me to lay out a few items that I’ve learned this year about predicting Oscars, and a couple of thoughts on the awards in general.

(1) Precedents are useful, but should not be taken as Gospel.

I shied away at the last minute from predicting Christoph Waltz to win Best Supporting Actor in favor of DeNiro due to Waltz’s lack of a SAG nomination.  Only ONCE since the SAG awards started in the early ‘90’s has an actor/actress in any of the four categories won an Oscar without a SAG nomination, and that was Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock.  Waltz had all the momentum in the world, and DeNiro had yet to win a single precursor award for his role despite being nominated in all of them. That was stupid.  

Argo was a big fat anomaly from the beginning.  Failing to score a nod for Ben Affleck for Best Director, it would become only the fourth film ever to win Best Picture without that director nomination, which is why many had thought Lincoln would take it.  However, it would have been even more rare for it to win all of the guild awards it had won without actually winning the whole thing.

(2) The Oscars Favor Best Picture Nominees in Tech Categories...Kinda.

But not always, or with any sort of predictable consistency.  Lincoln took home Best Production Design over Anna Karenina (one of the bigger surprises of the night), although Anna Karenina still took the award for Best Costume Design.  All other tech awards were brought home by a Best Picture nominee, except for Skyfall’s shared win with Zero Dark Thirty for Sound Editing.  

(3) Daniel Day-Lewis and the words “Greatest Ever” may now be used in the same sentence.

I’m not saying that he absolutely 100% IS the greatest ever, I’m saying that this is now a conversation we can, and should start having.  Having secured his third Oscar for a leading role, he is now ahead of everyone past or present, including the likes of Spencer Tracy, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Pacino and DeNiro (not that Oscars are the end-all-be-all for this conversation, but, it’s at least very significant to the discussion).  History usually allows us the room we need to let these determinations ferment, but with Day-Lewis it’s simply too much evidence to ignore.

Hey, cool, an Oscar.
(4) Clooney.

Remember that time when MJ made his sixth three pointer in a row at the 1992 NBA Finals and just shrugged? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was George Clooney accepting the award for Best Picture on Sunday. He didn’t make a speech (only producer not to make a speech for the film), and just stood there with a wry smile on his face, like “Cool.” What a man.

And just for fun, here’s a short little list of movies I expect to be in the discussion for Oscars around this time next year:

August: Osage County
The Wolf of Wallstreet
Inside Llewyn Davis
Labor Day
Before Midnight
The Counselor


Jessica Chamberlain said...

Great post. Cracked me up, too. I was quite proud of my proud, that i text a pic to Clelyn. Although I knew better than to not pick Argo for Best Picture (duh). Anyhoo, for a novice, 14/24 ain't so bad. I'm glad you posted this...I was waiting for your take on the Oscars.

adamsrearwindow said...

Hahaha. You should have shared them with me so that I knew I wasn't the only loser who makes predictions! 14/24 is awesome for a novice.