Monday, February 10, 2020


You could kinda just feel it, couldn't you? I've been seeing about it, hearing about it, and even reading about it when I started looking through some of those anonymous oscar ballots that get posted. One or two didn't like "Parasite", but most of them did, and most everybody seemed to love that film. But could a foreign language, or an "International Feature Film" actually be able to win Best Picture?!

Well, I said it would, and goddamn, it did. Overall, I think this was a decent prediction year. I didn't get Director, but I don't think anybody did. Even the moment the Kobe-purple-and-gold clad Spike Lee announced the name, waited a moment before he announced the name, I think he as happy and shocked as anyone. Even the audience called the audible after the Picture won and told the producers to turn the lights back on afterwards. "Parasite" is just the movie Hollywood wanted to win. The little movie that could that pulls off the upset at Best Picture again. The Best Director win though; this is the first time DGA got the category wrong, in a year where they did nominate the inevitable Best Director Winner, since 2002 when Rob Marshall and the Oscars went with Roman Polanski for "The Pianist".

Other big winners, did not include "The Irishman". For the second time ever, a Martin Scorsese movie goes 0-for-10 at the Oscars. It's one short of the 0-for-11 records set by "The Color Purple" and "The Turning Point", but like Scorsese's last overly personal, three-hour epic project that took forever to make. Honestly, nobody was shocked, but it is disappointing. In the 9-film field, it was the only BP nominee to not win, which even in a pretty homogenuous field that's a bit disappointing.

The favorite going into the night "1917", took three Oscars, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Cinematography, a highly disappointing night for them.

Two wins went for "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood", which won Production Design and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt, who becomes one of the few people who've won for Producing and Acting, and like his pal George Clooney, they won those for different movies. Also, "Ford v Ferrari" pulled off two upsets in Sound Editing and Film Editing. This is one of the places where I lost my Oscar pool, by predicting "Parasite" for Editing and I actually had the Sound categories right, but switched the movies. (Snaps fingers) Also, "Joker" took the two it expected, with Joaquin Phoenix, who gave a bit of a rambly political speech, but it did end with a touching tribute to his late brother River. It also took Original Score, making Hildur Guðnadóttir the first woman to win Best Original Score. 

The other acting prizes went paint as well, Renee Zellweger, receiving her second Oscar, as the Academy essentially decided to correct their mistake of having not giving Judy Garland an Oscars.  They also, correct never giving an Oscar to any member of Laura Dern's family 'til now as she won Supporting Actress for "Marriage Story". The Writing award went to "Parasite" for Original and "Jojo Rabbit" pulled off it's only win in Adapted Screenplay. 

"Toy Story 4" took home Animated feature, making it the second time a "Toy Story" film has won that prize. Let's see, "Little Women" took home Costume Design, giving Jacqueline Durran her, shockingly only second OScar up 'til now. "Bombshell" took home Makeup, although that was also a moment where two of the winners, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker didn't get a chance to speak before they were played off. Honestly that was kinda fucked up, and this is where a host would've been good; for those who remember when that happened to Marketa Irglova when she won for "Once", Jon Stewart got her back onstage to talk that year. 

Honestly the show itself, overall, was not great. I liked it better then last year, and there were some great moments, but I have much of the same complaints. There was no vision and no host. There was opening number that Janelle Monay with special guest Billy Porter opened the show with, and despite Janelle singing her ass out, I thought it was a meandering mess of a production. I don't want to be this mean, but I honestly had nightmares of Snow White and Rob Lowe, especially in the beginning when Janelle was performing in the crowd. Like, she pulls off, goddamn, I didn't realize just how talented she is, but holy god, I gotta listen to more of her music; she's uber-talented, but I thought it was trying ot be way too many things at once.

And then, there's monologue by two people who should be hosting this show!?!?! What the fuck? Like, the opening should've been the opening in this case; like they did that before when it kinda worked but that was because it was Neil Patrick Harris and they were parodying how he hosted everything back then, but now it just feels like they don't know what to do. And Steve Martin and Chris Rock were okay, but I'd rather pick one or the other in this case.

I will say this, the show, for the most part, made up for. Some of the transitions, including having a bunch of celebrities in the crowd introducing the newest presenters, were kinda uh, like, I totally get George Mackay mocking it by the end, but it was okay even when it was kinda awkward. Like, I'm glad Kelly Marie Tran's there to introduce Questlove. That's cool. Is that the only reason she's here? And also, why is he here then?

I will say that, there was one moment that absolutely blew my mind, and that was a strange montage about songs in movies that led to, a performance of Eminem doing "Lose Yourself"! I am legitimately amazed that this happened. For those who aren't aware, back in '03 when "Lose Yourself" was nominated for Best Song from "8 Mile", Eminem made a point in not only not showing up to the Oscars, but he rejected an invitation to perform the song onstage, something that at the time, was actually a far bigger and required tradition then it is nowadays where some years they don't even performing all the songs, (Althought that was certainly not the case this year...) He actually used to rarely show up to the big awards, a streak that ended a year later when he performed at the Grammys with Elton John.

Honestly, I never ever suspected we'd see Marshall himself performing at the Oscars and his Award-winning song no less; that was a really cool moment and makeup for the Academy, even if you can tell M's flow is a little off from his prime and he couldn't quite hear the way he needed to, it was a great unexpected moment. And proof once and for all that Eminem has totally sold out and that there is nothing remotely left of the dangerous presence he was back in '03 when he was the most dangerous artist alive. (I'm kidding Marshall, don't get mad!) 

Actually, this show has some good performances, but they were quite awkward. Somebody pointed out correctly that Idina Menzel's performance got an introduction and the rest of the song nominees, kinda just happened. (Although Cynthia Erivo's I think might've had an intro too; I'll have to double check on that one.) Best Song went to Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin for "Rocketman"'s "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" and Elton did give a great performance as well, but this did feel like a strange showcase for the songs. Some were completely minimalist like Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman's number, while Elton had a whole band and Cynthia overtook the whole auditorium with performers. I've seen some comment that this felt more like the Grammys then the Oscars, and yeah, Elton and Eminem do remind me a lot of the Grammys, and even Janelle Monae's performance; like, I probably wouldn't have hated it if it opened the Tonys, but it still felt weird for the Oscars. I do like having the songs performed, but it does feel like there could've been a better way to maneuver them in and out of the show. 

I also liked a lot of the presenters, James Corden and Rebel Wilson announcing Visual Effects in particular was great and I liked most of the montages, especially for the Documentary category and the International Film category. I like the acting montages, but I wish they put the actors name in as well instead of having the montage and then announcing the nominees. I get why they did that, but eh,... it's not the worst thing. 

I will say though, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves? I'm sorry, do people still remember and talk about "Something's Gotta Give"? I mean, I knew it was coming, and they kinda made a good Jack Nicholson joke, they brought it back the the awards well, but like, are we really supposed to have instant recall on that film? It's-, it's not really like, a big, memorable, distinctive film. Even when I think about Nancy Meyers, I tend to forget that it exists. 

I will say that I do like how, more-than-normal, this show just seemed to be a big middle finger to Conservative America. Political speeches about race, gender, creed, an impeachment joke from Brad Pitt, a lot of pro-women moments, pro African-American and other minorities moments, and even ending with Jane Fucking Fonda herself giving out Best Picture. They did not give a shit who they wanted to piss off tonight, and good job on that ending montage with giving the Oscar to a film in a foreign language to top it all off. 

I did think this show was a vast mprovement over last year's hostless Oscars, but yeah, time to end this experiment, and soon. Like next year. get a host. Can be a new one, old one, young one, controversial one, whatever, just get a host. Also, start this later in the year again.

Kudos btw to Neon, the distributing and production company behind "Parasite", they a little movie from a foreign country, and very little time to campaign and get the movie in front of Academy voters' eyes, and in a year where there weren't a lot for potential upsets to build up momentum and steam, they not only got a historic, unprecendented Best Picture win out of it, they managed to pull off an even more shocking upset for Best Director, a category that just doesn't have upsets in them. Even in other years where the little film that could manages to pull it off, Directing Oscars being snatched is a rare feet, and that's on top of an amazingly over-successful campaign. They're campaigning strategies, techniques and patterns will be studied and copied for years on end in Oscar history, and it's well-deserved. 

Onto a final wrap up, I went 19/24 this year, I missed Director, Live-Action Short film, where I went with "Nefta Football Club" instead of "The Neighbors' Window", which was stupid 'cause that was the one in English, with the notable stars in it, and the best of the shorts I saw, and I missed Editing, I went against my instincts and picked "Parasite". I gotta remember that one, chase scenes, action sequences, they always win!!!! and, I mentioned before, I switched the two Short categories. "Parasite" led the pack with four wins, BONG Joon-ho becomes the latest to pull off the Picture, Director, Writer triple, the last one  being Alejandro G. Inarritu for "Birdman or (The Unexpect Virtue of Ignorance)", that's only six or seven times total, and none of them added an International Film Oscar to that until now. These also marks South Korea's first ever Oscars, which especially in this arguably Golden Age of South Korea cinema we've had in the last twenty years or so, is really shocking in hindsight. Eh, Documentary Feature went to "American Factory", so that's another for Netflix in that category and one for the Obamas production company, although they didn't get a mention. The Short Subject went to "Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone...", "Hair Love" won the Animated Short as expected, and they had a good speech, the filmmakers behind that. And, I got all those correct; overall, this was one of my better prediction years.

Alright, enough of award season for now. Congratulations to the winners, and let's relax a bit and watching some movies and stuff. 

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