Brace yourself munchkins, because the mother of all self-aggrandizing faux-important arbitrary pretentiousness in award shows is right around the corner. That's right, It's Oscar time. Or as the late great George C. Scott famously called it: it's 'meat parade' time. Get ready for actors shakily thanking their parents and pointing to the heavens through tears, snarky documentary filmmakers giving condescending political rants, and really dated show business jokes from Billy Crystal. Not to mention the inflated cost of elaborate sets the industry will use for just one night and not even recycle, and the bloated fatheads of big money studio executives nodding along as they clap for films they shoved down the academy's throat all year.
I don't know why I'm so bitter honestly, considering how much I obsess over the Oscars every year, and shamefully know basically all of its history backwards and forwards like a 2nd grade math test. But perhaps its that very reason that I'm raving against them. I'm tired of them building me up every year and then letting me down by not even nominating said year's best films or performances because they were too 'controversial' lets put it that way. Instead, they give one to Kevin Spacey or Colin Firth and go on break. They are just too predictable, too long, too schmaltzy, and after they're done you're wondering how the hell you can get out of having to listen to winners who should have been losers gush on CNN the next day about how hard they worked and how they never expected it.
The Academy reminds me of Capitol Hill, just a lot of out of touch rich old folks who hide away in their Brentwood mansions watching themselves over and over again in a private theater talking about the good 'ol days of the Hays Censorship Board and the iron fist of the studio system a la Norma Desmond. Sure they let in people like Jesse Eisenberg and Scarlett Johansson, but I think that's just for show that they are still 'with it'.
Knock it off with the redundant history-of-the-movies montages (even though back in the day those were the best part of the telecast) and give me something I've never seen before instead of regurgitating the same old shit. And I swear if Billy Crystal opens with a song this year (as he almost most definitely will) i'm having a fit.
Of course, to me, and relevance to this blog, a huge snub this year was Michael Fassbender for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Shame (2011). But it was such a predictable snub, I wasn't for a minute thinking that he would make the list. Leave it for the critics to judge a performance based on 'merit', the Academy has backs to pat and asses to kiss. And if there's even a hint of penis in there, you can kiss your chances at Oscar glory goodbye.
Of course this is all relative, because there was that year (1969) when Midnight Cowboy took home Best Picture honors, the first and only film with an 'X' rating to do so, though it's pretty tame by today's standards. And let's not forget Halle Berry's win for Monster's Ball (2001) or Charlize Theron's win for Monster (2003) or Glenda Jackson's win for Women in Love (1969) (she was smart enough not to show up that time, or again when she won for A Touch of Class in 1973) but those are anomalies in an otherwise mundane self-censoring trend that the Academy follows.
Below is a clip from Women in Love (1969) based on the novel by the fabulously perverted D.H. Lawrence, directed by one of the greatest fabulous perverts of all time, Ken Russell. These are the kind of films that used to win Oscars, but that was a different time.
This year, the nominees are a joke. Basically all of them, except for The Artist (2011) which was fine, but its going in as the film that's slightly better than 'just ok', and hopefully it will win, but when you win in a year of crap then are you really winning at all? And let's not forget just how prude the Academy is. Even if the individual Academy voter is very open minded, and progressive, the Academy as a whole is very hypocritical like that. They will nominate Brokeback Mountain (2005) which was the clearest and best contender for Best Picture honors that year but they wouldn't let it win, and gave it to Crash (2005) instead? I'm still not over that. And don't kid yourselves Rooney Mara is not going to win this year...nor should she.
Anyway, make sure you load up on plenty of white wine, because next Sunday's festivities are going to be a giant snoozefest without it. I say, cut it out with all of the pretentious congratulatory bullshit and go back to when it was nothing more than what it was originally created to be, a publicity vehicle for the year's films and all of the awards were doled out in 10 minutes. There's nothing worse in the movie business than being boring and Oscars, you've been guilty for a while now. PS, letting Anne Hathaway and James Franco host is unforgivable.