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Every year the anticipation of the Academy Awards builds until the end of February, only to leave viewers in shock with some of the winners chosen for the awards. However, this year I remained optimistic throughout the opening ceremony, hoping that they would get it right this time around.
But of course, I was left aghast at some of the winners chosen.
It started smoothly. The first Oscar was for Achievement in Cinematography, which went to “Hugo.” While I would have awarded this to “Tree of Life,” I agree with the notion that “Hugo”‘s cinematography was excellent.
I was also in agreement with the next five choices, and my optimism felt justified, when suddenly — the award for Achievement in Film Editing goes to “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” I cringed at the announcement, as I reminisced on the confusion I experienced during the two hour and 40 minute film.
CUI's Eddie Quartin recaps Sunday night's 84th annual Academy Awards. (CU Independent/Josh Shettler)
This set the precedent for more discrepancies to come.
“Hugo” was by far the best movie of the year. Terrific acting, phenomenal directing – everything about the film was beautiful. So when “The Artist” won best picture, I was dumbfounded.
“The Artist” was a good film. It was funny, emotional, and occasionally reminded me of the wonderful movie “8 1/2.” Yet, too much hype was made for the fact that it’s in black and white, and silent. It deservedly won Best Original Score, and deserved the nominations, but apart from that, the accolades felt unwarranted.
Jean Dujardin’s performance in “The Artist,” was rewarded with the Oscar for Best Actor in A Leading Role. An award, I felt, should have been won by Gary Oldman for “Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy.” Gary Oldman’s persona was hypnotic throughout the mystery movie. While Dujardin was good in his role, Oldman dominated each frame he was in.
Despite these two large blemishes of Best Movie and Best Actor in a Leading Role, the Academy Awards did have some bright spots. The award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role was given to Christopher Plummer for the film “Beginners.” I was pleasantly surprised by this. Not only did Plummer deserve the award, but the movie was not seen by many people and the Oscars tend to feel like a popularity contest.
I was also satisfied with the selections of “Rango,” for Best Animated Feature Film, and Octavia Spencer for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in the movie “The Help.” “Rango” was not only a great movie, but it should have been nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture. While “The Help” wasn’t necessarily great, Octavia Spencer’s performance is one of its shining qualities, and her award speech was one to remember.
However, these adequate selections could not overcome the disdain I felt toward the ceremony, especially when the award for Best Director was given out. This should have gone to Martin Scorsese for “Hugo.” The blending of 3D with a movie about film making was not only genius, but beautiful. Every shot in the film helped the story progress, and there was a clear sense of fun and imagination put into the storytelling. Unfortunately the award went to Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist.” While some of the scenes in the film are very well done, there is one shot of Dujardin staring at his reflection that is excellent, the overall direction was not nearly as good as in “Hugo.”
I blame the imperfections of the Academy Awards on Hollywood’s need to distribute awards based on popularity. Although “Hugo” won the most awards, it was robbed of the essential awards that truly define a great movie, which it was.
Many of the awards I would have given to other films. Thankfully, they got one thing right. “Moneyball” left with no awards.
Each year I am baffled by some of the choices made by the Academy, and this year was no different. Hopefully next time they will get it right — but I doubt it.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Eddie Quartin at Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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