This year’s Academy Awards was all about the magic of the movies. Perhaps inspired by the likes of The Artist, Midnight in Paris, and Hugo, The Oscars wanted to cash in on some sort of nostalgic virus that seems to be going around Tinseltown these days. Hey, let’s get Adam Sandler to talk about his inspiration for getting into the movies, and making timeless classics like Jack and Jill and Grownups. There was just a lot of sappy reminiscing to go along with all the circle sessions that have become a Hollywood standard.
I was supposed to focus this piece on the music of The Oscars this year, but there really wasn’t much for me to take on in that regard. Billy Crystal’s opening number singing about all of the Best Picture nominations was alternating between entertaining and unnecessary. I’m sure all the movies nominated for Best Score were supremely aided by the scores of the respective movies, but what do you really want me to say about them. There was also the beautiful rendition of Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World”. Sung by Esperanza Spalding during the In Memorium. (Update: Listen to it here, sorry no video)
Then, we have the atrocity of only two songs being nominated for Best Song. I don’t care if you have to take three other songs from The Muppets (which I grudgingly must say was delightful even though Todd was the star), there is no reason not to have a full five nominees. The fact that Bret McKenzie wrote the music for a film that drove one of our own to stardom should have eliminated any need for question really.
But anyway, since there is not tons to write about in the way of music, I thought I would take a look at the actual winners and give a few thoughts. The Artist, Hugo, blah blah blah. Hugo, rightfully so, won a bunch of the technical awards despite being a fatally flawed film from a storytelling standpoint. The Artist, which I have not seen (so am not equipped to complain about it), won for Best Actor, Director, and Picture.
Despite the repetitious nature of the winners (and nominees for that matter), I was particularly pleased with two winners: The Descendants for Best Adapted Screenplay and Midnight in Paris for Best Original Screenplay. These were two of my favorite movies of the year and deserved recognition in some way, which they received. I was rooting for these films in other categories as well, but hey, you can’t win them all.
The biggest travesty in my eyes was Drive being summarily snubbed. I think it was only nominated for one award, probably because The Academy will only recognize violent movies involving the holocaust or a major war. Maybe if Ryan Gosling would have played a stunt car driver escaped from Treblinka trying to outrun Himmler, Drive would have gotten a little respect.
I guess that’s just the way it is though, and why we at LxL loathe award shows in general. Their widespread influence on what is viewed as good, or “the best”, will continue to peeve me. As will the constant pandering by The Academy to “the stars”.