Monday, February 25, 2019

The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous Oscar Season

I've been pretty occupied for the first two months of this year so much, that I have failed to post an update here at ToZ. See, I've been busy as a Film Independent member watching films to participate in the Spirit Awards voting (Feb 23rd), as well as preparing for my Oscar Fan Experience that I have been excited about since I found out on January 2nd. However, my fan experience was significantly dampened when I learned that my favorite young actor, Timothée Chalamet, did not earn a well expected Oscar nomination for Beautiful Boy. Without rehashing that disappointment, it did deflate my interest in the red carpet, but I still attended and had a very good time. What follows is a brief summary in separate sections.

The Spirit Awards

My friend Tracy and I (she also joined me at the Oscar fan experience) attended the member's screening of the Spirit Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday where we ate great food and sat in the nice office space of Film Independent. I have not had the pleasure of sitting through an entire awards show ceremony in years, let alone with a group of fellow cinephiles and actual voters. But it was a lot of fun seeing how our votes either came to fruition, or if they did not, we were still pleased with the amazingly smart and diverse group of winners. The Spirit Awards are what the Oscars should emulate if politics and pettiness did not rule over that group.

Oscar Fan Experience Bleacher Seats

I won a First prize award sponsored by People magazine for two seats in the bleachers along the red carpet. The fun of that experience could not be more enjoyed without a good friend with me. The process to get officially approved was intimidating (had to provide personal information on myself in order to pass a background check), but of course we passed quickly enough. Communications from the sponsor was thorough and gave the impression that it would be a unique opportunity for film fans to enjoy the red carpet festivities of a ceremony that is the finale of a six-month award campaign season. Ever since I was a kid, I have been interested in the Oscars, so it was so exciting to be a part of this with People magazine. The fan experience for 740 fans included a half dozen activities of leisure and pampering before the show began, and we got a gift bag (kinda flimsy if I must admit; a bit disappointing), and we were very well fed.

The red carpet itself was amazing to experience, just so much fun seeing all the nominees, all the other A-list stars, industry movers and shakers, and a cast of entertainment industry folks, all glammed up to attend the show. The red carpet lasted for 3 hours, and our butts were getting numb sitting there (even with a nice People seat cushion). We could not stand up as to avoid blocking anyone's view. It was tight, which made the really uncouth fans (like the crazy girl behind me) who were prone to uncontrollable screaming, to scream so loudly and without a sense of self-control and self-respect. She was the worst part of an otherwise fun experience.

After the red carpet ended, we were escorted to the El Capitan Theater for dinner and to watch a 15 minute delayed Oscar telecast. This was to allow us to watch the show in its entirety because it started immediately after the red carpet and it took us about 20 minutes to get situated and have over 700 people go to the theater. The buffet was excellent, all the food was good. But we should have been given something to hold our food, like a cafeteria style food tray. However, because I wasn't in the mood to watch/support this year's Oscar show (see below), I ate my food quickly while watching Queen perform and I saw Regina King win. With that, I finished up, and left. I was able to make it home at 6:30, just 1.5 hours after the red carpet ended.

I'm very grateful to be a winner for the bleacher seats, and I do look forward to entering contests again in the future. I just hope that I'm in a more celebratory mood to be actively interested in the Oscars if my favorite(s) are actually nominated. Way too many snubs this year, and films and performances that didn't move me much, were honored instead.

The Oscars (sans Timothée Chalamet)

Since last September at TIFF, when Timmy made a great impression in Beautiful Boy, we expected him to get his second Oscar nomination; just a year after his first historic Oscar nom for Call Me By Your Name. But on January 22nd, when the Oscar nominations were announced, Timmy did not receive that expected nomination and it greatly upset me. Not to the point of tears, but just frustrated none the less by what I strongly believe was a deliberate action by The Academy in pumping the brakes on 'the boy' and forcing him to stay in a lane that none of us knew existed. Be that as it may, and without slamming the talent who did receive an Oscar nomination, and the films celebrated by the Oscars, I'll just say this: The Academy nomination process is not as organic and democratic as we're lead to believe. What the academy wants as its winners represent how they want society to view the academy. Like the old adage, 'You are what you eat'; the Oscars are, 'We are what we nominate and deem as the winner'. As perfect as timing would have it, this tweet below explains how the academy membership is at the present:

So, it's clear how they vote, what they find as worthy of being nominated, and what is actually worthy of taking home an Oscar in the respective categories. Of all the 24 categories, I will say that I was utterly shocked that Glenn Close did not win the Oscar. Olivia Colman won, and I cannot fault her as I thought she could win it as she was superb in The Favourite (but, gee, another Brit playing royalty). Glenn won so much praise and awards for The Wife, and it's her 7th nomination at 71 years old, surely she was going to win, but, yet again, the Academy brilliantly does what I call, 'Elegantly cruel'.She was even dressed up all in gold, just like an Oscar.

I am so glad this Oscar season is over, it was particularly dirty, long-winded, and frustrating. It was so much fun being a part of the Oscar red carpet experience, and being a voting member of Film Independent to honor the very type of films, and female directors that the academy thinks are too minor and irrelevant to honor. It's a mind trip seeing both sides of the coin, Indies vs Blockbusters within 24 hours, but I can tell you, I'm more of an Indie kind of gal.

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