So, “12 Years a Slave” has been deemed the Best Picture of 2013, and I guess that’s fine. There’s a solid 20 films, or so, that I believe are better, but I won’t continue to harp on that. Hey, at least “Her” picked up that deserved Best Original Screenplay Award—if I’d had enough balls to go maverick and not pick against my favorite film of last year, I would’ve gone 9 for 9 with my picks. As it is, I have officially gotten 26 out of 30 picks in my 3 years of forecasting on this blog. No matter how you cut it—that’s a pretty solid record. This year it was a good enough tally to trump The Carpetbagger in the New York Times, EW magazine and finish in a tie with Anne Thompson on Hollywood(we both got Original Screenplay wrong). I’ll revel in that…because I certainly don’t get paid to do this full-time.
So, Ellen was pretty good, wasn’t she? At least enough to take that bad Seth MacFarlane taste out of our mouths from last year, right? Not everything worked, but enough did. The “group selfie” thing was pretty cool, and having pizza delivered was funny. Ellen was even ribald enough to include an inside joke about Jordan Hill’s penis, and crack wise about Liza Minnelli looking like a Liza impersonator. Ouch. I didn’t like the bit with Jimmy Kimmel climbing through the television and berating “trashy couch potatoes” for mocking movie stars from the safety of their living rooms. It was mean-spirited, and smelled of last year(MacFarlane really bombed). Also, montages, like the “Heroes” one, seemed quite arbitrary(shouldn’t I have spotted Chris Reeve in there, somewhere?). But a spirited and impressive performance from Ms. DeGeneres overall—I’d be happy to watch her host again.
The supporting performers should tutor the lead actors on how to accept an award, because both Leto and Nyong’o were great. Then there’s McConaughey profusely thanking God(if there is a God, does he not like the other nominees?), and admitting to us that his “idol” is his ten-years ahead in the future self…oh brother. Cate Blanchett possibly gave us 2013’s most brilliant performance, and then litters her acceptance speech with a secret shout-out chuckle with Julia Roberts? Note: this is why a sizable portion of the populace finds Hollywood out-of-touch and elitist. Ellen, of course, was a nice counterbalance for all of that nonsense. “Gravity” was such an astonishing technical achievement, that it’s only fitting that it won the night with a healthy 7 awards, don’t you think? Even the critically panned “The Great Gatsby” managed a deuce! Of course, “American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “Nebraska”, “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” all got shut out completely. And, except in the case of “Nebraska”, that was mostly a good thing. And “Frozen” grabbed the two awards it was supposed to, on the same weekend that it broke the one billion dollar box office mark. But it still would have been nice if John Travolta(who cut his teeth on the Great White Way)had managed not to massacre Tony-winning star, Idina Menzel’s name. Oy.
So, that’s it, season over, Oscar behind us. They say it was the highest rated in a decade, so the masses did tune it. Time to head into 2014 with a smile, because the winning roster could’ve been far worse. I’ll have the promised review of Ron Howard’s “Rush” soon, and let you know if the movie was truly “robbed” by getting overlooked for any Oscar nominations. Also, expect March write-ups on Best Foreign Film winner, “The Great Beauty” as well as Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” and Cannes winner “Blue is the Warmest Color”. And YAY! Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” opens this coming weekend! And one month from today we’ll see if “Captain American: The Winter Soldier” can pull me out of my Marvel malaise. All that and more on the blog. Expect some spring New York theatre too. So, wave goodbye to the Academy Awards for 2014…see you next year, Oscar!