Not too long ago, we used to have Oscar parties. We’d sit around watching the show, placing bets. In all reality the telecast was just audio-visual wallpaper–an excuse to hang out with friends and family. I remember attending a few of those Oscar benefit galas the university would put on.
All in all, the Oscars are rather inconsequential because it’s truly about industry politics.
If I was a card-carryin’ Academy member today, I’d have thrown out the politics and voted completely against the grain. Sure they got a lot of things right. For example, nominating Thomas Newman for Best Original Score for The Good German. Finally. After countless minimalist scores like American Beauty and Finding Nemo, the youngest Newman does his uncles and father proud by harkening back to his family’s rich history of composing music for Hollywood by composing a rhapsodic, atmospheric score that sounds a lot like his father’s and uncle’s work. His score is the best of 2006. Speaking of scores, it’s wonderful that they finally acknowledge Italian composer Ennio Morricone for Lifetime Achievement. Cinema Paradiso is still one of the best film scores ever.
Also, the costume category is spot on. I’m pulling for Marie Antoinette because Milena Canonero rocks my socks, ever since Dick Tracy. I can’t wait to hear from Cherilyn and Ron about this category. Ron’s costume designs lean toward more on the Dreamgirls side while Cherilyn’s costume designs lean toward more The Devil Wears Prada side. Another reason why I liked Marie Antoinette; the costumes just seemed like a combination of my two costume designer friends. Accurate, yet somehow, contemporary.
But then where’s Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck for Supporting Actor? Bill Condon for Director? No Jack? These guys turned in great stuff in 2006. Leo gets nominated not for The Departed but for Blood Diamond? No Best Foreign Film nomination for Volver? Was the Academy too worried it might start looking like the Latin Grammys? How about Emily Blunt and Anika Noni Rose for Supporting Actress? And how about that Best Song category? I love Dreamgirls, but really, three song nominatons? Only “Love You I Do” truly deserves the nomination. “You Know My Name” from Casino Royale and “Real Gone” from Cars rocked the multiplexes. So did “Family of Me” from Over the Hedge and “Hit Me Up” from Happy Feet. How could they have snubbed the entire Curious George soundtrack?
Call me crazy. Was The Queen really that good to garner a Best Picture nod? Hellen Mirren was great, of course. But didn’t the movie felt a bit like a BBC mini-series? As much as I love Little Miss Sunshine, Alan Arkin wasn’t all that. I love that movie for its quirkiness and sure, it grows on me after repeat viewings. But how can those two movies be better than, oh say, United 93? As solid as Babel might be, it is a bit flawed and a tad shallow. I hope The Departed gets it, even though Little Miss Sunshine won the SAG and the Producer’s Guild Award which is a good indication that it might take home the little naked golden man.
I’ve been keeping this all in ever since the nominations were announced. Now that it’s here, I just needed to get that out of my chest. Thankfully, it’s cued on our EyeTV and we can just watch the highlights while we enjoy a night out.
I know it’s all politics. The biggest thing I learn from the Oscars every year is watching how all those industry professionals “play the game.” It’s all smiles and nods, fake thank yous and thousand watt smiles. I hate that part of the industry. But even Scorcese’s got to play the game. Are they really awarding the best of the year, or do they have shallower motives?
After all, last year’s Best Picture winner was . . . Crash.