If you’re like me, you’ve been working in the entertainment industry for years, you’ve seen your fair share of unfair nepotism and you’ve been denied the basic encouragement necessary to get yourself ahead of the competition.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering why the hell you keep supporting such a high brow industry if what you really enjoy watching are the emotional stories buried in films without named talent or million dollar budgets. So why did we tune in this year? Why do we keep responding to these award shows like they’re elections?
There’s Nothing Else On
True. So very true.
I don’t have cable anymore. I have a Roku with a few streaming channels and a set of HD rabbit ears I got from Radio Shack for $40 bucks. I don’t watch TV anymore. I watch content one program at a time. However, there are faults when you live primarily off of a streaming device. You have to choose. You cannot simply flip through channels or put on a shuffle option. You can’t come into a program halfway through. Sometimes you can’t even select an option without turning off what you’re already watching. Having a Roku kinda sucks. Until, of course, you go back to broadcast cable.
Did anyone else watch the Oscars and think, “My God, there isn’t a single show on ABC that I would actually enjoy watching.”
What the hell was that show with Jack the Ripper? Jack the Ripper traveled in time to 2017 and just kept killing women? Really? He’s so obsessed with murder that the idea of time travel needs less than 5 seconds of explanation? No one is concerned with how that fucker got to 2017? We’re just going to watch his best friend casually track him down?
If it wasn’t for the Oscars (and Agents of Shield because I’m a nerd and leave me alone) there would be no reason for me to watch ABC networks. If it wasn’t for the Oscars I’d be stuck choosing which Seinfeld episode is old enough for me to have forgotten most of the jokes by now. If it wasn’t for the Oscars I’d probably have done something that doesn’t support the Hollywood entertainment genre with millions of new people growing addicted every day - like read a book.
I Like to Know What Everyone Else is Talking About
Right off the bat, we’ll get this out of the way - I do not mean the gossip in TMZ coverage. For the most part, concerning Hollywood, I never know what anyone else is talking about. I don’t know who’s dating who, which baby is adopted, which charity Matt Damon is funding, or how many auditions Ryan Gosling went on before he became a dreamboat. I don’t know and I don’t care.
I do care, though, if we’re talking about which movie had the best editing. Which script was most like its adapted work. Which actor pulled out all their moves. Which score really spoke to you. How many editors it took to complete a film and anything else that deals with the actual production of film.
If Moonlight won Best Picture, I want to know so I can congratulate them. If LaLa Land won best picture I want to know so that I can complain about them. If La La Land mistakenly wins and then hands the award to Moonlight, I want to know so that I can get in on the conversation about how the Oscars almost got through an entire night without being called racist.
I Liked The Films This Year
Typically only a few films dominate the entire scope of the Academy Awards. There’s that one film (LaLa Land) that perfectly captures Hollywood, has hella money put into it, and employs only beautiful people with huge fanbases. There are so many incredible films that come out in a year and yet it seems the Oscars only have a selection of 20 or less films to choose from. Why would I want to watch an Awards Ceremony for twenty films?
However, this year was different. Considering the backlash they got from last year’s nominations, the academy finally learned that they can expand their horizon. Someone on the judges panel finally said “Hey, y’know these independent films have been consistently better than our hollywood pictures for years.”
Moonlight was the stand out picture this year. I caught the trailer months ago and my girlfriend’s been asking me to see it for every one of those months. We finally did and I absolutely loved it. I don’t have to tell you that the independent film market is exponentially more poignant than anything out of hollywood today, but I do need to tell you that you shouldn’t wait until a film is nominated before you see it.
Movies are designed to entertain, but their true meaning is to communicate.
Just like any story, it needs to hit your heart before it touches your mind or even your erogenous zones. If you see a trailer for a film about someone you do not identify with…. go see that movie.
I Didn’t Want La La Land to Win
Maybe it is an amazing film. Maybe the acting is superb, the choreography is seamless, the story is surprisingly heartfelt and the editing is on point - but does the story do anything for you? I know that, for me, the story of an actress struggling to be an actress while falling in love is not something I’m just dying to see or need to see.
Why are we so obsessed with Hollywood that we’re willing to award the highest prestige to a film about hollywood.
Like why the hell does an actor’s struggle even interest us? Their struggle represents a communication between art and critic. They struggle so that you no longer see the actor, only the character.
Writers cannot stop writing about writers and it seems that filmmakers want to do the same and only make films about filmmakers (or actors).
I’m all for a good story and maybe the character doesn’t matter if what they’re doing is still poignant. Like when you watch Adaptation or even Secret Window. Yes, they’re stories about writers writing but they go through enough development in the film that you sort of forget they’re writers. Charlie Kaufman struggles so much with writing an original adaptation of a book that you forget he’s Charlie Kaufman. You see him saunter on the outskirts of their set with Jon Malkovich playing Jon Malkovich and you say poor Charlie Kaufman, look at him mope. When in reality you would see Charlie Kauman and say oh how I wish I could have at least one killer script like Charlie Kaufman.
The Country is So Divided That We Rely on Celebrities to Say The Right Thing
I understand when people say celebrities should just stick to what they know. I get it. They’re not politicitians, they don’t know how difficult and complicated it is to run a country, but neither does Donald Trump.
Who the hell votes for a celebrity (D List) and then complains when celebrities discuss politics?
We elected a man who insults people like he’s winning a carnival game. A few more A listers on his bucket list to insult and he’ll get two countries to run next year.
Every single day we’re batting off new insults from the leader of the free world and either we’re excusing his sense of humor or we’re making plans to visit the next Town Hall. The country is in turmoil over this year’s election and not a single one of us can stop talking about it. How could we? It’s our lives.
So when the Oscars, or the Emmys, or even something as simple as the next Pet Grooming Showcase comes on television we’re all waiting to see if that specific celebrity is either a hate monger like our president, or a servant of good will and justice.
We need celebrities to speak for us again. We need them to help us feel justified. If my whole family votes for Donald Trump, but Denzel Washington says Fuck him then I’ll feel better about attending Easter Dinner this year. If my old boss says that Trump is a smart man and deserves respect then all I need is for possible rapist Casey Affleck to say one nice thing about muslims and I’ll feel better about working 8-hour-days for a narcissist again (though Casey is probably a a narcissist too).
There were some powerful speeches that night, but one that stood out to me wasn’t even about politics. It was about filmmaking in general. It was Mahershala, who won for best supporting actor, who said that it is not about the actor - it is about the character. He said that they are in service to that character and that it does not matter who he is, it matters who the character is. I thought that was beautiful and it summed up my reservations about La La Land getting as many nominations as it did.
I Think Jimmy Kimmel is Revolutionizing Comedy One Viral Video at a Time
I don’t even watch his show, but I know that Jimmy Kimmel is on the verge of changing the late night landscape. He’s the only host who knows that entertainment doesn’t start and end on TV anymore. It’s in our homes and it’s on our phones. He’s not playing board games with Jimmy Fallon, or devising slapstick ridiculousness with Conan O’Brian. He isn’t even discussing politics like Stephen Colbert (who I love and respect but still miss his old show) and he isn’t jerking off each celebrity who visits him like that dude on CBS (who I thought was hilarious on the Hulu show).
Kimmel is pranking the world and we love him for it. He literally invited a real tour bus into the show and introduced tourists to celebrities. He closed a gap that’s been growing as fast as the universe is expanding. He connected reality with fantasy and he even shocked a few celebrities in doing it. It was something I’d never seen before in such a high-brow awards show and it’s the exact reason I was looking forward to watching.
Then he tweeted Donald Trump. Live. He put his phone up to the screen and reached out the one man who’s made it his life goal to exact revenge on every person who’s ever put moral integrity above financial gain. Jimmy Kimmel put the fate of the show in the hands of the unknown. He banked on Trump responding and probably had a great skit in store for when he did. Despite the fact that our POTUS remained quiet for the evening, the skit (or act or stunt or protest) was a daring feat of un-rehearse-able showmanship.
There Was Bound to be a Fuck-Up for the Night
There’s always going to be one huge mistake in these shows nowadays. I thought it might’ve been one of those color guard flags smacking Auli’i Cravalho in the head during her big song. It was subtle, but we saw it and laughed and thought this is what they’ll talk about tomorrow.
But we all know there was more than just that one incident.
There was Brie Larson refusing to clap for Casey Affleck. A small, subtle, form of protest.
Then there was the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway Flub at the end. They gave the two the wrong envelope and though Warren obviously knew the difference, the error occurred anyway.
Some people will say it was planned. Some will guess that it was an act of defiance. That the academy couldn’t just give Moonlight (a fringe story by their standards) the award. They had to make a scene and show their frustrations. They had to give La La Land the ability to thank the academy before the real winner was given the chance. We may never know how something as simple as an envelope got so mixed up, but does it matter? Isn’t the damage already done?
The Oscars are Evolving
By last night’s win we finally can say that the scope of the Oscar’s film reach is growing. Real stories are being acknowledged so that brave filmmakers, instead of wealthy ones, can be rewarded for their commitment.
It gives one hope.
It gives all of us hope that we should keep telling dangerous stories. That there are characters out there who still need to be heard and now the world is ready to listen. Yes, the world according to the academy.
Suicide Squad won an Oscar…
A lot of people like to hate on that film but I’m so happy that it got recognition enough to keep going. Keep making DC films. I don’t care if you guys don’t like them, I do. Yeah the movie sucked, but did anyone really not enjoy watching Deadshot make holes in steel by shooting hundreds of different bullets into one single spot? C’mon….
Who the hell saw Hacksaw Ridge?
I’m sorry, I know the story is true and it’s a good story and Spiderman is a great actor and Mel Gibson hasn’t been at one of these shows in 8 years but where the hell was Silence? The Martin Scorsese epic that deals with conflicts in religion… Where was that film? And didn’t Hacksaw Ridge look like a student film with more money? The whole movie was color corrected to look like a Time Warner commercial.
Why did Zootopia win best animated picture?
I saw the film. I didn’t really like it. It was slow, not funny, not very creative and it didn’t seem like it took a lot of effort to make. Yeah, the story hit some pretty big topics but you only need to see the trailer for Kubo before you know that the work behind one of their scenes equals the work behind the entire Zootopia feature.
Maybe it was a good idea, but fuck em’. Get three big directors to make a commercial based on one receipt. Yeah, okay. One guy at the Wal-Mart meeting had a decent idea and everyone else just went sailing instead (or whatever rich people do). But don’t we hate Wal-Mart? Isn’t Wal-Mart the engine of monopoly? Don’t they treat their employees like cattle? Isn’t their existence a blight on the success of the working class? How did they get someone like Seth Rogen to work for them? It just doesn't make sense to me. And those commercials were terrible by the way. Items in a basket for a UFO? A series of dance routines through a window? Did they just skip the whole challenge and say “Let’s make the most expensive commercial we can?”