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Some surprises handed out with Oscars

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

So, there were some nice surprises at the Academy Awards.
As predicted in this column, Mathew McConaughey won the best actor as well he should have. It was a compelling performance within a great film. His acceptance speech was a little weird but he’s allowed that. He went from mostly window dressing to a serious talent. Money makes money and power opens doors. As his movies made money he had the chance to make different choices. Again, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective make for a pretty impressive body of work.

One of the surprises was Jared Leto winning Best Supporting Actor. It wasn’t a surprise because his performance didn’t warrant it. It was a surprise because the Academy Awards are anything but accidental. There is a tremendous amount of marketing and lobbying that goes on in order to garner votes and there is also a great deal of politics. Leto is a musician first and an actor second. I thought the award would go to Barkhad Abdi. I still think his performance was more compelling but I have no argument with Leto.

Best Actress went to Cate Blanchet for her role in Blue Jasmine. I have huge issues with Woody Allen. To me it’s everything that’s wrong with Hollywood and sports. If you’re talented everything is forgiven, depending on your sin. I’m glad Mel Gibson is an outcast because of racist and abusive behaviour. I just don’t see how what Allen is accused of is any less vile. Still he does have talent and Cate Blanchet brings her usual style and grace to everything she takes on. I haven’t seen her performance so I can’t comment other than to say she’s a great actress and there was no one else who stood out.

Supporting Actress went to Lupita Nyong for her work in 12 Years A Slave. She really did set herself apart and while I originally thought Chiwetel Ejiofor would win best actor,  it’s good that someone in that cast won. As hard a movie as it is to watch I thought it was an important film and I’m glad it won Best Picture. It’s a watershed film. I think of it in the same class and significance as Schindler’s List. There is a real lest we forget element to those movies. There need to be generational films to remind people that this can never happen again. We need to be mindful that each new generations is once removed from those atrocities.
Wow, I’m really preachy today. Time to get off the soap box and carry on.

Best Director went to Alfonso Cuaron.
Hmmm. Ok, well I understand the thought process. Technically this was a remarkable film and the credit for that goes to the director. Gravity also won a lot of the technical merit awards which were all well earned. I think this was a reach. I know Cuaron wanted to be an astronaut and this was as close as he could get to being in space but my pick for Best Director was Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave. His vision, his storytelling and it was a relentless film to watch and all the credit goes to him for that. The material notwithstanding it was a remarkable effort by him. Not that they asked me mind you.

Best song went to Let It Go from Frozen.
They may be an evil empire that eats their young but they know how to make animated movies that become Broadway plays and this is probably already sending out a casting call.
Very little controversy at the awards this year and some marginal entertainment value during the show but the films speak for themselves and all in all it was a good year.

As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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