By Alec Horowitz
The set to the Oscars was puzzling this year. They tried to make the set look smaller and less glamorous. The opening number by host Hugh Jackman openly acknowledged this. He used what looked like paper cutouts to show to show the Oscars where going to be toned down and Hollywood was more in touch with America. Ok, let me just say this. If the Oscars wanted to look more in touch with America, than they minus will of just took ‘The Reader’ out of the best picture category and replaced it with ‘The Dark Knight’. Come on, this is the Oscars. I don’t want them to be in touch with the unglamorous picture painted by a speech by President Barack Obama on the economy. I want my Oscar’s big and glamorous. I want to feel like I’m sitting in a movie theater during the great depression, as I forget my troubles, and the biggest problem in the world is Gene Kelley needs to find a way to make rain fun.
There where some lovely moments, though. Heath Ledger’s family was lovely. They weren’t overly ghoulish, and they didn’t break out into tears. They where moving about the way they spoke how Heath would of liked to be honored by his peers. Though, most of this night was kind of a disaster. The idea of having each presenter take us through how a movie is made wasn’t a good idea. I mean, the truth is movie buffs already know this and those watching for escapism don’t care. I did like having each actor or actress say something about each nominee. I thought it was wonderful to see long shot Richard Jenkins get nominated. He looked slightly uncomfortable sitting there in the audience, but for me, that’s part of his charm. His performance in ‘The Visitor’ was wonderful. Though, I was surprise to see Sean Penn win the Oscar for Best Actor, because of all the hype that was surrounding Mickey Rourke. Rourke gave an over the top and wonderful performance in ‘The Wrestler’ but Sean Penn gave the performance that deserved to win.
Also, it was nice to see ‘Frozen River’ nominated for best original screenplay. I was happy to see ‘Milk’ win for best original screenplay as well. Best improvement over the overrated indie clichéd filled script that won an Oscar last year (do I even need to say it?) Though, this was clearly ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ night and rightly so. While there where other wonderful films nominated that year, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was unique. The night, though, wasn’t very good. The feeling of the Oscars just didn’t feel like the Oscars. There’s nothing wrong with escapism, and the Oscars are the ultimate escapism. Go over the top, Oscars. Be distasteful, and I encourage the Oscars to discard good taste with regard to the rest of the nation. This is why people go see movies. While the rest of the world is falling apart, at least we can be told stories, and that’s wonderful.
So, next year, take my advice, Oscars. Go over the top. We watch to escape. We don’t watch to be remained. Though, there are some important points made during the Oscars, as the point made by Dustin Lance Black about the unacceptable treatment of homosexuals in America. It’s a perfect example of why the escapism is important, because sometime’s it's possible to escape but also learn something as well and that’s important. The crop of Oscar nominated films this year where socially aware. When was the last time you thought about India? Homosexual rights? Or illegal immigrants? (Frozen River and The Visitor, the two indies nominated this year) It’s painfully important. Stories are important. Never forget film is important.