The Oscars….so…that happened…
For years now people have complained about the Oscars being boring, citing them as too safe and pointing out the falling ratings. Well last night’s ceremony provided a talking point for all the wrong reasons as La La Land was mistakenly idenitifed as the Best Picture Winner, only for host Jimmy Kimmel to point out that it was actually Moonlight that won.
It’s a shame this bizarre farce (Warren Beatty’s hesitation and Faye Dunaway’s blurting were unforgettable for all the wrong reasons) overshadowed the ceremony itself. Then again some conspiracy theorists have suggested this could have been a stunt to counter the flagging ratings (if so doing a stunt near the end of your show is an odd bit of timing!)
People tend to forget that in recent years you don’t get board sweeping films so much now. Organisers are probably wary of being overly effusive for a particular type (the sensitive illness story, biopic etc) and so you end up with a roughly equal grab bag (Casey Affleck’s gritty performance, Emma Stone’s Hollywood throwback, Moonlight taking Spotlight’s underdog status).
Inevitably there will be some gripes. Kubo And The Two Strings has long been touted a great film from the Laika studio. I’ve yet to see but for me Zootopia deserved recognition because of the layers involved. On the surface it looks very cute but the combination of issues, character interplay and noir-style twists and turns made it accessible to pretty much anyone watching it. Suicide Squad’s makeup win was a great technical achievement but there is an element of me that wonders if it was a chance to wind up anti-DC fanboys “Oh you like Deadpool eh? Well a COMIC film will win…this one, right? You like this one.” A bit like having to smile when a relative buys you a terrible CD at Christmas.
It is always worth remembering as well that if your particular loved one misses out that they are in good company. Citizen Kane missed out to How Green Is My Valley, Martin Scorcese being snubbed six times before winning for The Departed (I do enjoy that one a lot but it is not quite on par with Raging Bull, Goodfellas or Taxi Driver which is no shame!) etc.
So where do the Oscars go from here? I think at four hours long the ceremony is over the top. Cut down on the faff and filler, focus on the people but also don’t be afraid of a little danger. I don’t mean bring back Seth Macfarlane but what this fiasco has taught us (if anything) is that what makes a ceremony memorable tends to be what goes wrong rather than what goes right!