The yearly borefest that has become the Academy Awards droned on and on last night and, as usual, the whole affair was bloated and inconsequential and wholly predictable and not even the pre-show babble could salvage the comedic fratricide:
The awards were presented during last night’s absurdly boring, completely masturbatory ceremony. Before it began, red carpet diva and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest became the butt of Sacha Baron Cohen’s alleged sense of humor, when the actor, dressed as his impossibly stupid new character from The Dictator, pretended to spill Kim Jong-Il’s ashes (actually pancake mix) on Seacrest. I’m not the biggest Seacrest fan, but this wasn’t even remotely comedic, and even made me feel sorry for Seacrest. The moment was made even more insufferable by Seacrest’s constant retelling of the story, and his fellow E! hosts’ excitement that he was “chosen” by Sacha Baron Cohen for his stupidity.
While we didn’t have any ridiculous Academy Awards posthumously given to dead celebrities who overdosed on drugs last night, the whole process of celebrating high fame and low talent is a mockery of the compressive, and angry, world in which we spin.
The fact that Americans put so much value on escapism and fanatical dreaming is bothersome. We live in a serious world that is becoming grimmer by the moment. We should be handing out awards to smart people who can change the world for good — not people who flash on a screen to salve your weekend before you head back into the Monday morning grinder.
Too many Americans spend their waking hours seeking ways to numb reality. They are caffeinated. They get drunk. They overeat. They sleep. They pray. They watch television and movies. We live to escape. We cannot handle reality — unless, of course, that reality is edited and plastered for us in a pretty bow for “Reality Television” remote viewing.
There was a golden moment in our shared movies history — 1939 to be exact — when movies mattered in our lives. Stories were told that provided cathartic release. Stars were talented and honed for precision cutting into the national mindset.
Those halcyon days are over.
We now live in the YouTube Age where everyone is a star, not for 15 minutes, but for an unending lifetime simply by being perpetually connected to self-publishing pathways. No directors or editors or creative minds needed. We are our own sideshow. We create and give our own awards. Audience no longer matters. Perception becomes one-sided. Only the impulse to spew babble into the ether is important now — and we’re all the more tired and lifeless for the unproductive production effort.
Funnily enough, two movies this last year dealt with the halcyon days — Midnight in Paris and The Artist. One of the interesting points from Midnight in Paris is that people tend to look back and think of how great things were at point x but then you find out that at point x people were dreaming about how great things were in earlier point y.
I think movies are still important because of movies like the Iranian made “A Separation” which helped people see that there’s more to Iran than an angry president looking for destruction.
I’m all for the movies — I just think the Academy Awards have outlived any sense of usefulness. Meryl Streep should be banned from ever receiving another acting award — she’s reached the point of ridiculousness now, and she exposes, in her ongoing Oscar wins, the ineptitude of the academy to be bright and creative thinkers.
There’s an interesting discussion here ( http://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/q81wm/can_we_all_finally_agree_that_the_academy_awards/ ) on Reddit asking a similar question — heated debate. I like what the character Alvy Singer said in the movie Annie Hall : “What’s with all these awards? They’re always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.”
Thanks for the link to that conversation, Gordon. I think all these awards shows are sophomoric and incestuous and they keep us all away from creating really good and important art. I love it that Marlon Brando refused his Oscar in 1973 and made it a political moment to remind us all what really matters: