This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

Search This Blog

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar 2014 Recap.

On an annual basis there are six potentially career changing awards made by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Science. Better known as Oscars they are 1)Best Picture. 2)Best Director. 3)Best Actor. 4)Best Actress. 5)Best Supporting Actor, and 6)Best Supporting  Actress. 

In each of the above categories  with the exception of best picture, five nominations are made. Best Picture can have has many as ten nominations. Last year there were nine Best Pictures nominations. Thus  there were a total of  34 nomination were spread over a total of eleven movies. Last night those 34 nominations became six actual winners from four different movies.

  • 12 years a Slave won Best Picture and Best Sporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o,. 

  • Dallas Buyers Club won Best Actor Matthew McConaughey,and Best Supporting Actor Jared Leto.

  • Gravity Alfonso Cuarón, won Best Director (only the 23rd time in 85 years awards for Best Picture and Best Director have gone to separate movies).

  • Blue Jasmine Cate Blanchett,  won for  Best Actress.
So what shall we make of all that  ? Well Oscar likes to share the wealth. But we know that and have known it for years. Sweeps it seems are not  politically correct .

Do we agree with all the awards ? Yes and No.12 years a Slave was the most significant, ground breaking picture of the year in its depiction of slavery.  With a potential of ten best picture nominations we were however dismayed to see the critically acclaimed  Fruitvale Station, a tragedy in Urban America overlooked for celebrations of wanton greed and excess like The Wolf of Wall Street. Uncle Nestor who is slightly to  right  of Archie Bunker was "PO ed"  that The Butler (which I did not see  but he says was really good)  was overlooked for "some of the nominated junk" he  was dragged to.

Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards  to the Dallas Buyer's Club is in our opinion is also very deserved. Like 
12 Years a Slave the makes a significant social statement.

Gravity as a movie left us cold. No pun attended. First of all the space craft depicted was apparently a rental from Russia. The horizontal striped  tri-color flag and Russian lettering inside indicate that. Secondly how can anyone be Best Director,for directing a film for with a  cast  of essentially one ? All the rest was special effects. CGI. Computer Generated Imagery.

Last but not least , for  Best Actress we would put  Cate Blanchett's good performance in Blue Jasmine well below that of Meryl Streep's  great performance  in August: Osage County, and  Judy Dench's in Philomena.

Both of the later pictures quote TS, Elliot. August: Osage County begins with a quotation for Elliot's The Hollow Man.

I had to speak my mind once, seeing that I knew you from a child, so to speak. And now I shall forget; but you are young yet. Life is very long,” he went on, with unconscious sadness.

The speaker, a poet himself  then tells the audience that many have had similar thoughts  or even said as much but T.S. gets the credit because he was the first to write it down.

Tolstoy who is not quoted tells us (first line of Anna Karina

 Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Margo Martindale Picture
The family in August:Osage County is not happy and life is long. Meryl Streep is the matriarch.  The cast also includes Julia Roberts, (also Oscar nominated) and Margo Martindale (University of Michigan), and now playing in the FX  TV series The Americans. She also played with Streep in The Hours.) The women  dominate but the men are not pushovers.There is Chris Cooper, October Sky who previously paired with Streep,and won a Supporting Actor Oscar in Adaptation and Ewan McGregor of Star Wars.) 

In short Meryl Streep, (in the spirit of  all memorable Mothers or Mother-in-laws ) is a master, in voice and facial expressions that convey every emotion under the sun. Using them Streep  often in less than a  second goes from rage to  restraint and then humor as she considers the absurdity of it all. Throughout the film Julia Roberts holds her own and Margo Martindale (as she does on the FX TV series) offers a delicious sort of evil.

Philomena is a movie  about unwed mother in Ireland who in 1952 is forced to give up her child and provide  indentured servitude at  the "everything by hand" laundry of the convent that takes her in.

"It really wasn't slave labor" she explains. " I could have left at any time but I would have had to pay the convent back for all I owed them and I had no other way of coming up with the money."

She tells this to one who has become a journalist because he just been "given the sack"from a prestigious government job.

In some respects getting sacked or inadvertently pregnant isn't very different. Everyone is sympathetic but no one believes it isn't your fault.

The Journalist agrees to help  her find out what 
happened to of the baby she gave up for adoption. When answers are not forthcoming in Ireland they go looking for them in the United States a popular destination of adopted infants of that era.

Thus begins a journey of serendipity or as the journalist explains
which prompts Philomena to ask. "That's really quite good. Did you write that Martin ?"  No he says explaining it is T.S. Elliot.

The New York Times in review by Stephen Holden, states "The movie has many facets. It is a comedic road movie,  a detective story, an infuriated anticlerical screed,and an inquiry into faith  and the limits of reason, all rolled together.... That Ms. Dench makes you believe  her character has  the capacity to forgive provides the movie with a solid moral center."

No comments: