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MurphTheSurf3 On February - 25 - 2013

1024px-Replicas_of_Academy_Award_statuette_2I don’t often do reviews but a good Oscar night, the film buff’s Super Bowl, is worth noting so here goes.

I have three criteria that separate a “good” Oscar Night from a “bad” one”

A) I did not feel bored.

B) I did not complain of boredom.

C) None of my friends at our Oscar Party made reference to A or B.

That’s it.

THUS LAST  NIGHT WAS A GOOD NIGHT….IN FACT A VERY GOOD ONE.

The Oscar happen whether the awards show airs or not. The votes are tallied and, in most cases, the end result is predictable (although there were several wonderful upsets last night – (Christopher Waltz, Ang Li come to mind).

So what kept the show from the dreaded boredom that can ruin the event.

1) Production numbers focused on the performers and not huge sets.

2) The whiplash effect of moving from respect to irreverence was like a good roller coaster ride.

3) McFarland had the singing, dancing, and funny man chops to move the show along.

4) And the orchestra, situated blocks away was more effectively used since there were no constraints imposed by being front and center in the Great Hall. It served as the Time Limit Enforcer holding down the understandable but schedule destroying acceptance speeches.

One Complaint. Voiced often: Get rid of the groups of presenters. What is supposed to be memorable repartee  falls flat or just gets messy. The Avengers presentation last night actually hurt. Give the award winners a few more minutes to gush.

But what really makes an Oscars night memorable are a few peak moments. Mine were:

1) Christopher Waltz for Best Supporting Actor- I was forced to see Django Unchained in the company of several friends (we have a pact that requires we honor each others film choices in rotation) and the film was redeemed by one of the quirkiest performances I have ever seen.

2) Lincoln for Best Production Design. I am a historian and the film had a feeling of raw, gritty reality capturing the period that I thought transported the audience to 1865.

3) Searching for Sugarman as Best Documentary. I am one of the very few who knew Sixto Rodriguez’s name before the documentary. I had “followed” him as a college kid attracted by Bob Dylan Lyrics, James Taylor Sound, and Simon/Garfunkel instrumentation. To see him come into his own now is a wonder.

4) Skyfall for Best Original Song. I am a fan of good Bond films (which means about half of them) but there have been few Great Songs. Among them Goldfinger, Nobody Does It Better, Live or Let Die and now, Skyfall.

5) And that Made for Oscar’s Night Pairing of Jack Nicholson and Michelle Obama. Not a natural mix but it worked because of the stark contrast between the two. Jack looking barely dressed up at all with his ill fitting tux, mussed hair, askew dark glasses, and his perpetual snarl and Michelle in one of the White House’s gorgeous State Rooms, dressed in Red Carpet Splendor, backed up by Marines in dress uniform (Marine Band Members?) and sooooooo well spoken.

MICHELLE WAS THE SMOOTH LIQUEUR AT EVENING’S END (and the cause of more than a few gag reflexes from the Right). What a great night cap!

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Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive.I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA.Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

32 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    Hey Murph -- I was more or less dragooned into watching the Oscars this week, since I was with friends who wished to carry on their tradition of Oscar night. Overall it was fun, but I’m in a deep sulk about the overlooking of Beasts of the Southern Wild. I did not expect that tiny Quevenzhane would win best actress (in fact I think that would be wrong given all the years others have worked) but the film is now one of the top two of my entire life for wonderfulness, and it did not even get a mention in virtually every write up and in the overall presentations. It was stunning -- and amazing because every time I projected something horrid was going to happen, the simple acts of human kindness shown by the actors belied my expectations and fears.

    I loved “Lincoln” -- I agree that it was the first time the grit and reality of the time was fully fleshed out in the man, the surroundings, the racial issues, the slimy politics to achieve greatness. I suddenly understood Lincoln as a real person -- NOT the granite monument of supernatural proportions. It made the accomplishments all the more powerful. I loved it, DD Lewis’ portrayal, and the story behind the event we all knew.

    But I will always love “Beasts” best. Having it get no real recognition seems to me another major oversight about what happens to film that have Black people as the heroes, Black people as the stars, Black people as powerful. Thank GOD for Michelle or I’d think Hollywood had become the GOP House of Reps. They still have a long way to go, but Michelle put them wise.

    Thanks for the review, Murph. Look forward to next year!

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    • SueInCa says:

      I did not see Beasts and it sounds like I will have to run it down. Another problem hollywood has is in the person of Stephen Spielberg and now it seems Ben Affleck. It is mystifying to me how a film could win for best picture and snub the director. The Director makes it all possible, schedules, calling scenes completion etc etc. Of course the actors make a movie too but if the actors were good enough for the film to win, how could the director not be good enough? Same with Spielberg.

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      • SallyT says:

        The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have been very closely linked throughout their history. Of the 85 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 62 have also been awarded Best Director.[1] Only four films have won Best Picture without their directors being nominated: Wings (1927/28), Grand Hotel (1931/32), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and Argo (2012).

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      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I have heard that there is a group in Hollywood that dislikes Spielberg. “Spielberg is lousy film maker. All his characters are stereotypes, and every one of them is over-the-wall ridiculous. There’s hardly a realistic thing in any of his movies.”

        Yeah…that’s Spielberg alright. Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Sugarland Express, ET, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Cape Fear, Amistad, Catch Me If You Can, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, True Grit, Super 8, Real Steel, AND Lincoln.

        Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). He has been nominated six times, and his films have dozens of awards and even more nominations.

        Do you know of other reasons why Spielberg has been dissed by glitter town.

        As to Affleck….a director who casts himself for the lead earns a lot of opprobrium from the actors…..

        Ang Li- Life of Pi…it is a beautiful film but the acting chops are small- find a good young man to play the part and then coordinate all the special effects.

        I think either Argo or Lincoln was a greater director’s accomplishment.

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        • SallyT says:

          Murph, I think Steven Spielberg has won three Oscars, and nominated 12 times. He won two Academy Awards for the film “Schindler’s List” and one for “Saving Private Ryan.” And was honored with a fourth Academy Award when he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1987.

          Maybe they feel he has enough??

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Beasts had the feel of a documentary and that was both its power and its failing. I found it very powerful and that it provided an insight into the life, the real life, of the very poor….we may not have much but we do have each other and that is worth holding onto. It is an important message.

      I remember when Color Purple failed to attract the honors many thought it deserved, despite critical acclaim and a strong box office.

      Sue makes a strong case for this in her comments.

      Love your comment about Lincoln as more than a stone profile -- captures my thinking precisely.

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      • SueInCa says:

        It is funny Murph but I think anyone who has been to the lincoln memorial thinks of Lincoln as a stone profile. I just now thought of it in your’s and CL’s convo

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      • SallyT says:

        Okay, Murph, I am not picking on you, please believe me on that! And, it is not so much that I disagree with you but have a different view. And, there is nothing that says I am right and you are wrong. No way, please trust me on that.

        I am sorry to say that I did not care for Beast of the Southern Wild. To me it was the glorification of a completely disfunctional kind of living (beyond just poverty), and the villianization of the state welfare people (mostly white) who are trying to help them. It gave the the notion that poor people didn’t want or need help during disasters; the sort of “they like living that way” dogma where people tell you homeless people don’t want to go to shelters, don’t want your help so there’s no point trying. A justification for doing nothing. Very satisfying for fiscal conservatives to point to people in this movie and say, well, there you go, you can’t do anything for those folks.

        And, another thing that turned me off on this film was that it came out during President Obama’s re-election and the thing for which he has been most excoriated, was increased access to healthcare (“Obamacare”). And this film which implicitly asks audiences to vote against healthcare. Wink doesn’t want treatment; Wink wants his freedom. Better to die early than spend time constrained by the steel chains of middle class mores? And, at a time when two lovely young African-American girls are growing up in The White House, audiences are asked to cheer instead for an African-American girl who lives in a shack?

        These two girls are the daughters of the first African-American First Lady, a highly-educated woman with a BA from Princeton and a JD from Harvard. Michelle Obama is a fashion icon as well as one of the most beloved people on the entire planet; Hushpuppy’s absent Mama has abandoned her daughter, leaving her with tatters. But, Michelle Obama loves this movie and recommended it. So, she wasn’t as critical as I am. However, I was watching from a different view point after growing up as I had. Thank goodness I got beyond that!

        Hushpuppy’s father is guilty of child abuse. Hushpuppy is mostly left to fend for herself, eating cat food and living in total squalor. Though her father, complains that he has to worry about her “all the damn time,” mostly he drinks, trashes his shack, and fires his rifle for the hell of it. “I’ma bust your ass,” he shouts, and then does just that—smacking his daughter hard across the face.

        I am sorry to be someone that can’t find as you do the beauty of the picture except for the photography. But, I think it is the first point I made that it gives justification to those that say, “the homeless are that way because they choose to be.”

        Again, this is just my view on this particular picture. I probably like many that you could tear down just as much and you have every right to do just that. This is just one of those few times, Murph, we are not on the same page but we are still in the same book! :)

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Howdy,

          Actually, we do not disagree I find something about the need to remain together and to hold onto a community compelling but the life it depicts has little to recommend it for all of the reasons you list. As I say in my post Beasts has the feel of a documentary but what it lays before us is profoundly disturbing. I did not find the film “entertaining” which is why I call it compelling. It is not pleasant but it feels very real. I did some work in Appalachia many years ago and the community there had the same feel to it.

          As to the timing….I never made that connection because I saw Beasts in January with a small group of friends. Of the six of us, the consensus was that there was truth there but it was fundamentally disturbing and an indictment on the entire social system.

          Well done, but horrifying….

          So I think we really are within a page or two of each other. The documentary appeals to me because it is honest and their is something, even if small, redeeming about the sense of home and family in this sad drama.

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          • SallyT says:

            Murph, I saw it in October and that is why I felt the timing was bad. However, it didn’t make any impact in the voting, thank goodness. But, I did have a conservative “friend” say to me something to the effect that I stated above. Murph, do you remember after Katrina and old lady Mrs. Bush saying about all those people crammed in that stadium, “These people never had it so good.” Or something like that. It made me think of her!

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            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              I suspect I may have had a different feeling about the film had I seen it in the political context you identify.

              I would probably have linked it to that awful screed “Obama’s America” -- Dineesh D’Souza’s propaganda piece.

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  2. SueInCa says:

    Hey Murph

    Good write up on the Oscars. I am one of the few who refuses to watch them or any awards shows unless it is People’s Choice or American Music Awards. I used to watch them religiously and we would have people over and all but probably have not seen a show since sometime in 95. I just got tired of all the narcissism and patting their own backs.

    My first disappointment in that department was with The Color Purple. A movie that has withstood the test of time and the academy more or less ignored it. Was the story line a bit too true for them to acknowledge? I also had to think twice when Marlon Brando refused his award for the godfather because of Hollywood’s terrible treatment of native americans. Then Hattie McDaniel won her Oscar however could not sit at the big table up front with the other cast members because the Ambassador Hotel was still segregated. She was relegated to a table in the back of the room. Hollywood did nothing to correct these wrongs. Those are the kinds of things I want to see happen at the Oscars. I guess I would just rather make my own decisions about what films I want to see. Life of Pi, Lincoln, Argo, Django Unchained, Flight were all good movies IMHO. I don’t need people in Hollywood telling me what movies are good because that is just their own humble opinion yet they continue to parade around every year because they are so narcissistic. All that money could be better spent helping out people who need operations they cannot afford, donating to food banks, donating to wildlife organizations. Doing something lasting because while films are good entertainment, they can not take the place of a human caring about others.

    I drive my daughter nuts because she loves all that red carpet stuff. I tried a few years ago to watch it with her but ended up reading my book after all.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      As always, Sue, you sound the trumpet that calls us to consider the deeper morality in the everyday.

      I actually I agree with you on the cases you list.

      Still I look at what the academy has done to elevate a variety of communication crafts and I respect that. I also look at the growing effort by the Academy to promote the arts more broadly. The Academy has become more socially aware and a number of the abuses you cite would be taken on today (I think). I have found the efforts to elevate the importance of documentaries especially important.

      And this year in the top picture categories the Academy has soluted several important films of conscience (head on -- Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables and at an angle Django and Zero Dark Thirty).

      Yes, the whole thing celebrates all the Me’s, Myselve’s and I’s out there for whom being a celebrity is the essence of being, but that comes with the territory and film culture seems to require that in a significant part of its universe.

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      • SueInCa says:

        Murph
        I am probably too jaded but perhaps if there was recognition for some regular people in all this hoopla it would be easier for me to stomach. I know in their own individual ways many celebrities contribute to causes I hold near and dear and some I only find out about because they bring them to light. Maybe it is the constant round of “awards” that bugs me. Oscars, Grammys, CMA, BET, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Emmy’s on and on. I mean how many awards must they congratulate themselves with? I am not a big fan of CNN but I would rather watch awards for everyday heroes. They are the people who very seldom get recognition. And most of them are humbled by it.

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        • SallyT says:

          Sherlock, there are so many awards show now, you can’t keep up with all of them. But, i have continued to watch the Oscars. I love to see all the older actors but there weren’t many this time. Or is it that I am getting old and the actors are getting younger? I don’t watch the Red Carpet shows either. I wait for Yahoo to put them in order the next day if I want to see the dresses. You check out the Sunday Funnies this coming Sunday and there is a cartoon that covers pretty much everything you said. That one is dedicated to you from Watson!

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          • SueInCa says:

            Why thank you Watson. The only concession to the awards shows was I wanted to see the tribute to Bob Marley on the Grammys so I went back and forth to make sure I caught it. Actually I do like the performances that are put on but just cannot sit through all the me me me stuff.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Get your point and agree with it but who would watch the show you suggest (ratings) and who would sponsor such a show (paying for it and making money off of it).

          I know I am being crassly commercial here but money drives the bus in this.

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          • SueInCa says:

            CNN puts the show on every Thanksgiving. BET does a show once a year. Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head.

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            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Now that you mention them I too recall them….point taken…I wonder how they do ratings wise or are they subsidized by the commercial efforts like the programs we are talking about.

              One of my favorite musicals is Man of La Mancha -- in part because its message is about the nobility of the little guy.

              Your points are very well given and taken.

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  3. SallyT says:

    I thought Michelle Obama reading the winner of the Best Picture was a total surprise but a nice one. I don’t know if I would say this was one of the best Academy Awards show but I stayed tune and online with Yahoo coverage. That was fun to see the comments live and I made several that actually got published. My main complaint was the so called James Bond Tribute. That wasn’t much of a tribute after all the hype it had been getting. I did love seeing and hearing Shirley Bassey sing Goldfinger. At 76 she sounded great. But that was it except for a few fast clips from past movies. I thought that was a real let down. I have no complaints on the winners and liked how they were really spread out with many different pictures getting honored. Why they left Andy Griffin out of the memorial is beyond me. A Face In The Crowd is a classic and who can forget No Time For Sergeants. That was a big overlook. I loved Life of Pi and I did enjoy Django and was so happy Waltz won since I thought he did an excellent job. A very good film that was overlooked was Flight. I don’t think it got the attention it deserved and Denzel was just fantastic as the pilot with a drug and achcohol addiction. And, of course, who couldn’t enjoy seeing Barbra Streisand singing Memories. Wonderful!

    I agree with you, Murph, on having the presenters do a stand up act before reading the names. Just read the names and give the award to the winner and let them speak. That is a lot of waste of time and they usually aren’t that funny. McFarland did his best at trying to keep it rolling and entertaining. I thought he fell flat at times but that has to be a very hard job. How do you make people laugh when so many in the audience are nervous and anxious for you to just get to the awards! Finally, I thought there were some very good movies this year and I saw all of them except Amour. Hope next year will at least be as good if not better!

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hi Sally,

      I am with you in having enjoyed the show. I have a hard time deciding how a show compares with others once it moves into the “not boring” category. The ones in the boring category are dismissed but ranking the others is so dependent on how interested I was in the films that year.

      I thought this year was a relatively simple show and I liked that. Emphasis on the people which is why the Bond Tribute just did not seem to work. Had they assembled all of the Bonds, a bunch of the villains, and those beautiful ladies…NOW that would have been something…..it would have been its own show….so hard to see that happening.

      Now, the show did say it was going to salute great film music and that it did rather well- that was everywhere. One gets the impression that early on someone said “BOND at 50″ and they got stuck with something that was not very doable.

      This is the first show I recall where I liked every musical number and I was touched by Barbara’s beautiful rendition of Memories (which ended up, for me, being a salute to all of those who have passed on). Why no “Andy”- actually why no “whole bunch of people” BECAUSE it is a BIG list….so what they do is pick a sampling from all of the categories. Think of how many people are involved in just one film. I liked the simplicity of it.

      Amour- see it. But I warn you, it hurts. For me Amour was very real and Flight was not. I had SO many problems with the premise. I have a friend who is a pilot and says that they are so watched and so tested that someone like this guy would have had any number of people blowing the whistle on him. AND his confession at the end did not just put him in jail- it would have led to ruined lives all around….so he is no hero, no way. Just my opinion of course.

      May I also recommend The Impossible (a film of mother/son love that is deeply moving AND real), Searching for Sugarman about Rodriguez touched my 60′s radical soul, and How to Survive a Plague put me back in the midst of the AIDS epidemic.

      I thought it was a very good year for film. And this Oscars was carried by that.

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      • SallyT says:

        The news itself has shown that there have been problems with pilots. My pilot friend (yes I have one, too.) says that there will be more because of the airlines pressuring these pilots to work longer with fewer rest periods in between. And, the smaller airlines that work in connection with the larger airlines are not union and they are just pushing to make money. Also, there was a very good Frontline program about this subject. You should watch that if you haven’t. Of course Flight was not true but I think the addicttion issue was and the drama of dealing. None were true, including ARGO and of course Life of Pi. But, they are the movies and not documentaries. That has its own category.

        As far as the Bond Tribute, it is my understanding that neither Connery or Brosnan agreed to participate and that made planning difficult. But, I think they could have at lease named all the Bonds along with the pictures. 50 years of an on going theme and one that makes a lot of money desired a little more in my opinion. Ii is an award show for the industry.

        And, there was no special Oscar given this year for life time achievement. Wonder why? Also, maybe they should use TCM to do their Memorial for them. They do a much better job of it each year and get many more covered with a touching tribute in a length of a commercial break. (Theirs did include all the ones that many are not happy that the Oscar missed. TMC includes all that the Oscars did plus those missed and more that weren’t actors, too.)

        Obviously you are much more pleased with this years show than I was. I thought it was alright but not my favorite. Go back to Billy Crystal’s ones. I remember many of those even after all this time. However, they can’t make everyone happy, so if they made you, there you go, I am happy. But, Michelle was pretty!

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          My friend sent me to this article and several others for “balance” http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-08/bottle-to-throttle-a-short-history-of-drunk-pilots However, you make a strong case for the impact of the pressures on pilots (and their crews) and the lack of proper training, procedures and oversight of some of the airlines.

          I just found Flight so over the top that I could not give it a lot of space in my consideration.

          As to the Bond tribute…did not know about those who were unwilling to participate- shoots a hole right through it.

          The tribute- I have not looked at the TCM tribute. I will now.

          I found this list of Honorary Awards (which includes what is usually called Lifetime Achievement) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Honorary_Award

          I think this is the list of the Honorary Awards for 2013 (which actually get presented much earlier) http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2012/09/05/honorary-oscar-recipients-named-for-85th-academy-awards/

          And yes, I clearly enjoyed the Awards more than you, but that is what makes for a variety of opinion.

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          • SallyT says:

            Thank you for those links. I guess they needed more time for jokes that fell flat, so, these had to be given out earlier.

            I don’t think they are playing the TCM Remembers 2012 now. They usually start it in Dec and end in Jan. But, I think it might be on YouTube later. I looked but only found 2011 and older. You might like watching those to get an idea how good they handle this issue.

            I am having a bad day, so, maybe tomorrow I will have a better opinion of the Oscars. My opinion can change with the weather. So can my taste in movies. Sometimes I like a good drama and sometimes a comedy. But, I usually can find time for a good old movie mystery.

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            • SallyT says:

              Not really, Murph, I have seen TCM give memory to stunt people, writers, agents, composers, makeup, designers and much more than just actors and directors. Maybe the year you view there wasn’t but that is not true for all.

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            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              I found a TCM tribute from 2010 and it was excellent. Of course it focused almost entirely on the “screen personalities and directors” and the Academy really has to bring in all aspects of the industry.

              A day later I am less pleased with the MC’s performance as the jokes come under more scrutiny. Of course the responsibility for his patter is borne by a bunch of people since it is all geared to drive up viewership.

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  4. AdLib says:

    I was surprised at how McFarland appeared so comfortable doing a job that usually seems to stress out most who try. The humor was a little adolescent at times but edgier than most years…probably Chris Rock was the last host who was dangerously edgy.

    I agree 100% about the dumb joke chatter given to the presenters, it is so predictable and stiff, never clever. I heard an NPR promo for an interview with someone who’s been writing the Oscar quips for years as if that was something to be proud of (I made sure to change the station). That’s like celebrating Mitt Romney’s 47% speechwriter.

    One of my favorite bits was the sock puppet re-enactment of Flight.

    As for the winners of the awards, I was most happy about Ang Lee winning for directing Life of Pi which IMO, was hands down the best film of the year. Argo was a good fit for the Oscar voters, a film about Hollywood saving Americans but I don’t see it as a remarkable film, one that people will be watching 10 years from now while I think Life of Pi will stand up for many years to come.

    I’m one of those people who just didn’t connect with Django Unchained so Tarantino winning seemed more about Hollywood politics than anything else.

    Overall, when one compares this Oscars to last year with James Franco hosting and the painfully premeditated focus on young (not so talented) actors to goose the ratings with that important demo, this year’s was far better indeed.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      McFarland is a talented entertainer. AND he did the job the Academy hired him to do. I have read that the host’s material is reviewed like a Congressional bill markup. So he was the image of what they wanted.

      Edgy, irreverent, saucy, sexist, and willing to give up the floor to the really big names. I think he succeeded.

      I have to admit that for me he night’s entertainment was the music program (background music, musical tributes, blockbuster songs and the talent for those really had their A game at work).

      I enjoyed Life of Pi as a fable and a fabulous visual experience.

      My heart was torn and my mind elevated by Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Amour. I loved the drama infused into Les Miserables which for most musical lovers has become a comfortable old shoe and needed a fresh approach. Argo was involving and “fun”. Django was weird (like Bastards last year) in taking history and twisting it such that it provides the stuff of irony and macabre inspiration as historical fantasy. Zero Dark Thirty was beautifully done in its detailed telling of 80 percent of the story of the Killing of Bin Laden and a total distortion of the truth for a vital 20 percent- which is why the film deserved to be shutout. And Lincoln….I think this film will grow on me. I really liked it when I saw it the first time because I admired the artistry and the accuracy (while knowing that the drama portrayed is a bit of a sham…the amendment was going to pass the question was by how much). BUT, when I saw it a second time I just let Lincoln be Lincoln and I became entranced by the power of the film and of Daniel Day Lewis’ entering into the heart of the emancipator.

      Lastly I have to recommend two documentaries: Searching for SugarMan about Rodriguez and How to Survive a Plague about the Aids Epidemic.

      TRUTH was on display in both in as raw a form as I have seen.

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      • AdLib says:

        Murph, excellent points all around. In the annual junkyard of corporate cinematic garbage, there were these films of art and substance that deserved the recognition they received.

        As I was watching the show, I did think how silly, narcissistic and trivial it is and has to seem to those going through great difficulties in their nations or lives. People in Hollywood being put on a pedestal, not for actually rescuing hostages from Iran or killing Bin Laden but for pretending and play acting such things…none of these actors have likely ever risked anything truly invaluable.

        Christophe Waltz’s acceptance speech kind of displayed that inflated sensibility to me:

        We participated in a hero’s journey – the hero here being Quentin. And you scale the mountain because you’re not afraid of it. You slay the dragon because you’re not afraid of it and you cross through fire because it’s worth it. I borrowed my character’s words so sorry… couldn’t resist.

        Really? A multimillionaire director given $100 million to make a movie is risking so much and is being heroic? That’s the American definition of courage? For me that’s a bit much.

        What did allow me to appreciate the awards though is recognizing that movies, along with music are the central communal art forms for our society and art is important. It is what inspires us and sparks our imaginations, it is what connects us to our shared experiences and humanity.

        So, though the Oscars can be an elitist and egocentric event, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our creativity, history and conscience as a society.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I very much like Walt’s performance in Bastards and Django, but not the one from last night…Tarantino took risks but at this stage in his career success is pretty much guaranteed in some form.

          And then we have Lewis’ Speech:

          “I really don’t know how any of this happened. I do know that I’ve received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life and I’m so grateful to the Academy for this beautiful honor.

          It’s a strange thing because three years ago before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher. [Laughs] And Meryl was Steven’s first choice for Lincoln. And I’d like to see that version. And Steven didn’t have to persuade me to play Lincoln but I had to persuade him that perhaps if I was going to do it that Lincoln shouldn’t be a musical.

          My fellow nominees, my equals, my betters, I’m so proud to have been included as one amongst you. When we got married 16 years ago, or since we got married 16 years ago, my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men. I mean they were strange as individuals and probably even stranger if taken as a group. But luckily she’s the versatile one in the family and she’s been the perfect companion to all of them.”

          Self-effacing, humble, self deprecating, grateful and truly earnest…..

          When he was asked to take the role of Lincoln he said he hesitated and took several weeks to make his decision. “I was hesitant in taking on the role of Lincoln because I did not to be responsible for irrevocably staining the reputation of the greatest president this country’s ever known.”

          Remember Streep getting her award last year: “I had this feeling I could hear half of America go, “Oh, no, why her again?”

          We need more of that- not just the words, but the inner spirit that puts these celebrities into a context outside of fame and fortune.

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