The Academy Awards has never been a strong indicator of the best of film, often opting to films that are big, broad, and accessible crowd-pleasers that emphasize their importance rather than the best and boldest of cinema. Recent winners like Argo and The King’s Speech are very award-baity movies with important subject matters and relative broad and simple stories and messages.
While the Oscars this year were predictable to the extent that most of the winners could have been preordained back in October, many of the winners were worthy of recognition. While my first choice for Best Picture would be her, 12 Years A Slave was a strong and smart move for the Academy and the strongest winner since The Hurt Locker in 2009. Spike Jonze deservedly took home Best Original Screenplay for her and I was glad to see Lupita Nyong’o win for her daring performance in 12 Years A Slave. And the McConaughsaince continues with Matthew McConaughey winning for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club (which I haven’t seen yet but was pleased to see the actor win as between his recent series of films and True Detective he has been on a roll).
It’s easy to be upset at the lack of recognition the Academy gave Inside Llewyn Davis and Before Midnight this year as well as completely ignoring The Past for any nomination, not to mention that 20 Feet from Stardom beat out the highly praised The Act of Killing for Best Documentary. And while Gravity is a visual wonder, it doesn’t have much staying power or the force of 12 Years A Slave as I would have preferred if Steve McQueen won over Alfonso Cuaron. But overall it was a night that didn’t do much wrong (at least for the awards, I didn’t see any of the award ceremony except for the opening monologue).