Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Oscar Shew

The whole thing was rather boring until Crash upset Brokeback Mountain. Then it was alternatingly exciting, infuriating and nauseating.

I did not like Crash. It was a lecture and a rather shallow view of both racism and the Los Angeles landscape. But Lionsgate ran a great campaign and managed to get the film to the win.

Ironically, the win for Best Picture will probably cement Crash's reputation as a bad film among the cognoscenti. It's not really a film that can stand up to this kind of hype. Plus, it's so of its moment that it's bound to feel dated in even ten years' time. I think the other four will age much more gracefully, but what do I know about the whole thing?

If you really want to know my true feelings on Crash, please read the essay I posted as a link yesterday (at the very bottom). I had the opportunity to see Black. White. (the new show from FX where white people and black people switch races via makeup), and it crystallized some of my feelings on Crash's faults. Crash looks at race through the prism of overt racism, which has gotten much more subtle in our society, which values political correctness. You don't see people running around, calling each other racial epithets as much anymore. In Black. White., the white family expects to be greeted with the n-word. They never are. But they fail to see how the ways they are patronized and ignored work as subtle racism. That's because, having never had to DEAL with actual racism, they don't have a frame of reference for it. I mean, I don't have a frame of reference for it. I have had to rely on the accounts of friends. Crash reinforces the myth that racism consists of slurs and angry confrontations, and that's why it falls apart as a film.

But it won. Good for it, and its supporters.

Other thoughts. . .

--Rap is now two for two as a genre at the Oscars. Three Six Mafia will also get the chance to fill out a ballot every year from now on. Amusing.

--Jon Stewart was, I thought, one of the best hosts in recent memory. I don't like the Billy Crystal style vaudevillian schtick, so Stewart's dry, irony-laced take was candy for me. He DID get better as the show went along, and I was impressed by his ability to rein in his trademark political humor, while still landing lots of great jokes.

--The song performances were all pretty good. The "In the Deep" performance WAS a bit odd, what with the interpretive dancing and burning car, but Bird York has a beautiful voice. Dolly Parton was a true showstopper. And Three Six Mafia's performance was suitably iconoclastic.

--The best speech, I thought, came from George Clooney. Sad that it was all downhill from there.

--It's time to truly revamp the Oscar process. Why not follow the Tonys lead and present some of the technical awards on PBS, so people can truly understand what they're all about? The reason people don't care about the technical awards is because they don't know what cinematography means.

--Since so many of you have asked me. . .Sound mixing is the creation of the total audio soundscape. It's about how well the dialogue, sound effects, music and other elements combine to make ear candy. Sound editing is about the sound added AFTER the film is completed. It mostly has to do with creating sound effects (which is why Sci-Fi and war films tend to do well here).

--Despite the crowing about Crash in the media, this is truly the biggest Oscar upset in a long time. The only film to win MORE precursor awards than Brokeback was Schindler's List. The closest analogue I can find in Academy history for this is the year In the Heat of the Night beat Bonnie and Clyde. And that doesn't even really fit. Perhaps the Chariots of Fire over Reds year is a better fit. Nah. Nothing fits.

--Crash only won three awards. The last Best Picture winner to do that was Rocky in 1977 (for the year 1976). The last time four films won three awards a piece to tie for the most awards won was. . .I don't even want to think about it!

--On to 2006!

Sopranos Season 4 review tomorrow. And maybe some other stuff.

No comments: