Wednesday, February 25, 2015

87th Academy Awards - a musing..

The 87th Academy awards wasn't a great surprise. Probably , that is why it had the lowest viewership in a decade. Each year, the movies are becoming very predictable, and many movie makers have gotten into the obnoxious habit of making films that would wind its way to Academy nomination files. This year I happened to see five major nominations - "the Grand Budapest Hotel", "American Sniper" "Birdman" and "The theory of everything" and "Still Alice" . While each of them had their moments of beauty and class, the fact that "American sniper" was virtually pushed under the carpet for reasons that are not purely artistic is something that make me question the authenticity and audacious claims of the Academy as an arbiter of Movies as an art form. Americans have a nasty habit of fighting a war and then feeling terribly guilty about it; and when a film maker wishes to project a slice of what it is to participate in such a bloody war, and the moral, emotional consequences of it - the puritanical spirit of well Meaning members of the jury rises in indignation. This is not the first time this has happened. Francis ford copolla's "Apocalypse now " - a brilliant movie on Vietnam war with its vivid depiction of sordid inhumanity and waste of human life lost out to "Kramer vs. Kramer", and the Academy pacified puzzled audiences by handing over an award for best cinematography to it. I was personally disappointed that American sniper was not given the due credit it deserved as a movie - forget the political and ethical ramifications of it.. That they decided to honor it with an Oscar for "Best sound" is a travesty that will linger for a a long time in the annals of Academy's history.
But on a positive note, I am very happy for the two ladies who held aloft the golden boy. I have always considered Julianna Moore as an accomplished, and more importantly a very hard working actor. She may not have the flamboyance of a Julia Roberts or the sultry ferocity of Angelina Jolie or the chiseled ,effortless perfection of a Meryl Streep - but , Ms. Moore more than makes up for all that with her dedication to the role. Her finest performance was in the movie adaption of " The hours" and now in " still Alice" ( I shall review this movie separately). And of course Patricia Ariquette - I saw her for the first time on screen in the 1993 adaption of Edith Wharton's beautiful novel "Ethan frome", where she plays the tragic cousin in a tale set in Wintery south. Short, slightly plump with a enticing smile and a easy gait, she displayed a rare understanding of Wharton's multilayered novel. And then, last year, I watched considerable number of episodes of "Medium", where she plays the role of a housewife who is gifted with a supernatural ability to predict crimes. She bought an authenticity to that role, which in lesser hands would have turned out to be frivolous. And "Boyhood" itself was filmed over 14 years, and that is a long period for an actor to sustain the intensity required of a role. I am glad that the Academy chose to honor her with an Award.( As a side note, It is my personal opinion that Nicholas cage became a better actor after he lived with Patricia for many years).
Otherwise, I think it was a routine fare yesterday night; with the usual speeches, moments of emotions and contrived glamor. yet, it is "the" night for the world of movies, and anyone who has been on that stage at least once will cherish the immortality it bestows. What more can an artist aspire for..
God bless....

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