This Is a Blog: My Only Oscar Race

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Only Oscar Race

This is the year art won at the Oscars. The eight Best Picture nominations represent eight solid visions and eight original, powerful stories. But none of them were that great. Some years we get The Godfather. Some years we get 12 Years a Slave. And some years we get Argo. While none of the Best Picture nominees were as bad as Argo, none of them were really all that transcendent.

For me, only one race mattered: Best Animated Feature.

Or it did, until The Lego Movie didn't even get nominated.

So last night, only one race mattered: Best Original Song

"Everything is Awesome" is why is category was invented. It's not just the song they played over the credits. It is a piece of music and writing that perfectly captures the tone of a movie that was way more complex than it had any right to be. It's an integral part of the story, everyone on the movie has an opinion about it, and their opinion places them on the movie's moral spectrum. It's catchy, so it finally got "Let it Go" out of your kid's head, and it's ironic, so parents can get it too. I circled "Everything is Awesome" on my Oscar ballot and refused to give any other song any consideration.

So these were my thoughts watching the Oscars:

(After the introduction of "Everything is Awesome")

"Oh. This is only the second Best Song performance. Why so early? You'd think the presumptive winner would be later in the show."

(During the performance)

"Oh my God! Is that Batman? The dancing construction workers-- Lonely Island-- Socks! This is the greatest thing I have ever seen"

(Cut to Oprah)

"Oprah doesn't get it. She probably thinks this is the dumbest thing she's ever seen."

("Big Hero 6" wins)

"I was okay with the snub when I thought 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' would win, but what is this shit? Did Disney lobby to push out The Lego Movie so they could win? I thought the Academy thumbed their noses at super hero movies. Gah"

(Introduction of "Glory")

"Oh, one of the other songs is from Selma..."

(John Legend sits at the piano)

"Oh, is that John Legend? The ballot says the writer is John Stephens. Is that John Legend's real name?"

(Common comes out)

"Oh shit, this song is actually about something."

(The background singers March through the bridge set)

"'Everything is Awesome' had Questlove..."

(cut to Oprah; she's crying)

"Oh my God, this song is really powerful"

(Cut to Chris Pine, also crying)

"Oh man, there are a lot of people in the Academy that didn't see The Lego Movie. And if you didn't see the movie, you don't realize how complex the poppy-sounding song really is. Maybe The Lego Movie isn't the shoe-in I thought it was. "Glory" is going to win, isn't it?

("Glory" wins)

"Fuck this. Also, I am doing terribly on my Oscar ballot."

(Half-way through the acceptance speech, where Common and John Legend talk about keeping the struggle alive)

"Suddenly, 'Everything is Awesome' just feels like that stupid song where the dude from that Fox sitcom -- and the weirdo artist that railed Marnie -- rap about socks while wearing blue suits and capes, while the only black man on stage was dressed as the sidekick to JOB wearing an all-black costume. Yeah, the right song won."

So for the rest of the night, I was thinking about how little I looked into this year's Oscars. I didn't see a lot of the movies but made my judgements anyway. I would have rathered Grand Budapest Hotel win than Birdman, but I know a lot of people who liked Birdman. I didn't love Birdman, but it was a strong vision by an unendingly creative director, so it's still better than Argo (fuck that movie).

In the end, all eight Best Picture nominees won at least one award. The two best movies of the year tied for most wins. And Boyhood didn't win Best Picture, Best Director, or Best Editing. So I guess everything is still awesome.

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