Kent’s 2019 Oscars Recap: SAD!
We did it, everyone. We solved racism. Inverse “Driving Miss Daisy” won best picture, finally giving two Oscars to the man who brought us Cameron Diaz using ejaculate as hair gel in “There’s Something About Mary” and Jeff Daniels violently pooping in “Dumb and Dumber.” Remember its sequel? Remember that Three Stooges movie or that god-awful “Movie 43?” Because I sure don’t. A movie with solid performances from Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen has convinced baby boomers that we all just need to love each other, and we’re all the same deep down. How broad and lacking in nuance. “Based on a true friendship.” — What a horrible tagline. Judging by the characters’ actual families’ denuncation of “Green Book” as “a symphony of lies,” this tagline isn’t even true!
“Green Book” tirade aside, this article is about the 91st Oscars, which aired on Feb. 24. If you’re here to watch me tear apart this distribution of participation trophies and paychecks to old and elite filmmakers, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll admit it; the first half of the show was good. The hostless ceremony went smoothly, without the obligatory cringe-inducing monologue. Instead, we got a medley of Queen songs, one of many shout-outs to “Bohemian Rhapsody” that almost made me worry it was going to win best picture.
How does a film that has become a meme for poor editing win in that field? So what if the last scene does a near-perfect recreation of Queen’s Live Aid concert? That credit goes to the director, but justifiably nobody wants to acknowledge Bryan Singer’s involvement at the moment. If anything, it validates the film’s wins in the sound categories for Malek’s lip-syncing, even though I would’ve preferred the recognition be split between “Roma” and “A Quiet Place.” The film sacrifices the audience’s comfort in exchange for scenes of dialogue with nauseating cuts, so each band member gets equal screen time.
“Black Panther” got as much as it deserved, apart from its best picture nomination. I was glad to see Ludwig Goransson take home the prize for best score, as it was thoroughly researched for months and was a personal favorite among the five nominees. Its wins for costume and production design were a toss-up with “The Favourite,” but were earned and hardly upsets.
Speaking of which, “The Favourite” performed admirably. Though I would’ve strongly preferred it win best picture (I’m looking at you, Farrelly), I was happy with its original screenplay win. It was a close second pick for me after “First Reformed,” but at least my prediction wasn’t all that cynical. Olivia Colman’s win over Glenn Close was a pleasure as well, since career awards reek of insincerity. They usually overshadow underrated performances and create a vicious cycle. In 2002, for example, Al Pacino won for “Scent of a Woman,” while Denzel Washington in “Malcolm X” was overlooked. Then Washington got his own award for “Training Day,” giving accolades to a bloated performance of a caricature. Most recently we saw more career wins for Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant” and Gary Oldman for “Darkest Hour.” But I digress. Close was the shining star in an otherwise dull film, but Colman deserved the award more.
Spike Lee was a big personality that night, too. Apart from the fact that he looked like Waluigi, he took home a well-deserved Oscar for “BlacKkKlansman.” His speech was a little long and a little blunt, but nonetheless important, like his films. Still, you can’t beat Samuel L. Jackson’s reaction when he announced his longtime friend as the winner.
This year’s ceremony was a solid, entertaining show, but it was still an elitist showcase of the influential nature of well-endowed Oscar campaigns. “Roma” spent as much as $60 million in a marketing campaign to get Cuarón three wins in one night, $45 million more than its actual production budget. That’s more than the gross domestic product of the island nation of Tuvalu. “Green Book” spent $30 million for its morally questionable director to win two Oscars; as well as its writer/producer Nick Vallelonga, who looks suspiciously like Antonin Scalia come back to life to make sure “RBG” didn’t win Best Documentary. Apart from Mahershala Ali, Don Shirley was absent from the acknowledgements in making this film. Seriously, the entire night the producers didn’t even thank the late jazz musician. If we really want to pat ourselves on the back for being inclusive to diversity, we should do it where it counts.