Style Over Substance

Thinking about last night’s Oscars, I can’t decide whether the sub-title should be:

Style Over Substance
Old People Rule! or
Behold the Power of Harvey Weinstein

I was a little underwhelmed with the Oscars last night and I’m a huge Oscar fan. Even the years that most people don’t like it, I usually do. Maybe I was just distracted about other things — like coming up with a new title for my new book and series — so I only half watched.

I really enjoyed both The Artist and Hugo when I saw them, but neither were “best picture” kind of movies for me. And I really don’t think The Artist would have gotten so much attention without the campaigning by the Weinsteins. I caught part of The Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night and The Artist swept those too, so the Oscars felt like a re-run.

Hugo swept all the more arty and tech awards. That film for me was interesting in that it was the best use of 3-D that I’ve seen (maybe including Avatar?) and it was truly beautiful to watch… But the story didn’t work for me. It wasn’t tight enough. It didn’t know whether it was a story about a kid or a story about an old man or a documentary on silent films. The last third or so of that movie seemed like Scorsese’s self-indulgence. Him caring more about his interests than caring about the audience or about telling a good story…

And if we’re only judging based on whether a movie was beautiful to watch, I’d vote for The Tree of Life, which was thought provoking as well as mesmerizingly beautiful to watch. But whatever. That film was never going to win. Too weird and not enough people saw it.

I think for me, some of my favorite movies this year weren’t even nominated… Drive, Melancholia, Martha Marcy Mae Marlene… Hmmm… What else did I love? I need to start blogging about movies again so I don’t forget.

Onto The Artist. I loved this movie when I saw it. Truly delightful. But I saw it before all the award season buzz and so didn’t really think about it critically and went in with low expectations. But I did enjoy my time in the theatre and fell in love with that little dog. :)

I think ultimately it was the lack of surprises that bothered me about the Oscars. The only possible “upset” was Jean Dejardins winning over Clooney, but since it was clear by that point that The Artist was going to sweep all the major awards, it didn’t feel like an upset. A brief aside… I did love how the director of that movie spoke about his wife and the female star during his acceptance speech. Especially since she was kind of passed over in favor of Dejardins in all the awards for no reason that makes any sense to me… Not that I would have put her in the same league with the performances in the best actress category… (Streep, Close, Williams, Davies, Mara) but sitting side-by-side, I don’t see why Dejardins’ performance was acknowledged and not hers…


I did love seeing Christopher Plummer win an Oscar. (Go Canada) Cirque du Soleil is always impressive. (Go Canada again.)  Meryl Streep was so humble and gracious. And Octavia Spencer was thrilled to tears and so sweet. And I loved the Scorsese drinking game joke… (I want to be best friends with those women.) And I was moderately amused by Ben Stiller being the straight guy to Emma Stone. (That was fearless on her part. Not sure how well it went over but — fearless!)

But other than that, I was kinda bored.

  3 comments for “Style Over Substance

  1. February 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I was bored too! Glad I wasn’t the only one.

  2. February 28, 2012 at 7:53 am

    The Artist and Hugo are 2 movies I really want to see after watching the Oscars. But the Oscars were totally over-produced – it was as if they were trying to hard sell us on watching movies. It struck a false note – as if suddenly Hollywood loved big and old people. I thought this columnist really hit it with this article –

  3. February 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I completely agree with your analysis of Hugo. It started out a family/kid’s move – and my kids loved it – and then it took that odd movie auteur turn and became something wholly other – and my kids stopped loving it. Honestly, it felt pretty self-indulgent of Scorsese.

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