Tuesday, March 04, 2014

And the Envelope, Please

Now that was a very satisfying Academy Awards Ceremony.  And the folks and films I wanted to win, won.  (Especially glad that "20 Feet From Stardom" got the gold.  That was a remarkable documentary that I hope Jim Dee brings back to the Palm, in case you missed it the first time around.)

And I'm especially glad that "Twelve Years a Slave" took best picture.  "Gravity" was a game-changer, technologically, but "Slave" was in many ways, a kind of cultural place-marker, a book-end, as it were, to the original "happy darkies" narrative of "Gone With The Wind."  Seventy-five years later, we finally get a far more honest picture of our dark history.

And in keeping with the seriousness of "Slave," I can't recall a better performed, more touching and dignified performance from a winner than the beautiful acceptance speech given by Lupita Nyong'o, who won for best supporting actress. The spirits of the long-dead were indeed watching.  I hope that talented lady has a long, challenging, successful career.

With pizza for the starve-to-get-into-the-couture stars, a record-breaking group-selfie Twittering around the globe, hostess Ellen DeGeneres set the perfect laid-back vibe that reminded everyone that, Hey, this is an awards ceremony/party, not curing cancer, so lighten up.  Toss in Mathew McConaughey conjuring up a picture of his late father proudly celebrating his son's win by doing a happy-feet dance in his underwear, lite-beer in hand, gumbo-pot nearby, and the image was "all right, all right, all right." Which about summed up the whole evening.

Including the one delicious jaw-dropping turn at the podium by Mrs. Baz Luhrman (Catherine Martin) who won the gold as best Costume Design for "The Great Gatsby." At the podium, she reached into the top of her gown and rummaged around her breasts until she finally located and pulled out a crumpled, damp-looking sheet of paper, upon which was her list of "thank-yous," and proceeded to read them off.  Substitute a crumpled pack of Camels instead of the paper, add in a kitchen match for a light-up, and the move would have been pure Trailer-park Queen!

Give that woman a Fosters!


Alon Perlman said...

A great re-cap. And who would had predicted that mctightabs would become a consummate acting professional.
As for Bookends, I have to include an honorable mention of the honorable mention the Academy gave to the Work of D. W. Griffith.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Agree with your re-cap Ann! I hope Ellen comes back next year, she was a gentle, fun host to this ego-fest. Gotta catch up on the pics we missed. 12 Years was so painful a story I didn't know if I could stand it. Bummed missing 20 Feet, hope it comes back. If not, Netflix to the rescue I guess. Loved the brother and sister Thank-You rhyme on best song - hilarious!

Churadogs said...

Toonces: Go see "12 years." It's so extraordinary in so many ways (I had a quarrel with what I call the "Simon Legree Problem" -- too much focus on one over-the-top, over-acting, stereotyped "bad, crazy guy," takes focus on the real horror; the utter, everyday, "normal" erasure of the humanity of the slaves. Note, particularly, the scene when Benedict Cumberbatch's wife asks why their new slave woman is weeping uncontrollably, and kindly suggests she be taken to the cabins and given some food and she'd forget her (sold) children soon enough, like she was a cow bawling for her calf, give her some grain. The film is filled with those quiet scenes, the true horror of the institution and Simon Legree's thrashing around too often detracts from that one abiding reality of slavery. Hence my quibble.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

OK, I'm convinced, I'll have to watch it. I might need a drink to steel myself and a box of Kleenex though.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Well, I could have had a drink, went out to dinner before and I did need the Kleenex. But I agree with your quibble. Have no idea what the book related as opposed to the film. Yes, it was worth seeing despite it being a true horror story. I'm always amazed (in a bad, depressed way) at how insane people can be in the treatment of fellow humans.

Churadogs said...

Toonces: One of the real ongoing tragedies is how we've covered up our history for so long (still are). There's been some interesting scholarship about how much the North was involved, how so many northern dynasties got rich off the slave trade, how many endowments of slave trade money went to Harvard, were the foundations of insurance companies, corporations etc. etc. All that hidden from view, while we tell ourselves fake stories about our history.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

As long as there is politics and big business interests there will be fake history!