By Niall McArdle
This is my last post on Oscars Week and I’d like to end on a humorous – but ranty – note. I’ve had a wonderful time putting together this week’s posts, and it’s been nice to recall some of the wonderful talent in front of and behind the camera. And thank you to all the fluffsters who commented on the stories.
I’m looking forward to all the razzle-dazzle of tonight’s show. I know Ellen De Generes will do a good and funny job presenting. I’ll sympathise with the losers. I’ll feel sorry for the winners of the “minor” awards: you know, the people you’ve never heard of who do special effects work or sound design, because they will get played offstage by the orchestra before they’ve had a chance to finish their speeches. I expect to hear loud applause when Philip Seymour Hoffman’s face appears in the In Memoriam section (here’s a prediction: he’ll be the last person in the segment). I hope the show ends sometime before 2015. If you are in need of an Oscars ballot, you can print one off here. And if you’re planning an Oscars party at the last minute and need some ideas, you can find some here.
But in the end the Oscars, as much I love to watch them, are sort of bullshit. I think it’s a wonderful idea to recognise the hard work and talent of the people who work in the film business (especially the craftspeople who work behind the scenes in unglamorous suroundings, many of whom still have to juggle their finances to make the rent). But if it really is all about Art, why do studios and actors campaign like politicians to get members to vote for them? And how can you fairly judge artistic endeavour? Can you really compare one actor’s performance in a film with another in a different film with a different story, different director and different theme? Did Tom Hanks do a better job portraying an American man dying of AIDS (in colour) than Liam Neeson did portraying a German man who discovers a conscience and saves hundreds of peoples from the Nazis (in black and white)? Tom Conti was asked about the Oscars once; he confided he usually just voted for the stars he thought were good-looking.
Tim Robbins directed Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn in a hard-hitting, thoughtful death row story, Dead Man Walking. Mike Figgis directed Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue in a heartbreaking, melancholic story of alcoholsim and despair, Leaving Las Vegas. Which of them did a better job? Who can say? The Academy thought Mel Gibson did much better than both of them directing hundreds of Irish extras dressed up as medieval Scots running around a field in Braveheart.
So perhaps the Oscars are getting a little outdated. Isn’t that why they keep trying to change up the format, to get more young people watching? Perhaps the Academy needs to redefine the awards. Maybe it’s time for an overhaul. With that in mind, I present:
Oscars Categories We’d Like To See
Best Use of a Prosthetic Penis
Best Portrayal of a Homosexual by a Heterosexual
Best Credit Sequence
Best Crowdfunded Picture
Best Meryl Streep Performance of the Year
Best Portrayal of a Heterosexual by a Homosexual
Best Comeback Performance by a Veteran Actor Who You Thought Was Dead
Best Portrayal of a Character Dying of a Fashionable Disease
Best Independent Comedy featuring Affluent, Socially-Conscious White People
Best Performance by an Actor in a Role Intended for Philip Seymour Hoffman*
Best Inspiring Film about Earnest Ethnics Overcoming Hardship in Low-Income Surroundings
Best Performance by a Beautiful Actress Not Wearing Makeup in a Non-Glamorous Role
Best Adapted Tweet
* Too soon?
Enjoy the show, my fluffsters.