Robservations | 90th Academy Awards

I like how he confirmed that he won by checking the envelope in Warren Beatty’s hand.

 

Hey man Rob Lee here and I’ve got something on my mind – the 90th Academy Awards.

For the third year in a row I’ve watched the awards with my girlfriend. She enjoys the awards and I enjoy her. We It’s a great time because we make it into a whole production – we see some of the Best Picture nominated films at The Best Picture Showcase and we’ve had a themed menu – last year we had Moonlight Mimosas. We laugh a lot like I’m sure any couple does. Some of the speeches, musical performances and presenters are pretty cringe. I look forward to watching the awards, most of the movies aren’t on my radar but I think I have a decent barometer of what’s good and what’s not. That gets me to my review of the Awards.

WINNERS

First off, congratulations to all the nominees and winners. I was happy to see Gary Oldman win as it was long overdue – he’s been so many great characters.  It usually a crap shoot – I thought Denzel Washington was going to win as a means of making up for him not winning for Fences but I think they got it right. I was very happy for Jordan Peele winning for Get Out – it was great to see him win. I read he’s the first black screenwriter to win best original screenplay. It’s historical.

I had a bit of comic optimism when James Ivory won for Call Me by Your Name in the Best Adapted Screenplay. Comic optimism you ask? Well I just heard James and thought James Mangold…as in James Mangold for Logan. I heard James and I was up, then heard Ivory and went down. Damn – my nerd-boner dissipated. I will see Call Me by Your Name. Peace to Frances McDormand – she played my favorite character in 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.  My girl mentioned how her acceptances speeches are a bit mental so I had to watch her speech. It was good, important and useful. I would have been fine with Sally Hawkins winning as well.

SHAPE OF WATER

As far as the best pictures – I saw 5 of them – The Shape of Water, Get Out, 3 Billboards, Lady Bird and Phantom Thread. My least liked was Lady Bird because I felt I already avoided this movie – it was called Juno. I like the others – 3 Billboards followed by The Shape of Water as my favorites. Also, I didn’t think  Greta Gerwig or Jordan Peele had a chance to be Best Director because these we their debut films. While Lady Bird wasn’t my favorite film, I can see why people like it. I waited to see Get Out, much like I did with Black Panther. It’s rare that I believe the hype anymore – I’ve seen too much. I know i’ll enjoy the films for my own reasons.

I’m very happy Guillermo Del Toro won for Best Director and that his film won best picture for the Shape of Water. Long overdue. Also, I like how he confirmed that he won by checking the envelope in Warren Beatty’s hand. I was spot-on with my predictions – I judged the films and performances by their merits with an acknowledgement of where they my fit with the audience in terms of impact and popularity. The Shape of Water fell within Del Toro’s style and vision while being fresh to me

OBSERVATION

There were several that went on. I often have to take a step because and consider the climate instead of how something is presented. Progress isn’t always easily digestible or pretty – that said, I think diversity in terms of who’s making the films and what the films are about is important. The Best Picture is about a sea creature falling in love with a mute girl in 1960’s Baltimore!!!! The Best Original Screenplay is a horror/comedy about white people discovering a new way of slavery. Would white men tell these stories? No. Could white men tell these stories? No. It’s important to have various voices telling stories from schlock to great art house films. With the award buzz, this well happen.

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

Additionally, representation matters and time’s up are messages presented from the people there to the lapel pins worn. These are important messages that need to continue and grow. For too long people have had their lives and careers ruined because of this culture of power being abused. Chiefly, it’s been men because they’ve had the power – it’s primarily white men because that’s the power structure – no more. There’s no room for it and moviegoers and critics as well has people in film are speaking that truth. It doesn’t fit morally, culturally and it doesn’t make money. As things start to shift perhaps things will improve and new stars, films, genres and so on will happen.

My only criticism of these message and any message – I’m on the side of justice – like Batman – I’m on that side always. If injustice and folks suffering is used as a marketing tactic, I can resist it. I’m conflicted. I’m eager to see where the conversation goes, where diversity in film – as all levels goes and how moviegoers play a role in both. I welcome more films on diverse topics, created by diverse people and geared to a diverse audience. See you next year, Oscar.

R

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