Well, the Oscar for Best Picture went to the wrong picture, but the other nominees were equally forgettable. It fits the 2019 version of the show, it was worse than bad, it was a chintzy nothing.
It’s difficult to compare movies, eras and who won what when, as the Academy changes (it doesn’t) and our cinematic experience evolves (it doesn’t); but it’s where your mind tends to go. After all, the Academy has made mistakes, and great forests have been felled to record them. But, this year’s ceremony has been worse than something poor, it’s been meh. This year has been leg day at the gym, you supposed to feel something, but you quickly start to realise why so many people skip it. It’s just not worth it.
Last year, we were saved the ignominy of a self-referential Burbank handjob in Moonlight winning, and sweet Leo finally getting his grace note by virtue of a far inferior movie. It was a bad one, but it was memorable. Some old dude read out the wrong name, Frances McD dropped some mad English and Matt Damon & Old Mate sank further into the pit by virtue of a flogged horse.
2019 has been a far darker year.
Putting aside Rami Malek’s turn as Freddy Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody was a midday movie left on mute as your mum pumped Queen’s Greatest Hits at full volume. Again, no skin off Rami’s leotard, but the fact that it now has more Oscars than The Godfather says many a thing. As does the other Best Picture nominees, Black Panther was the first superhero movie to be nominated, which is no fluke. It’s not that Black Panther isn’t Oscar-worthy (it isn’t), it’s clearly the best they could muster. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a riot, but that is all it is. It almost got us a black Superman, but that’s about it. It’s not exactly The Pianist, or Taxi Driver, it’s a guy in a costume referencing dead memes. Elsewhere, we’ve got Spike being Spike (a saving grace, and please stay angry, Mr Lee), and we have Bradley Cooper’s remake of a remake of a remake.
Fortunately, the best picture eventually went to the right choice in Green Book, a film that tore down the barriers between black and white through the medium of a shared automobile.
If you missed the big moment, here it is:
I’m of the mind that we’re living in a simulation.
As the old Hollywood adage goes, there are only three stories to tell. Usually, they’re a bit more subtle. Usually, their hubris is never this naked. Usually, they attempt to suspend our disbelief. I don’t want to step to hyperbole here, but the lack of host is not the issue, a lack of direction, is. The cinema will always be something to fill an evening with, or superglue a failing relationship together.
However, the days of it mattering are truly numbered. If you want to do something risky next year, Hollywood, I suggest you announce the nominees, and let us fight it out on Twitter. Spare us your limp erection in a tux. Looking back, the most memorable curio of this year’s ceremony was Billy Porter wearing a gown instead of pants. Beyond that Spike Lee referenced both Prince (who died in 2016) and his own movie (which was released in 1989), and we’re left with a unison nod to better examples in the past. Is that what we have to look forward to? Yesterday?
Take a year off, dudes.
It’s for all of us.