Oscars of a contrarian

I don’t really care about the prizes and even less about that long, boring televised marathon. However, before I’ll watch the last half hour and then read about the other awards online, here are some brief thoughts on the 87th Oscars.

First, I so hope that one day we’ll stop glorifying war and killing, therefore, I wish American Sniper will simply be ignored.

I wrote about my favorite movies for 2014 here. Unfortunately, a movie like Under The Skin can never make it to the nominations. As for best actor, I would award Jake Gyllenhaal in Nigthcrawler because performing not over the top is (indeed)  more challenging. However, actors who get most of the attention are those  who perform in physical or psychological over-interpretations, as you can see from the nominations for Best Actor and for Best Supporting Actor (one being J.K. Simmons in Whiplash).

Likewise, virtuosic cinematography doesn’t necessarily constitute ‘good’ cinematography. Or perhaps Mr. Emmanuel Lubezki is aspiring to have that lengthy, sinuous long-take named after him — the Lubezki effect… On the opposite, we have those obsessive, and obsessively constructed, one-point perspectives Wes Anderson is so fond of. To me, cinematography is  a mood, an atmosphere rather than camera movements (or lack of them). Like Daniel Landin did in Under The Skin. But Landin’s resume doesn’t contain such names as Cuáron, Malick, and Iñárritu (Lubezki’s collaborations); he just worked on some of the best video music out there: the highly artistic videos by Björk.

Best Costume Design: I hope it’ll go to Milena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel simply because it’s the only Italian nominee this year.

For sound editing, I agree with the nomination of Birdman: the sound(track) and how it was edited and incorporated into the film gave much more depth to the film than the editing. Sound mixing in Whiplash: annoying. And misleading. Because I don’t think it is a movie about jazz (or about music in general): it is about power (and power-driven and slightly disturbed personalities). I wished they would have left jazz alone.

Among the nominees, I hope Boyhood and The Imitation Game will get some prize. Birdman for sure will. And likely, American Sniper too. Because, after all, the Oscars are about ‘America.’ And in the last several decades, war is what America has done (too) often.

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