The Oscars are ‘starting to feel a little off-key’
Academy Awards 2011
Post-Oscars night over in la-la land and the air is still ringing with the plummy tones of triumphant Brits abroad after ”ËThe King’s Speech’ continued its winning streak – scooping prizes for ”ËBest Picture’; ”ËBest Director’, Tom Hooper; ”ËBest Actor’, Colin Firth and ”ËOriginal Screenplay’, David Seidler.
Like a beloved yet slightly irritating pet Corgi, this pedigree movie has nipped relentlessly at the heels of the competition throughout award season – nabbing every top gong for its tug-at-the-heartstrings depiction of King George VI and his chronic stammer.
Not surprising really. Daniel Day Lewis’ left footed scribbles; Dustin Hoffman’s autistic gambling; Tom Hanks and his ”Ëbox of chocolates’ intellect”Â¦ Lord knows the Academy loves a good old-fashioned ”Ëtriumph over adversity’ tale – either that or a trip to the Wild West. Pity then that ”ËTrue Grit’ failed to triumph – rendering the Coen Brothers uncharacteristically empty-handed.
Over on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s latest status reads: “OMG! Only ”ËBest Adapted Screenplay’, Aaron Sorkin; ”ËBest Score’, Trent Breznor and Atticus Ross; and ”ËBest Editing’ for ”ËThe Social Network’ – LOL!”Â The outside bet failed to come up with the goods for ”ËBest Picture’, ”ËBest Actor’ or ”ËBest Director’.
Lucky then that feather-weight contenders Christian Bale and Melissa Leo provided at least two upsets on the night – lifting the ”ËBest Supporting Actor’ and ”ËBest Supporting Actress’ belts for ”ËThe Fighter’; leaving Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter to nurse bloodied noses.
Like Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest ”ËBlack Swan’ Natalie Portman fulfilled the bookies’ predictions – picking up the ”ËActress in the Leading Role’ award for her darkly brilliant transformation into a feathered Swan Queen.
And just like that particularly ludicrous display of political point-scoring, the Oscars are starting to feel a little off-key. As doubtlessly brilliant as they are, should the likes of uber-successful Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle or Ethan and Joel Coen continuously be shortlisted by the Academy? Does Colin Firth really need another gold-plated door-stop?
Given his miniscule stature, ”ËOscar’ certainly casts a long shadow when it comes to influencing our decisions at the box office. Couldn’t the Academy put their collective might behind relative unknowns more frequently ”â giving them a much-needed publicity boost? I’m not suggesting we ignore obvious brilliance, but I’d like to see nominees such as 14-year-old Hailee Steinfield as the norm and not the exception.
And while we’re on the subject, whatever happened to applauding creativity? Because let’s face it if as a film-maker you don’t pander to the Academy’s fetish for biopics, warfare or anything vaguely English you’re pretty much screwed; unless of course your costume, sound, cinematography, and CGI deserves a token gesture (yes, I mean you ”ËAlice In Wonderland’ and ”ËInception’).
In a year where one in five Hollywood films will be a sequel and the movie industry set a new record for follow-ups, it’s disappointing that the 2011 Academy Awards went to such a small pocket of fully paid-up members of the established Hollywood elite.