Monday, February 25, 2013

Hollywood's Biggest Night Comes Off Sounding Hollow

The three-and-a-half hour long Academy Awards proved as long and as dull as many of its motion picture nominees. Hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, the “Music in Movies” themed ceremony disappointed Oscar-lovers and bored all.   

MacFarlane possessed the energy and ego necessary for a successful Oscar host but his variety of sexist/racist/ageist quips earned little to no laughter from the front rows. He essentially avoided an opening monologue, relying on gimmicks such as sock puppets, song-and-dance numbers, and a painfully long gag with a saggy William Shatner as Captain Kirk.   

The winners produced few surprises save Christoph Waltz’s win over Tommy Lee Jones, though the shock value only lasted about as long as Jones’ ability to hold a smile. Anne Hathaway and Daniel Day-Lewis surprised no one with their respective wins for Best Supporting Actress in Les Miserables and Best Lead Actor in Lincoln.

I don't know what's going on either, Jack.
Hathaway, who received a lot of unwarranted criticism for her awards season overexposure, gave a breathy acceptance speech thanking her cast mates and new husband while Jennifer Lawrence further endeared herself to the world when she tripped on her way up to accept her award for Best Leading Actress. Her clumsiness was met with a standing ovation to which she responded saying, "You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that's really embarrassing but thank you."

Ang Lee’s directing win for Life of Pi proved a hollow victory in a category that failed to recognize Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow for their directorial achievements. It’s not that Lee didn’t necessarily deserve his prize, but his win felt like less of an accomplishment without his fiercest competitors in the race.

The political controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty’s portrayal of torture seemed to have done its damage as Bigelow’s film was completely shut out, save for an unexpected tie with Skyfall for Best Sound Editing. But Argo earned Affleck his overlooked recognition when he accepted the Academy’s top honor for Best Picture.

Perhaps “Mediocrity and Meandering” should have been the night’s theme. The montage tribute to James Bond was poorly edited and uneven sound levels diminished Adele’s stellar Best Song performance; jokes were Amour-level funny while the directing seemed lazy. But who knows? Maybe it was all part of the Academy’s master plan: showing audiences that putting together a good production isn’t as easy as it looks.

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