Ten Positive Aspects about an otherwise awful Academy Awards
Is GREEN BOOK the worst Best Picture winner in Oscar history? Or at least since CRASH? It’s certainly in the conversation. But I’ve been berating how terrible many of the Oscar nominees were since they were announced. Enjoyable movies, yes, but not “Best of the Year” quality. I think everyone has said enough about the bad choice to pick GREEN BOOK as the Best Picture of the year at the 91st Academy Awards. But is it a real surprise? I’m not sure. I outlined this course a few days before the ceremony actually happened in my Best Picture Breakdown and Predictions (click the link to read). I’m not going to dump on the choice any further. It’s clear that while the Academy is still progressively trying to overcompensate to the backlash of #Oscarssowhite criticsm a few years ago, this year’s problem was more of an #Oscarssosafe problem. Actually, judging by the nominees, I might say #Oscarssosingsongy as they were celebrating music over great filmmaking. Or perhaps even #Oscarssopop choosing ratings or popularity over great artistry. I think we have enough negativity in the world without the need for me to add to my disappointment in their choices. Only another reason why the wonderful WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? should have been nominated and won Best Documentary. But I digress. The ceremony wasn’t all bad and I was even happy about some of the wins. Even though I might throw a tiny jab every now and again, lets take a look at ten positive aspects about an otherwise awful Academy Awards.
Dishonorable Mention: Under Pressure – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY’s ability to win the most awards of the evening (4) and not even once mention director Bryan Singer, who was fired from the project after it was presumably mostly finished, was pretty impressive. To be clear, I wouldn’t say winning awards the film doesn’t deserve (especially in editing) is a positive. But it is impressive that despite an obvious controversy in filmmaking and even lack of quality to astute film enthusiasts, the film was still able win and not credit its shunned director. The fact that the a film had so much support, which I assume was based on people’s love for Queen music, is baffling. Their wins were like some crazy car accident, where it’s a complete disaster, but I can’t look away. Even the oddly chosen clip they showed of Rami Malek’s best performance was a poorly edited moment (which they won) of him lip synching to a Queen song. It also supports my theory that people are blinded by quality filmmaking as long as their is good music being played.
10. Captain America to the rescue! – I’m sure by now many of you know about Chris Evans’ chivalry. In 2015, he helped Betty White up the stage at The People’s Choice Awards. It didn’t take long for Captain courteous to do what we all are suppose to do once again. Chris Evans runs to help Regina King up on stage after her name is announce for Best Supporting Actress at the 2019
People’s Choice Academy Awards.
9. I see dead people – I know as they do every year, they missed some key names in the Memoriam. But as presentations go, it was one of the bests. The audience did not clap through the images, getting louder for their favorites (or at least it was quiet for the TV audience). And the orchestra was a much classier touch than an actual vocalist. Inevitably it usually becomes more about the singer as the camera often feels the need to get plenty of shots of the singer instead of the people who died the past year.
8. I’m Mary Poppins y’all – Keegan-Michael Key coming down from the rafter with umbrella in hand to introduce Bette Middler singing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns was actually better than Bette Middler singing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns. His inability to close the umbrella and figure out where to put it is a classic comedy routine at its best.
7. A Star is mostly ignored – A STAR IS BORN wins Best Song and Nothing Else! There is no denying the wonderful performance by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for a song that was destined to win this category. Good on Cooper for writing, staring, and directing his first motion picture. However, outside of “Sh-sh-sh-Shallow” it had no business near the award ceremony. I’m not sure the film was even in the top five from first-time filmmakers this past year (ahem, EIGHTH GRADE, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU).
6. “They gave us one of the big ones.” – John Mulaney’s delivery as he knowingly yet sincerely feigns excitement presenting Best Animated Short had me in stitches. Awkwafina and Mulaney might be a host ticket worth voting for. “I want these people to like me to a degree that I find embarrassing.”
5. McCarthyism – Melissa McCarthy instantly makes anything funnier than written. Yes, I know Brian Tyree Henry was standing up there too to introduce Best Costume. But it was McCarthy’s dead pan seriousness in her bunnified royalty dress as she plays with a puppet bunny in the “subtlest” manner possible.
4. The Three Amigas! – I am in no way condoning remaking my favorite comedy of all time with the female cast (although I will take a percentage for the idea). Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Maya Rudolph were the perfect comedic team to open the show. Much better than Adam Lambert and Queen singing We will Rock You. Again, this is the Oscars, not the Grammys. I was thankful to be comforted by some veteran funny women pretend hosting my hostless award show.
3. Brother’s gotta hug – BLACKKKLANSMAN wins Best Screenplay! – Samuel L. Jackson’s happiness as he lifts and bear hugs his long time friend Spike Lee while presenting him with Best Screenplay was absolutely contagious. But also, as the film I was mostly rooting for, I was genuinely happy for BLACKKKLANSMAN in their only win. Other well-deserved wins: ROMA (3), THE FAVOURITE (1), FIRST MAN (1).
2. I ain’t afraid of no Host! – Much to the surprise of many, The Oscars proved they didn’t need a host. In fact, they might be better served without one. The show moved smoothly and uncumbersome as the show focused on the awards (when it wasn’t focusing on all the pointless songs much to my chagrin). I feel like the Oscars have accidentally stumbled across a formula. Keep it as it is without the host, but with comedians presenting. Also cut all the music, maybe replace it with a splash more movie humor or montages and we are back in business hitting the three hour mark (or just above).
1. My Favourite – Olivia Coleman Wins Best Actress, Wins Best Speech, Wins our hearts – Easily the best part of the night for me was when Coleman surprisingly upset Best Actress favorite Glenn Close. I love Close and she has very deserving performances in her portfolio. But the Academy actually chose the performance that deserved to win over the sentimental favorite. It was the happiest moment for me that was confirmed with her delightfully, humorous, and down to earth speech. It also gave one of the best films of the year at least one Oscar and proved the Academy can still be unpredictable… in a good way.