Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

Our Hearts Belong to Oscar

          The annual gush over hunks and chicks strolling a Red Carpet (why not the Yellow Brick Road?) is because they are our royalty. We’ve never gotten over losing that when we broke up with the Brits.

          Now we pick from a cast (pun intended) of hundreds at once, very much alive and mugging cameras for our indulgence. And if not at their talent, then at their clothes, shoes and whatever wardrobe malfunctions. But it’s clear our hearts do not belong to Daddy, unless his name is Oscar.

          We call them “movies,” which has morphed to “movie theaters,” but whatever are we saying with that shorthand word: —what’s not “moving” on a stage or in other entertainment? It comes from the very first term, “moving pictures,” but still…

It is not to demean or deny movies and why we love them: it has to be a miracle anyone still goes to live theater when the competition has so many resources; not to mention the audience need not bathe or dress up—just settle in with the obligatory coke and popcorn and let those big faces on the screen scare the hell out of us or induce our tender tears.

          Certainly the talent is there, as on Broadway, but movies add all the glitter and sight/sound effects. Hence, stage acting is deemed “real” and more of a challenge. But screen actors chose the medium seen by more people, all over the globe—and more fame and fortune as well.

          It is proper too that attention is given now and then to those behind the scenes of the muggers’ success—writers, directors, screenplay adapters, et al, but however deserving they are, admit it: you thank god that it always comes back to those we lust for, in their stages of dress or undress, while we play flies on the wall at their big party.

          Nor can we deny powerful movie performances, however enhanced by special effects. And actors are at last left on their own for the coup de grace of the moment’s entertainment: one can cite McConaughey’s and Leto’s contrasting but balancing performances in “Dallas Buyers Club” and the verbal slug-fest between Roberts and Streep in “Osage County” (trailers for the latter made us think it was a comedic drama but in the climactic scene we thought they might kill each other for real). And here’s to Matt’s willingness to stop being just a stud-muffin and do truly serious roles—and the same to Julia for escaping her glamor-shot, T&A type-casting for real acting. Now if she and Sandra Bullock can stop dating ape-men who are out of their league, we could admire them even more.

          Matthew and Jared however took separate paths with their acceptance speeches: Leto nailed it with one of the better takes in Oscar history, while Matt reverted to his “Buyers Club” voice, laced with lame religious references.

          Before we abandon the style-factor, those Carpet shots give new meaning to “Selfies,” except someone else is holding the camera. And it’s amazing that so many people with so much money can’t come up with really smashing dresses, in this case making it easy for Lupita Nyong’o to smoke everyone else by a long shot. And here’s the latest tragedy: men are now busting style-moves on the carpet with similar results—meaning, don’t wear what they do, even at home.

          Ellen is becoming a national treasure, endearing by her totally naturalness and still surprising with her comedic deadpan.

          As for Leonardo, Scorsese has wasted too much directing capital trying to make him Brando’s successor. He was a young surprise in “Titanic” with the callow, shirtless body of an 11-year old, but he hasn’t aged that well as adult talent. His intended dramatic first appearance in the Gatsby remake was anti-climactic: nothing like Gable’s sparkling first presence in GWTW.

I was laughed at for saying the promising talent in Titanic was Kate Winslet—but she has since scarfed up all the big awards. This time it was a mistake to go for Gold with Leo in “Wolf of Wall Street”; Mike Douglas had already nailed that genre with the “Greed” movies. Leo always comes up empty but someday will get a “career” award a la Bob Hope, who hosted more Oscars than anyone and graced them all with countless un-funny one-liners. In an interview of recent vintage, Leo’s good friend Winslet referred to him lovingly as, “silly, farty old Leo.” There’s an award for you.

          So our hearts still belong to Oscar after all these years, though he’s poorly handled by recipients on Award nights—they dangle, jab and point with him. It’ll be the day when someone just plain drops him on the floor.

        

One Response to “Our Hearts Belong to Oscar”

  1. We usually watch the Academy Awards although I am not that much into them. I was pleased to see that 12 Years A Slave was recognized as the best picture. I couldn’t help but notice Sandra Bs. disappointment at not getting best actress, but had to agree with the choice. The story and her acting were lost in the special effects and her acting was overshadowed by all of her competitors. I haven’t seen most of the pics that were nominated, only 12 Years, Gravity, Osage, Saving Mr. Banks, and only last night, Philomena. Out of those, Gravity is at the bottom of my list…
    Osage and Mr. Banks were interesting stories of dysfunctional families and co-dependency, with Mr. Banks being more redemptive. The other two were more focused on social issues: racism, sexuality, abuse of power, religion-theology, faith-atheism, and forgiveness. I found the most provocative moment in the three way confrontation between Philomena, the writer, and the elderly sister who gave Philomena’s son for adoption and thwarted her efforts for the two of them to find each other…It was a powerful example of projective judgement by the nun, and of forgiveness by Philomena…Faith at its best…David Middleton


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