Monday, February 25, 2013

The Academy's Oscars 2013 Report Card... And Mine!

Another movie year wraps. Another bittersweet ending. Another report card... for Oscar and me.
How did I do? 
19 out of 24 for my "Will wins" and 15 out of 24 for my "Should wins". A high score on the latter was a distant dream, but 19 on the former... ain't my best. Could have been reduced if I did not take some silly risks like, Best Actress- Riva instead of the hot favourite, Lawrence.

How did the Academy do? 
I guess, since this is all so subjective, a different choice here and there among deserving equals is no big deal. But what gets fans all riled up (including myself)is when some work significantly below par than the competition gets awarded or when the significantly superior work gets snubbed. The idea of putting in the word 'significant' is to say that if most people can see this difference, why cannot a supposed expert body like the Academy. Many times the reasons for that happen to be things like... unfair bias, politics, hype, herd mentality...well , anything BUT merit! So keeping our minor differences aside like Christoph over Tommy Lee, I think this year the Academy goofed big-time in 3 categories:

1) Best Picture: Argo was good, unfortunately Life of Pi was great. There have been movies like Argo before and there will be again. However I really wonder if a movie like Life of Pi (a combination of its story, execution and artistry) exists or will again any time soon. To me this is what Best Picture represents. Something different, innovative and marks a special moment in the history of cinema. I can say without a doubt that LoP fits that bill over any Argo. Again, this is not to take away from the fact that Argo is good film on most counts... just not that special!

Secondly, though I wholeheartedly support the Best Director for Ang Lee, it seems a bit tainted in the light of the 'Affleck Snub'Lee's deserving win would have been better served if it was in-spite of Affleck being nominated for director or if LoP won best picture too. That way, there would not be any room for doubt that the Academy knew what they were doing and REALLY wanted Lee to win.

2) Best Lead Actress: I gave up on my personal favourite performance of the year, Naomi Watts winning because of the almost non-existent buzz. Even though I have read many high profile industry veterans thinking similarly about her performance. However choosing to award Jeniffer Lawrence over the subtle and hard hitting performance of Emanuelle Riva is puzzling. Lawrence has her whole career in front of her, she is capable and will do much more deserving work in the future. Riva, in my opinion brought something else to that role, something nuanced and rare.

3) Best Animated Film: This is by far the worst mistake this year. If it were not a weak year for animated features,  Brave probably would not have even been nominated. After winning mostly all honours including those from the animation community (Annie), Disney's Wreck-it-Ralph was clearly the most deserving. Personally I preferred Frankenweenie, but I would be very happy with WiR too. Hell any of those nominated movies were better than Brave. This unconditional Pixar love is damaging not only to the general morale but to Pixar too. It reduces the value of their really great wins like Toy Story 3, or monumental Pixar snubs like Shrek winning over Monsters Inc. The tragedy is, since the conception of this category 12 years ago, Team Disney Animation— the inventors of American feature film animation,  have yet to win!! Yes, they have faltered but they have also had some great success like Lilo & Stitch and Tangled (not even nominated!) So, Wreck-it-Ralph, coming so close to ending this draught and tripping... that too over a flimsy thing like Brave... is very very sad. The silver lining here is the winning of Paperman in animated short category... a small but great respite for Disney Animation (first since 1969). Oh well, maybe Frozen will change things for them in the feature category next year!

The ceremony itself was good fun...Seth was not the best nor the worst. I love musicals but the idea of using that as a theme to shine light on ONLY a couple of not-so-awesome(relatively speaking) and not-so-long-ago musicals (Chicago, Dreamgirls) seems unnecessary and somewhat screwy. They could have been so much more creative with this theme using musicals from across the decades. A coincidence no doubt that the producers of the telecast are also the producers of two of the movies that were celebrated, Chicago and Hairspray! business. Till the Tonys Oscars 2014!


  1. Bang on with the assessment Kushal. I too feel the same as you. Argo no doubt was a wonderful movie but Life of Pi was special in every sense of the way. A movie like Argo can easily divide the world (due to its Pro-US and Anti-Iran sentiment) but not a movie like LoP, which tells the story of human spirit and belief.