Monday, February 23, 2015

Hollywood Celebrates Themselves (Again) as Birdman wins Best Picture

Hollywood has a formula for winning Oscars. In his television show Extras, Ricky Gervais coached 

Kate Winslet toward her Oscar, do a movie about the Holocaust, and you will win; she did The Reader and won.  Mind you this formula still stands true as Ida won Best Foreign Language Film, but there is a new trope in town, and it proves how self congratulatory the Oscars have become.

Tonight Hollywood crowned Birdman with Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Cinematography, and the new formula to win an Oscar has become clear, make a movie about the industry, and you win an Oscar.  Over the last four years 3 of the four Best Picture winners have been about “the industry.”  The Artist was about the silent movie era. Argo was about Hollywood saving the day and rescuing hostages from Iran, but let’s be honest the Canadians were the real heroes, and Hollywood changed this to make them look better, end rant. 

Finally Birdman won last evening, which of the three is the best movie about the industry, it has some great things to say about the way super hero tent poles control things, and the way society is changing.  Birdman is not exactly bad winner, but isn’t this self-congratulatory trope getting to be a bit much?  Sadly the industry loves itself too much.

Boyhood should have won something other than Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette.  Boyhood won the Globe, and the British Academy Awards (BAFTA). In the past the Golden Globes were about kissing the biggest celebrity ass, but they snubbed Unbroken, and picked Boyhood for the Best Picture Drama, and The Grand Budapest Hotel for Best Picture Musical or Comedy. BAFTA, which usually picks British films to win their top honors picked Boyhood as Best Film, a film about a typically American experience, hell even they don’t buy into their own hype. But, it’s Hollywood, and the Oscars have to kiss their own industries ass, proving the Globes and BAFTA to be more and more relevant than the Oscars..

It’s not just about Boyhood, which was my favorite film of the year.  The Grand Budapest Hotel was robbed of Best Original Screenplay.  Wes Anderson’s film got the Hugo treatment, you were fun, and a period piece, but we still don’t like you enough to win a major award.  Grand Budapest did tie for the most wins with four, winning, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Make-Up/Hairstyling.

I know there are people who will disagree with me, there are folks who loved Birdman, I liked it.  Michael Keaton should have won last night, and the same with Edward Norton, they were the best part of the film.  The acting in general in this film was great, they deserved that SAG Ensemble prize, but not Best Picture.  Birdman breaks a big Oscar statistic too, it’s the first film to win Best Picture without a Best Editing nomination, the last film to do was Ordinary People, which beat Raging Bull, which film do we talk about more?  We will talk about Boyhood a lot longer.

I think Birdman has deep messages, there some interesting moments, which discuss the modern celebrity, but that translate to everyday life.  The film is deep, but at the core Hollywood just seemed to want to pat itself on the back, once again, and they did.

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