OSCAR PRE-SHOW THOUGHTS
• Shut up about The Artist. Okay, it’s not the best movie ever made but it’s not the worst movie to win the Oscar. It’s not Crash or Driving Miss Daisy. It’s a million times better than Extremely Loud. It’s slight, but there are far far worse sins within the Oscar world. It was a cleverly made, well intentioned film. It was a tribute to film not in that it was a capital H history less, but in its delight at using little seen tools of the film medium. It does no one any harm. My friend Oscar pundit Tom O’Neil made a point that Oscar voters like movies that “take them on a journey” which may sound like it’s every movie but it isn’t quite. It means they feel transported with some sort of out of the ordinary experience, whether that’s grand epic sweep (Ghandi, LOTR) or a costume picture or some great moral drama or just using tools that they don’t see every day. When Chicago came along there hadn’t been a big musical for a while. And it’s all got to be unambiguous and direct. That’s it and there are better ways to look for great films, but there also are a lot worse. I mean, for crying out loud, a silent film is going to win. That’s not a terrible precedent.
• Shut up about The Help. Again, not my favorite movie of the idea. But for Hollywood to produce mainstream grown up stories with uplifting positive messages, even if those messages are simplistic, and even if they blur a lot of history, is pretty much what Hollywood was invented to do and almost never does anymore. Apres The Help, all that is left in mainstream filmmaking is Battleship. It’s a middlebrow story, but an unpretentious. One with an almost entirely female cast. And for what it is, not badly made. It’s not so awful that there should be a few of these now and then.
• Don’t shut up about Midnight In Paris. If there is an outrage tomorrow night it will be that Midnight in Paris is likely to win best script. This is an actual disgrace. It’s the opposite of The Artist which is a good hearted film, well made. Midnight is a dead-hearted film, poorly made. You can’t even call this a script, it’s a greeting care. Really, re-direct your anger about The Artist towards Midnight where it belongs.
• The proper people to root for in the acting are Oldman, McCarthy and Nolte, all of whom are going to lose. There is no one to vote for in Best Actress. They should all lose. I guess we can support Viola just by default.
• Remember Kiki and Lars. Remember Cody/Reitman. This night should have been theirs.
I’ll have more thoughts as they arrive to my head.
I really appreciate Richard Rushfield’s take on things.