Why I didn’t watch the Oscars

Posted: March 3, 2014 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , , , ,

Basically, because I’m done with such meaningless and random celebration. To be noticed: I’m not implying “meaningless” as in shallow or empty or futile and not relevant for deep people. No, I’m talking as a person who’s perfectly able to sit and enjoy The Expendables or any of Hugh Grant’s movies. I mean because the way they grant the awards makes no sense at all.

Ellen De Generes' star selfie

Ellen De Generes’ star selfie

Besides what may have been the only funny note of the night: DiCaprio watching the chance to win slipping through is fingers once more or maybe not so much… the reality is that logic was head over heels.

Let’s quickly go through some of last night’s winners, as you can find it online if you Google the info:

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Best Directing: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Cinematography: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Best Film Editing: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)

Best Sound Editing: Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)

Best Visual Effects: Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

Best Original Screenplay: Her (Spike Jonze)

Can someone explain me what are the Oscar’s criteria to pick the best picture?

Looking at categories, it seems Dallas Buyers Club’s acting was consistently good (I’m not even getting into whether they were actually good because I haven’t seen the film, and I’m hoping these guys may have done something better and more relevant than only losing weight. I will give the benefit of the doubt to McConaughey, expecting he actually may have outperformed Chiwetel Ejiofor). It also seems Gravity was excellent at the technical level.

So, if not technical criteria, nor the performances, why 12 years a slave is the best film? Don’t get me wrong, I believe in this film’s merits but I have the sense it was awarded out of politics, not artistry, which makes me feel sorry for Alfonso Cuarón, who apparently put every effort in the visuals and the technical part of filming, and Jean-Marc Vallée, who apparently managed to get great performances from the actors.

Then, regarding the screenplay… A screenplay is a guideline for a filming crew to work with. It is not supposed to be an artistic product by itself, as long as its sole purpose is to be filmed, to become an audiovisual material. Then, why to separate an adaptation from an original idea? Both writers, Jonze and Ridley, had to produce a similar final product. Of course the process is different, but the outcome will aim at the same goal: to tell a great story that will become a film.

Then I feel terrible about Jonze, he’s the guy we must thank for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. In his own way, considering everything technical from photography to sound mixing and soundtracks to editing… isn’t Jonze as great director as Cuarón?

Katharine Hepburn said: “The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles.” It seems the same happens for directors…

I just can’t keep up with the Academy’s logic. And why to try it, anyway?


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