09 January 2013

Awards Humbug

When I was younger my best friend and I would get so excited about the Oscars, scrambling to see the nominees and then putting together a fabulous Oscar party. Either I'm getting older or the ceremonies are getting ever more tedious. Probably both, but how can I know? I'm surprised that I've gotten to that attitude that always made me bristle when I encountered it in others: I don't for the life of me understand the point of giving out these awards. Well, scratch that. I understand multiple points for the awards. I just believe that the extent to which these awards mean anything is severely limited. The Spirit Awards are still marginally interesting to me, but my relationship to the Academy Awards is generally characterized by a blend of indifference and frustration. I mean, how do you get excited about a thing like that when this crap exalting groupthink prevails. I'll admit that Lincoln is partially redeemed by a few strong performances (like David Strathairn, whom nobody seems particularly interested in nominating for anything) and an interesting script, but, hello, it's total kitsch, and Sally Field, bless her heart, certainly didn't help matters. Argo, Django Unchained, and Zero Dark Thirty are all mind-numbingly unremarkable. Well, the Tarantino one was remarkable for making me think about how much liked Lars Von Trier's Manderlay better, just like, I suppose, I couldn't stop thinking as my mind wandered during the insipid Argo how much I liked Persepolis. Then you have the adaptation of Les Miserables that was so botched and marred by bad style that you'd think it was directed by the same guy who delivered the shlocky The King's Speech. I haven't seen Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Silver Linings Playbook, but I'm hopeful they'll be better than most of the other presumptive nominees. Right now, the only credible nominee is the uneven, Spielbergified Lincoln.
What was so great about Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone? I like her, and it was a decent performance, but why has the borg decided it was such a powerful performance? Because she's vain and likes to dance with killer whales and get banged by abusive men? I don't know, I think that movie was kind of overrated. And for man-acting, the only performance that will likely be nominated which is neither bad nor inconsequential is that of Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln. I mean, again, I like Hugh Jackman, but his turn as Jean Valjean made me feel like I was watching a spoof on SNL. Actually, I felt that way through most of the movie, so it's probably Tom Hooper's fault, but why not blame the lot of them, I say. Ben Affleck was fine in Argo, but is that what this award means? Award to the least inadequate high profile performance?
It's been a lousy year at the cineplex. I'm hoping I love Silver Linings Playbook and Beasts of the Southern Wild enough that I don't spend the next two months sulking about the fact that I can't think of a single mainstream film that I liked better than Cloud Atlas  or Sleepwalk with Me. What???? Thank god that living in Chicago means I can see movies any day of the year that have nothing to do with the cineplex. I feel like I'm being an elitist here, but seriously, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are the best you've got?

PS- Also, don't even get me started on Seth McFarlane. I appreciate that he's a fellow traveler on the yellow brick road and all, but if Ted (or Magic Mike, btw) get nominated for anything, something inside me will probably die. Speaking of the yellow brick road, I'll probably plotz for shock if How to Survive a Plague gets nominated since those documentary voters sure hate gay people. I see on one of those odds websites it's currently ranked as second choice to win the award, but I'm pretty skeptical, if past is prologue.

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