November 19, 2017

Editor’s Reaction to a Historic Oscars

Courtesy of A.M.P.A.S

By: Langdon Kessner ‘17

Arts and Life Editor

It takes a certain amount of endurance to sit through the Oscars. The optimist in me loves celebrating movies and acknowledging all the hard work that goes into them.  But the cynic in me hates watching rich celebrities pat themselves on the back for nearly four hours.

Put it simply, the Oscars are boring.  Even when proceedings got very exciting in the last act, it took three and a half hours to get there, and it was entirely accidental.

Let’s start there, shall we?  

For those who don’t know, Hollywood legend Warren Beatty, announced La La Land as the Best Picture, when the winner was supposed to be Moonlight. Somehow, he was handed the envelope for Best Actress (Emma Stone – La La Land) instead of Best Picture. While most people are crying “Conspiracy!”, I think it was more of a mistake.  A very stupid mistake and one that should’ve been easily avoided.  What could’ve been a rousing, emotional moment for Moonlight, turned into a very awkward encounter where the producers of La La Land had to give up the prestigious award.  Credit to the La La Land producers for handling it with some class and dignity, but I hope this gaffe doesn’t overshadow the success of Moonlight.

The rest of the winners were expected andell-deserved, but nothing surprising.  Some were surprised to see Casey Affleck beat Denzel Washington for Best Actor, but watch Manchester By the Sea and it makes sense.  Emma Stone won for Best Actress for La La Land, again not surprising for those who’ve seen it.  The standout was Mahershala Ali, who gave a very nice speech for his wonderful work in Moonlight.  The worst speech, however, came from one of the best actresses, Viola Davis.

Make no mistake, I love Viola Davis.  She deserved her award and is one of the best working today.  But her speech was too much.  Well-intentioned, I’m sure, but also incredibly pretentious and self-aggrandizing.  Case in point, she said, “I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”  

That’s not true.  At all.  Ask a paramedic, teacher, firefighter, police officer, journalist, or a doctor.  Give me a break.  Acting is not the only profession that “celebrates what it means to live a life” and saying so is just ridiculous.  Not saying art doesn’t celebrate life, but let’s put some things in perspective before we get ahead of ourselves.    

Jimmy Kimmel did a nice job hosting.  Hosting the Oscars is generally a thankless job, but he had some pretty good one-liners here and there.  I do wish his comedic bits were cut back.  Once it’s past the three-hour mark, no more jokes.  Time to wrap things up.  And why Kimmel gets to ramble on while the actual winners get played off during their speeches for time is beyond me.

Here’s hoping next year’s Oscars are less boring, less political, and make one less stupid mistake than this year.  And maybe next year they’ll spend more time educating people on what it takes to make a movie.  You know, the thing they’re supposed to be celebrating.

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