Oscar 2017: The Vindication of Steve Harvey

The reading of the wrong name for Best Picture was just that last in a series of bizarre events on last night’s Oscar telecast.

In the world’s largest festival of privileged self-congratulation, the Oscar show was pretty moribund. Kimmel was well paced and acceptably funny, but I could have done with less Damon and less political humour. There are other things to joke about.

That Mel Gibson would make a movie that would even be nominated let alone take home two statues is remarkable. He has been Hollywood poison for some time.

It went largely unnoticed that Brie Larson did not hug or applaud for Casey Affleck on his Best Actor win. Larson, a strong advocate for victims of sexual assault announced the win to Affleck who has two out of court settlements for sexual assault allegations.

The low point of the evening for me, sadly, was Viola Davis’ acceptance speech. I love her. A truly gifted actress. I am on record many times on this. But when she said “I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only professional that celebrates what it means to live a life” I wanted to throw up. You don’t hear speeches like this from the editors, the costume designers. Only from those in the bubble of their own self-importance.

It took nearly two hours for the 14-time nominee La La Land to pick up its first trophy, which did not come as a surprise. There had been a backlash brewing against it for quite some time. Whether it is good or bad, I know few who think it is 14-nomination good. It was seeming like Hollywood was going to pat itself on the back for making a movie about how wonderful Hollywood is.

Of the eight major categories, only best picture did not go according to predictions. I find it funny that Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar at age 65 and Hitchcock has none, but Damien Chaziel is an Oscar-winning director at age 32. But for the one category that was a true upset, no-one would have guessed how it would play out.

Price Waterhouse has taken the “wrong envelope” fall for this. This is an in excusable gaffe of epic proportions. I don’t like it when a drive-thru employee does not give me napkins. How, in such a tightly controlled show, in its biggest moment, can this happen?

What is truly odd is that Emma Stone has said openly, she had the envelope for Best Actress in her hand. She kept it. So did PWC print two?

There are a lot of conspiracy theories, none that I will discuss here, but there is more to this than meets the eye. I am not completely convinced of the “wrong envelope” theory.

Still, The Streaker of 1974 as David Niven is set to award Best Picture to The Sting will live on as the most memorable moment in Oscar history. Not for just for what happened but also for Niven’s perfect, dead-pan come back.

“Isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

For the record, I went 14 for 24 and so did my son. My worst year in a lot of years.

That was not a good Oscar show. Musical performances were generally flat; the humour was way to Trumped and the tour bus thing while cute, fell on its face.

Only one film from the Top 20 of the 2016 box office was a significant nominee and that was La La Land, which was 20th. In fact, in the last nine years, only two Best Picture winners, Argo and The King’s Speech, grossed over $100 million and found any kind of real audience.

The Wrong Envelope, it would seem, saved the night.

 

 

2017 Oscar Picks

The Oscars seem to do whatever they can to make themselves less and less relevant. You could argue that they never were and it would be hard to disagree.  Since 2008 when the top 2 grossing and critically acclaimed films, The Dark Knight and WALL-E, got 14 nominations but none for best picture, the show has been in a tail spin.

This year, they are set for a sweep of La La Land, a movie that basically says how great movies are. I have not seen – I will – but the reviews are mixed at best and hardly worth a record tying 14 nominations.

My insane schedule at work kept me from the movies a lot this year. But I still follow the buzz and the web sites, so for what its worth, here is my predicted list of winners. I see a year of upsets.

 

Best Picture – Moonlight. Its been gaining momentum as has the back lash against La La Land

Director – La La Land. Damien Chaziel is a golden boy and it seems fashionable to split these awards in recent years.

Actor – Denzel Washington. Fences. Well loved in a killer role he directed. Directing himself to a best actor will put him in very unique company. He is in a dead lock with Casey Affleck.

Actress – Isabel Huppert. Elle. She won the Globe. Heavy acclaim. They love foreign actresses. Emma Stone is favoured. I see an upset here.

Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali. Moonlight. Mortal Lock.

Supporting Actress – Viola Davis. Fences. Finally. Mortal lock. Long long overdue.

Original Screenplay – Manchester by the Sea

Adapted Screenplay – Moonlight

Cinematography – La La Land

Production Design – La La Land

Costume – Florence Foster Jenkins. Wide open category. Maybe to Jackie.

Make-up – Star Trek Beyond

Score – La La Land

Song – City of Stars from La La Land

Visual Effects – Rogue One. No other movie was close.

Sound – La La Land

Sound Effects – Hacksaw Ridge.

Editing – La La Land. Until recent years always went with best pic.

Foreign Language – The Salesman

Doc. Feature – OJ Simpson: Made in America

Doc. Short – The White Helmets

Animated Feature – Kubo and the two Strings. Please this over Zootopia. Please.

Animated Short – Piper. Perhaps the best thing Pixar has done next to WALL-E.

Live Action Short – Le Femme et le TGV. Total, total guess.

If La La Land Sweeps, well ,this will be my worst year EVER!!