Oscar Cynicism

25 02 2008

Cintra Wilson, over at salon.com posted a snippy (and, often, funny) review of the Oscars which takes the odd stance that, because people are still hating each other from the writer’s strike, we all went out and voted for foreigners to win the acting awards. Aside from the odd notions that:

  1. there are no foreigners in the Academy,
  2. American-born members can’t recognize value wherever they find it,
  3. we are some huge monolithic block that tends to vote in lock-step, and
  4. the Academy is an American-only instituion

    this completely ignores the fact that most of the other categories went to American born writers, directors, editors, etc. (well, not all of course, but Dante Ferretti can take home this and any future Oscars that we give out — he’s that good).

    However, she did get a funny dig about a fictional meeting between “Hollywood power brokers in $6,000 Brioni suits” as they… oh, hell, I’ll let her tell it.

    It must have been grim at that academy meeting, just a few weeks ago. No writers, just a bunch of liminal Hollywood power brokers in $6,000 Brioni suits sitting glumly around a large obsidian table in one of the Carrara-marble, earthquake-proof bunker-vaults deep in the ground under CAA, too depressed even to eat their grilled seafood salads.

    “Editors,” someone finally said, the idea light bulb suddenly reflecting off his hairless scalp.


    “Fuck the writers. They’ll all eventually eat each other like the Donner party. We have editors. This Oscars? We break new territory.”

    Eyes peer up hopefully through $3,000 Japanese glasses frames made of hammered titanium and hand-carved wood.

    “This year? All new: all old. We just montage the living shit out of it. Wall-to-wall montages of Oscar footage recycled from the last 80 years.”


    “Thank God.”

    “Let’s go home.”

    Actually, I’m sure lack of writing time accounted for the preponderance of mind-numbing montages that were presented last night. (Though I should point out that even the more written stand-up routines often felt… well… unwritten. Or, at least, not written very well. But at least they beat most of Jon Stewart’s ad libs.)

    To, once again, quote Wilson:

    For nearly every major award, there was a montage of all 79 other winners from the past. In short: This year, Oscar honored the heart-touching magic of the film industry’s celebration of life by sucking every possible ounce of spontaneous life, marrow and energy out of the event by waterboarding it to the point of gag-reflex failure with canned montages.

    Wilson then veers off into strained argument, self-parody of liberal American, about how we all are self-hating Oscar voters.

    Not that anybody asked me, but I found that I almost yearned for the day of atrocious bloated staging of the Best Song nominees. Aside from the earnestness of the song from ONCE, the other four songs suffered the twin disadvantages of being both too glitzy and too boring.

    My biggest diappointment, however, is that ATONEMENT wasn’t completely shut out.




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