Tossin’ It Out There – What do YOU think of the Oscars?

Good morning, everybody!

Oscar has spoken, and “The Artist”, and everyone thought, has been crowned king… Meryl Streep was given another jewel for her crown, George Clooney was not.

So today’s topic of conversation is the Academy Awards, obviously. Yet I realize that many people won’t have watched the show, or don’t really have any connection to this year’s “class” of movies, so we’re going to broaden the discussion to the Oscars in general. If you’d like to comment on last night’s show specifically, that’s great, but if you’re still confused how “How Green Was My Valley” beat out Citizen Kane, have at it. If you’ll never forgive “Ordinary People” for beating out “Raging Bull”, let us know…

To me, as much as the Academy Awards are irritating at times, they’re still one of the most prestigious awards in the world. It’s also a very tough, tough task… and I think they get it right far more often than they get it wrong.

Personally, it seems as though “The Artist” has been given the awards months ago, and there was some precious little suspense last night. Streep’s win was shocking, because she definitely didn’t give the best performance of the year, but Oscar likes the things Oscar likes. Just look at “Hugo” winning best visual effects over all the movies it did… wow.

So let me hear it people, what do YOU think of the Oscars? Can’t wait to see the Red Carpet each year? Do you play in Oscar Pools? How’d your picks do? Happy for Streep? Pissed? What’s the biggest Oscar fumble ever? “Chariots of Fire” over “Raiders”? LOL What do YOU think of the Oscars


77 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There – What do YOU think of the Oscars?

  1. Overall, I enjoyed the Oscars from 2/26/12. I think I would have been bummed out if “Tree Of Life” got best picture. But there have been other moments, not necessarily as winners but as nominations that have be perturbed. The one glowing ommission was when Jackie Gleason got snubbed for “Nothing In Common”. I believe that was in 87 or 86.
    As for Best Visual Effect last night, GO HUGO!!! (My #1 film for last year)

    • Still huh? No way I agree on that one (Hugo VFX) but there has to be some contentiousness around, it’s healthy 😀

      Tree of Life had no chance at Best Picture. Probably would have come in like 5th or 6th out of nine if they actually showed the vote tallies (which would be cool, come to think of it)

  2. Also glad for the song from “The Muppets”. Now people can say it’s an Academy Award winning movie.

    • I never mentioned this but it doesn’t matter if the Oscars are boring or not. I attended a party hosted by the George Eastman House with tons of foods, people taking my picture, and lots of movie lovers like me. I liked it so much I’m going back next year and I don’t care who’s nominated. I’m going to a kick-ass party.

  3. As each year goes by I get more and more jaded about the Oscars. Mediocre films with one stellar performance are congratulated, while truly all-round brilliant films aren’t, because they’re not “academy friendly”. Why does that need to be a criteria? It’s useless.

    It’s all about who’s patting who’s back and who’s got the most sway with who. Perhaps I’m being too cynical. While I’m happy with who won the awards this year, none of them were all that surprising. Like you said, it’s as if The Artist was awarded months back. Not that I’m complaining, I love the film.

    I’m just going to wait for an Oscar ceremony that really inspires and surprises me. Meanwhile, I’ll make do with oogling at the pretty dresses and catastrophes.

    • Ha! So its you they do that red carpet stuff for, huh? Literally I had never watched that part of the program before in my life. It was some strange shit…

      “It’s all about who’s patting who’s back and who’s got the most sway with who. Perhaps I’m being too cynical.”

      No, not at all.. I mean, its definitely about that stuff. Hard not to call it out for what it is…

      • I never used to like the red carpet stuff. For the most part, I still loathe it. Well the presenters that do all that guff. I’m quite happy looking at the web the morning after at all the photos of the pretty dresses and tuexes.

        I got cynical of Hollywood when I realised all you need for a star on the walk of fame is money.

  4. Hi Fogs,

    I agree with just about everything you’ve written. The Oscars remain a very prestigious event, and although they don’t always get it right (ie. Meryl Streep!?!?!?), more times than not they really do make the right selections.

    For me, the Oscars are bigger than the Super Bowl. I was lucky enough to sit alongside the red carpet last year and it was an incredible experience and one I hope to relive one day. I’m not big on fashion, but I certainly appreciate beauty and it’s definitely on display on the red carpet.

    My Oscar pool was ruined early on with Hugo winning the technical awards. Thankfully, it wasn’t a sign of things to come. I was happy to see The Artist win Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director, but was terribly disappointed that Viola Davis was snubbed.

    All in all, I thought it was decent show. Although a lot of Billy’s jokes were stale, I’d watch him host year after year (maybe mix in Ellen and Chris Rock here and there). Things moved along at a very nice pace, and no one needed to be seriously cut off.

    I look forward to what next year’s telecast brings.

    • Joe, hope you swing back through for this… your comment got caught in my “Spam” filter for some reason, even though its obviously not spam.

      My apologies, I do try my best to approve new comments as soon as they come in typically. 😦

      (ie. Meryl Streep!?!?!?)

      All the question marks and exclamation points pretty much sum up how I felt when I heard it. LOL

      Thats awesome you got to sit by the red carpet. I’d definitely be up for that, myself. Hope you got some good pictures.

      As to next year, yeah, we’ll see what it brings. I’d watch Billy too, but I doubt he’ll be back. I just think they got into a bit of a jam and called on him as Mr Reliable in order to get out of it….

      • Fogs, it’s all good my friend. I plan on being a regular reader of your blog, so you don’t have to worry about me missing anything. 🙂

        Much like you stated on your podcast, I felt (and continue to feel) very strongly that Viola Davis was most deserving for her performance. Rooney Mara would have been my 2nd choice.

        I did get some great pictures. The best part of the event for me, was when someone walking the red carpet (no idea who it was) yelled up to me because I was wearing a Phillies jersey and they were from the area. I’ll have to write up something and share some of the photographs.

        Unfortunately, I think you may be right about Billy. I also think the bum rap he’s getting over the Sammy Davis bit is going to convince him that it’s just not worth it.

      • Awesome, that’s a relief. I usually prefer to welcome people and thank them for reading as opposed to letting their comments hang out in the spam folder, but for you, Joe, I’ll make an exception 😀

        Yeah, you know, I have no issue with the “blackface” so much as just its an old bit. I mean, it was an old impression when he was doing it in the 80s. Now its 30 years removed.

        Sounds like a great idea for a post, yeah. Circle back and let us all know if you do put something together!

  5. Meh. I watched only for the follies and it instantly over when The Walking Dead came on. I thought Billy Crystal would make it funny; I thought The Muppets would have a bigger impact on the show. Disappointed that ‘The Artist’ won for best picture. You know Fogs, I just don’t know. I hadn’t watched the Oscars since, what, like in 2009? I didn’t miss much it seems. By the way, enjoyed your tweets last night!

    • Ha! Thanks Aidy. Twitter and the Oscars were made for each other… 😀

      I was sad the Muppets didnt play a bigger role, too. At least they were given a token appearance. They need Statler and Waldorf in a balcony heckling Billy Crystal… that would make the show ten times better.

      Why no love for the artist, kid?

      • Well I am thinking this way–I wanted the Oscars to kind of veer away from the typical Oscar-type film. ‘The Artist’ fit everything the Oscars was all about.The first film to ever win an Oscar was a silent film in 1929. So it was a shoo-in for a win. I wanted something more of the times, and I hoped that this would have been the approach and it was not. I agree, it would have been better to seen Waldorf and Statler occupy the balcony. They kept the show really tight, safe. The best thing about last night was that stunt Sasha Cohen pulled with Ryan Seacrest. The Oscars should have been hosted by Jimmy Fallon. That would have been an awesome opening act.

      • Fogs, you’re right; Muppets this year are one vehicle that young AND old enjoy and yet show almost totally missed that fact.

  6. I watched for the first time in a few years……I think I would have been just as satisfied watching the re-cap on the Today show the next morning

  7. I enjoyed Billy Crystal. Best part of the night was Will Ferrell and Zack G. cymbals to introduce winning original Muppet song. Second best was either Ellen Degeneres commercials where she travels back in time OR Muppets Google+ ad over Bowie’s “Under Pressure” song.

    Miffed at how b/w, non-talking movie usurps other movies; stay tuned for more silent films I guess. Surprised Clooney did NOT get best actor. Glad Help won best supporting actress (Spenser); thought Help would win for best actress too (Davis). I guess Meryl is THAT good in Iron Lady.

    • Oh that Muppets Google + commercial is one of the greatest things ever in the history of ever. LOL

      You know, I’m going to guess you havent SEEN “The Artist”, forgive me if you have. Give it a chance and see what you think. I loved it. I really do think its an excellent film.

      • …another Fogs Phrase to add to your book: “one of the greatest things ever in the history of ever.”

        Although “smooth golden tones” will remain my favorite for a long time

  8. Didn’t catch the ceremony (live in the UK), but not impressed at all by the winners this year, given that most gongs were given to nostalgia-driven movies and that a shed-load of fantastic films and performances were simply diregarded. I think it shows the age/sentimentality of the academy, and that they need a big shake up in their eligible voters / nomination process. ‘Safe’ and ‘predictable’ would be my choice of descriptive words this time round.

    • That’s exactly it – they need some fresh, young blood.

      And when the Oscars finally get over whatever the hell it is that stops them from awarding the amazing, fantasy and sci-fi films out there, maybe i’ll give them more credit.

    • ” ‘Safe’ and ‘predictable’ would be my choice of descriptive words this time round.”

      Safe and predictable are usually always words that go hand in hand with Oscar, unfortunately.

      I didnt think the “Artist” didnt deserve to win, but there were a couple of nomination choices and a couple of awards which showed the Academy is still kind of “Old Gaurd” Streep’s win, Hugo for VFX, no nominations for Drive… that kind of thing

  9. I always enjoy watching The Oscars, but I don’t put much stock in them. It’s been noted above just how arbitrary and political they are. Also opening the best picture category up to 9 was dumb, in my opinion. Simply nominating more films doesn’t make up for the fact that they often choose such dumb films to win.

    • Ehhhhhh… you know? Its better than when there were just five. I think. Even if you get to the point where its like ok, there’s two or three “true contenders” and then 7-8 “no shot in Hells”.

      Its the Dark Knight effect, you know? At least it allows them to CYA a little better… even though they kind of botched it this year by just using extra slots to pick extra safe, Oscar baity movies like Extremely loud.

  10. The Oscars are kind of like a car wreck: people watch them not because they like what they see, but because they just can’t look away.

    Of course, Meryl Streep won again for a shitty fake British-accent, and Glenn Close got snubbed again for like the 8th time. Of course, a no-name French douchefilm took home every award. Of course, best actor went to a guy who didn’t have any dialog. The key to acting in a silent film is “overacting.” Of course, super relevant and hilarious comedian Billy Crystal was the host.

    All these reasons and more were why I spent the evening watching Boardwalk Empire and cleaning out my closet.

  11. Awards shows in general exhaust me. There’s a reason I’m only arsed enough to write about the Academy Awards; if I’m going to write about an award show, it’ll be the award show. That’s it. But even just examining the Oscars is tough for me; the entire concept of the cinema award show is antithetical to the “why” of my passion for movies. The Academy doesn’t maximize movies as art in the way it treats them; they’re more like product. Scott Weinberg made a comment via Twitter about how he likes films, not pieces of meat, and I’m inclined to agree. The very nature of awards shows strips movies of their artfulness.

    So I’m glad it’s all over, and we can focus on what we’ve seen in 2012 so far and catch up on the 2011 films we missed and go back farther than that to see important or great films from the past that we haven’t seen yet. And such.

    For my own part, seeing The Artist win wasn’t a shock. Its victory was only inevitable. I wrote about this in my own follow-up to the Oscars, but a film in which the protagonist sets out to make a film outside of the studio system, gets crushed, and reinvigorates his career by running back to the studio plays right into Hollywood’s ego. It’s why I don’t see the film as light, airy, and crowd-pleasing as much as others, but it’s also the biggest reason why The Artist is such an awards darling, especially for the Academy. George’s narrative and the resolution to his arc reinforces the idea that the creative side of filmmaking is/should be beholden to the financial side. While some take that as a negative, I actually think it makes the film more worthy of discussion.

    I am a bit shocked to see Dujardin beat Clooney– there’s really no question whose performance was superior, and Hollywood loves to reward its royalty, so I really did expect Clooney to win. But I guess to maintain the party line, it had to go to Dujardin. Funny that “holding the party line” means rewarding the male lead but ignoring the female lead.

    I was happy to see the Screenplay awards go to worthy movies, and Hugo ate up all the technical awards that, quite frankly, it deserved. (It’s interesting to note that Hugo and The Artist won awards in a similar pattern to last year’s Inception and The King’s Speech, with the former in both pairings taking the technical stuff and the latter taking the top prizes.) I think other than that and Christopher Plummer and Brett McKenzie winning, there’s not a whole lot that really shook me up about these awards.

    • Wow. That’s a good point about “The Artist” and the Hollywood system. And SUPER cynical. LOL! I approve.

      I honestly just think it won because it was deservant though, personally. 😀

      I wasnt half as shocked to see Dujardin beat Clooney as I was to see Streep beat out her competition. I really did feel the Iron Lady was a lackluster film on the whole, and I think hers was the third best performance out of the three I saw in that category…

      Hey. In a lot of ways, movies are products. And this is a way to promote, celebrate them, glamorize them, etc. I dont mind. I do wish they’d do a better job in some regards, though for sure.

      • I don’t think that the Oscars really celebrates them, though, exactly because it pushes only a select few as product. For all the films that were actually nominated only a handful actually get much of anything by way of genuine recognition and promotion; the rest are drowned or suffocated by the winning horses. Partially this is due to the fact that only one film can win in each category, so naturally the other 1-8 films kind of get overlooked. Mostly this just has to do with the structure and attitude of the ceremony. If the Academy wants people to recognize excellence in filmmaking, build the entire show around praising and applauding each film instead of around the antics of a host forced to self-aggrandize themselves and pacify a captive audience; it’s surprising how little the show is meaningfully about the films it’s supposed to be celebrating.

        Think of it this way– what movies will we really remember based on the show? Probably just The Artist and Hugo.

        I’m not completely saying The Artist didn’t “deserve” to win, but I think there are better films that were more worthy of the award. It’s not as though the award went to, say, Red State. That would be a different conversation. So The Artist is a fine enough winner, like The King’s Speech last year, but it beat stronger movies even if it’s a good movie on its own merits. But that through-line celebrating studio dominance can’t be a non-factor in the decision to award Best Picture to the movie, either.

        Didn’t see The Iron Lady, but I thought Streep’s “American groaned” speech to be pretty phony baloney. They should have taken the award away from her the minute she went into that monologue– surely the Best Actress can do better than that. I don’t much care that she won, though it would have been nice to see a Rooney Mara or a Michelle Williams win.

        that. I don’t really mind her winning, but it

      • “If the Academy wants people to recognize excellence in filmmaking, build the entire show around praising and applauding each film instead of around the antics of a host forced to self-aggrandize themselves and pacify a captive audience; ”

        Total agreement there.

        But “The Artist” is better than Hugo 😀 LOL!!

        And I dont know, maybe Streep’s “America Groaned” speech WAS phooney baloney. But at the time that she said it, I just felt she was being insightful. Cause I just had. She said that and I was like, “I know I did!!”

      • We’ll agree to disagree on Hugo (for some reason I can’t reply to your most recent post), but you’re wrong. *cough*

        I might be a bit harsh on Streep– after all, she wasn’t wrong– but man, just act dignified, take the award, and get off the stage if that’s how you feel.

  12. “It’s all about who’s patting who’s back and who got the most sway with who.” They say the reason the Academy names and voting record is secret is so they won’t be unfairly influenced.Bah! You think Harvey Weinstein doesn’t know who to call, who’s arm to twist? This is about money! You think non-studio film producers go to the bank for a loan? No chance of that happening! It’s funny how Weinstein was the man behind the scene for “The king’s Speech”, “The Artist”, and “The Iron Lady”! Newsweek had a photo of Streep and Weinstein on a Hollywood balcony where she called Weinstein “God”! Wow! Feel better how(fully vented). A couple of other things, What gives with pushing Octavia Spencer off of her historic award speech? And the original song only had two nominees? Oscar’s been complaining about time given to these songs for years. Hack Job! Enjoyed the annual gripe fest though!

    • Yeah no kidding, huh? Feel better now? 😀

      Shooing Octavia Spencer was one of the worst moments of the night. Shame on them. How about cutting out some of the bullshit so the winners in the big catergories have a chance to talk a little, damn! If I wanted to see Crique du Soleil, I’d go to Cirque du Soleil…

      And yeah, he’s a king maker (or queen in this case), no doubt.

  13. Personally, I didn’t think it was too bad. Certainly a lot better than last year with the whole Hathaway/Franco fiasco. The show is just so vanilla because they are trying to reach such a huge audience but I liked all the little bits where actors talked about what makes a great film and some of the montage were well edited. Billy Crystal was Billy Crystal, which is good enough to host this.

      • I know man! How the hell did Emmanuel Lubezki lose Best Cinematography to Hugo!? The Tree of Life was just breathtaking.

      • Due to some nominating rules, the number of best picture nominees only came out to 9. As for Hugo getting the Best Cinematography Award, it’s other cinematographers who vote for their own kind. They thought Hugo’s was the best. And for all the nominating and voting, it’s all politics and trying to get more people to see their films.

  14. I admit to having mixed feelings about the Oscars, in general, and this year.

    I haven’t seen most of this year’s nominees, in any category. Combination of not having gotten to the theatre very often this past year, and of the Oscars being particularly artsy-fartsy this year. (Not saying that any of those films were bad, I don’t know; just that the “Oscar Bait” was more obvious and abundant than usual.) I understand, accept, and to a certain extent even agree with the tendency for the Academy to nominate films for Best Picture that aren’t necessarily the big blockbusters. “Best” and “Most Popular” are two different things; if they weren’t, all the awards shows would be condensed to a single guy saying “Hey, this film grossed the most last year.” But it does sometimes make it difficult for someone like me, who hasn’t seen all or even many of the nominees, to weigh in. And I’m very curious to see just what the “butts in seats” count is for the various Best Picture winners. It’d be hard to calculate (given the need to figure out the conversion rates of different ticket prices over the decades), but I may have to tackle that at some point. I have a feeling that if I do, Gladiator and Return of the King are going to stand out like flag poles.

    But for this year’s nominees, the only films I saw were The Muppets and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. So, not exactly a lot of categories I could claim to be informed about. I was glad to see “Man or Muppet” win — I did give “Real in Rio” a listen, and though it’s OK, it’s just not in its league, and I doubt the context of the film could elevate it to such. Seriously disappointed there were only two nominees for that category, though. For TF, it was up for the sound and visual awards, and while I think it did both of those exceptionally well, I can’t argue against those awards going elsewhere. I’m insufficiently informed about the sound awards nominees. From what little I’ve seen of the visual effects nominees, all may well be deserving.

    On general Oscar trends… I’m never really surprised to see a picture or two sweep up multiple awards. Logically, the Best Picture should be best in more than a few of the other awards. I am curious on how often there’s a Picture/Director split, or Picture/Screenplay (and after Gelf’s edifying post on Sound Editing/Sound Mixing, I also wonder how often those split. I’m feeling a serious stats project coming on…)

    I like the expansion of the Best Picture award in recent years (in some ways, a re-expansion; early Academy Awards didn’t seem to have a set limit). I know that, for example, Toy Story 3 probably didn’t really have a chance to win, but I do think it genuinely is an honor for something to be nominated. And if nothing else, more nominees means more debate fodder (which is the primary audience benefit, in my eyes) while at the same time meaning it’s not apt to be as heated — I think people are less likely to be upset by a nominated favorite not winning than by a favorite not being nominated at all. I do think, though, that if they’re going to allow ten, they should ensure they nominate ten every time. Even if #10 has no realistic chance, it should be there.

    There is one thing I really dislike about some award giving, though. The “career award”. Honorary Oscars are OK, that’s what they’re there for. But somebody shouldn’t win Best Actor, Actress, Director, etc., simply because “it’s their turn”. It should go to whoever genuinely did best that year. Doing otherwise just leads to snubbing, and worse — having to give an “apology career award” later to the snubbee and perpetuating the cycle. Restore the integrity, realize that if Wonderful Artist X hasn’t gotten an award when they deserved it, giving them one when they don’t doesn’t change that. If you really want to honor somebody for their body of work, that’s what the Lifetime Achievement Award is for, and there’s no shame in an honorary Oscar — after all, the very first one was given in the very first year, explicitly because Charlie Chaplin was just that good. (OK, and also to The Jazz Singer, for being the first feature-length talkie. But again, that just says that Honorary Oscars can be true honors.)

    • Morgan, definitely agree with you when you say that the “Oscar Bait” was a whole lot more obvious this year. Also, it feels like there’s a trend now going forward that films that want to count themselves towards the Oscars will be about certain things in order to make sure they’re contenders. Biopics, are the worst culprits.

      • Yeah, biopics always seem like a shoe-in for Oscar contention, even if they don’t necessarily have any other merit. (Though there are exceptions; I notice J. Edgar didn’t garner any nominations.)

        But it’s certainly true that you can predict certain potentials ahead of time simply by timing and content. December film with a “deep” message? It’s going to have to be pretty dire to not at least be in consideration for a nomination.

    • (Though there are exceptions; I notice J. Edgar didn’t garner any nominations.)

      Thank God. I would have lost all faith in the Academy if they hadnt recognized that movie as dreck. LOL

      I was very upset about Streep’s best actress award. It was definitely a career nod, and as a result Viola Davis got robbed out of an Oscar… that’s just unfair.

      As for not nominating 10, I totally agree with you. Although one thing that does do is take some of the backlash off of nominate movies. Etrememly Loud and Incredibly Close didnt BUMP anything to get in the field for example – The Academy had an open spot and never filled it, so if its not in the field it wasnt getting in the field, regardless of the other nominees.

      With a full slate, you could always point to a movie and say why this one and not… X?

      • I don’t understand why there has to be career nods. You’re nominated for a role you’re playing, not the sum of roles you’ve played up til now.

  15. I caught the second half of the show. Pretty boring, lots of excess baggage and unnecessary segments, poor selections, etc. But hey, at least The Help didn’t win Best Picture!

  16. I liked this year’s ceremony a lot. But I really felt that Viola Davis deserved the award over Meryl Streep.

    Also wasn’t a fan of Drive receiving no attention. And what also just recently came to my attention via Flixchatter, is that SENNA was snubbed for documentary. Don’t know how I missed that, but…bad form there too.

    Billy Crystal is the master though. It’s too bad that Christopher Plummer AND Max von Sydow couldn’t both win. I’d liked to have seen that.

      • Between that and kind of getting hard of hearing (I saw him on the Red Carpet) he seemed really out of it. But hey man, he’s been around, you know?

        Meanwhile, yeah, I hate when Oscar gives career awards, as someone else said it becomes self perpetuating. Now, further down the line, some of these ladies will need a “Make-Up” Oscar, which will cause someone in that years crop to need one, etc etc

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