Back when I was a local church pastor one of the things I had to do was get inside of people’s heads. This was true of the weekly work of preaching but also true of individual one on ones. It was my job to figure out not what people were saying, but what they meant. For example, if someone said in a private conversation, “There sure are a lot of new faces around here,” what they probably meant was, “I don’t feel as comfortable as I used to in this faith community,” or they might mean, “I don’t know if I like it here anymore.” People almost always never say what is really going on inside their heart and mind and this is not duplicity because they often are unaware of it. It’s just the way we are.
I’ve now seen all 9 of the Best Picture nominees (Click here to read my brief review of each of them and click here to see my predictions) and I’ve got some observations about what might be going on inside the collective head of Oscar (He strokes his beard and begins to speak in an Austrian affectation, ‘Und tell me about zure mudder’).
1. Oscar is afraid of decency. How in the world is Frozen not on this list. This may be the worst snub ever. Foul language, nudity, and violence entertain Oscar while something I could show to children doesn’t. Let me quote Kevin Fallon from the Daily Beast:
Six of the nine Best Picture nominees are rated R. The rest are PG-13. This is sad if you’re not an adult. Or have a family. Or are even slightly wholesome.
2. Oscar is uncomfortable with new people. Did anyone else seem to notice that so many of the best picture nominees are repeats. Could Amy Adams and Matthew McConaughey please let other actors into the limelight for a moment? Does Tom Hanks have to be in every movie this year? Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, and Sandra Bullock seem to always get the benefit of the doubt, don’t they?
3. Oscar is probably racist. Aside from 12 Years a Slave, most of the movies are so completely pasty white that it is jarring, even to a pasty middle-aged white man like me. Trying to find a person of color in American Hustle, Philomena, Her, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Dallas Buyers Club is like playing Where’s Waldo? Sure there are people of color in Captain Phillips but just like 12 Years A Slave their hand is kind of forced on that one, huh?
4. Oscar is nostalgic. Dallas, Hustle, and Wolf are all period pieces which harken back to the 70s and 80s as times of great debauchery and drugs. I think Oscar misses those heady days of irresponsibility and questionable fashion.
5. Aging is a major topic on Oscar’s mind. Philomena tells us the story of a woman who, in her old age, tries to reconcile her past and wrong that was done to her. Nebraska is one of the best films on aging ever made. Add the nostalgia bit from Number 3 above and we get the feeling that Oscar is nervous about life and death.
6. Oscar loves true stories. Of the 9 nominees, 6 are based on true stories and biographies. The only exceptions are the two futuristic movies Her and Gravity along with the road trip movie Nebraska. This has always been so. The best movies are great books whether it is The Godfather or Hunt for Red October. What is curious is that Hollywood seems to be out of truly fresh ideas. The heavy dependence upon the written word couple with the enormous amount of both 80’s remakes (Yeah I’m talking to you, Robocop, Endless Love, About Last Night, Total Recall and all the rest) paralleled with comic book movies which have their own literary history tell us that Hollywood is intellectually bankrupt.
7. Oscar doesn’t like money makers. This is odd when someone thinks about how Hollywood loves money and how it adores stories about powerful people. However, it is true. Gravity is the only movie on the list that breaks the top 10 box office earnings. Nebraska has earned a total of $16.5 million dollars as of last weekend. Compare that to The LEGO Movie which in three weeks has made $184 million.
So those are some of my thoughts about what is going on inside Oscars collective mind. You can click here and here to read similar ruminations about previous years. The next post will be my predictions for winners in major categories.
Frozen picture from disney.wikia.com