Another Year. Another set of Academy Awards. Anything New? Well, sorta..
I hate the defeatism that sometimes pervades social commentary on the Oscars. If you are able to sit and say ‘I hate the Oscars’? Then they still matter to you. We would all love to be there, receive one, make a speech. Right?
Well, I would, anyway. However, it is fair to say that there has been a sense of joy and fun drained somewhat in the last 15 years? Oh for the days of a Billy Crystal / Jack Nicholson double act! Wasn’t Jim Carrey meant to host at some point?
The whole thing feels less inviting to us, the little people. It’s less of an entertainment nowadays. Less of a celebration, more a self congratulatory sermon love letter to itself. That said? Let’s look at some highlights..
- PARASITE won BIG. Did it monopolise too much? Maybe. But this puts to bed any notion that diversity is an issue, surely? I think it will also awaken the joys of Korean Cinema. It’s a nation whose movies make you think; always asking tough questions about social politics, whilst innovating and taking risks. That warrants celebration. Congratulations!
- BRAD PITT Finally took home a gong. This is a lifelong character actor, saddled with leading man looks and profile. His work on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a great enhancement to the film. Well done, Brad! And no, it was not a political speech he gave; he just made a passing satirical reference.
- 1917 arguably under-performed, relative to expectation? But it did not go away empty handed and Roger Deakins always is a great part of the Sam Mendes look /feel in a film. So, despite no director or picture gong,. the movie’s visual ambition /innovation were indeed well rewarded.
- JOKER had deserved wins in Best Actor and Best Score. First woman to win best score, too? Well done, Joaquin Phoenix : your speech also was heartfelt and personal. This is not virtue signalling or WOKE. The guy has been a passionate if eccentric defender of animal welfare and it’s a fairly inclusive, apolitical cause.
- Hildur Guðnadóttir winning for best score surely puts to bed any notion that women are somehow being neglected? She beat John Williams! Take that, Natalie Portman (who wore a dress woven with names of forgotten female directors? Why do it like that? They haven’t died ffs? Now JANE FONDA: That is a girl who knows how to protest in style!).
James Corden also turned up and tried to be funny. There was no stopping him. Security just left him be, bless them.
There was a moving tribute to Phillip Schofield for coming out as a proper Gay man. They thought it was the dude off Man for All Seasons.
There was a half hour silence out of respect to Kirk Douglas, RIP.
Congratulations to ALL winners and nominees and their Moms.