Rightwing Film Geek

My not so awesome-O night at the Oscars


I did badly in every Oscar pool because I let my heart get in the way — predicting an sweep for THE AVIATOR. Not because I thought THE AVIATOR was even a very good film — I believe it to be Scorsese’s weakest (and I’ve seen NEW YORK, NEW YORK). But I thought that 2005 would — finally — be Martin Scorsese’s turn. I was actively rooting against KILL THE CRIPPLES … er … MILLION-DOLLAR BABY, which de facto meant I had to root for THE AVIATOR — the other nag in a disappointing two-horse race. (SIDEWAYS was easily my favorite among the four nominated films I saw, but I knew it had no chance and was actually pleasantly surprised when Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor won for Adapted Script.) So I had good feelings early when THE AVIATOR was sweeping the technical awards, and Cate Blanchett won supporting actress. I didn’t mind Morgan Freeman winning for supporting actor (I picked him in the pools) because it was obviously a career award, and his career is much-deserving.

But then came Hilary Swank’s victory and I was getting ready to hurl things at the TV (and just plain hurl). This woman has basically had a two-role career and now has Oscars for both (the other being BOYS DON’T CRY at the 2000 awards) — and that’s just wrong. Two Oscars automatically invites imputations of pantheon stature with Davis, Hepburn, Bergman, etc., where Swank is so painfully outclassed that it isn’t even funny. Her performances weren’t even all that good — they’re very mannered and overripe, you can see her acting at every moment, and she relies on that jaw structure and big mouth to supply character. They’re also both the kind “stunt” roles that get ridiculously overpraised — in the first case, a cross-dressing lesbian where she tells the world on Oscar night about “celebrating our differences” (hurl); and now, another “gender-barrier-breaking” role, a female boxer. Hopefully, history will repeat itself and she’ll use her Oscar cache to make AFFAIR OF THE NECKLACE, PART TWO. It probably didn’t help that the two lead-female performances that I thought were the year’s absolute best, in a walk, (Catalina Sandino Moreno in MARIA FULL OF GRACE and Imelda Staunton in VERA DRAKE) were both up for Oscars. Mark my words. In 2040, people will be shaking their heads over Hilary Swank, laughing at those idiots in the ’00s, just like we wonder today about those dimbulbs in the 30s who gave two Oscars to Luise Rainer and none to Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich.

The final two awards came, director and film, and it was just depressing in its … depressingness.

Kubrick, Hitchcock, Lubitsch, P. Sturges, Welles, F. Lang, Hawks, Scorsese — 0 directing Oscars combined
Kevin Costner, Robert Redford, Norman Taurog, Delbert Mann, Frank Lloyd, Anthony Minghella, Sam Mendes, Robert Benton – 1 each

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 7.26.33 PMAs I’ve already said, I don’t care for either film; I know the Oscars are an industry love-in. To some extent, they affect power. As Ryan put it on his sight: “For a cinephile, the putative clout that an Oscar brings is the most important aspect of it all. You want your favorite directors/actors/writers/craftspeople to have some power.” But they also affect legacy. And the increasingly-looks-like-it’ll-be-lifelong snub of Scorsese, the best American director of his era, is no longer funny. If he were making obscure little art films, I’d understand. But he works with A-list stars and has for about 30 years now, and THE AVIATOR is Oscar-bait from Central Casting. The specifics of MILLION-DOLLAR BABY aside, it’s not that Clint Eastwood doesn’t have a legacy worth celebrating (of course he does, and as I said in re Morgan Freeman, I don’t mind “Career Oscars”). But Eastwood had won Picture and Director for 1992’s UNFORGIVEN — the fact that made me pick THE AVIATOR. Mark my words. In 2040, people will be shaking their heads over Martin Scorsese, laughing at those idiots in the 80s, 90s, and 00s who couldn’t give Scorsese one Oscar, while giving two to Hilary Swank.

March 2, 2005 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: