For me, the Oscars are like a second Christmas: I start getting excited about a month before; I want everything to be just so; I sit through (oh, who am I kidding, I love it) hours of pre-show commentary in anticipation – tantamount to waiting up for Santa; and after it’s all done I’m over-full and kind of depressed. That was it?
The sad thing is that, like Christmas, the magic of the Oscars seems to fade with each passing year. Whereas once I had boundless energy to carry me through the musical numbers and endless, pointless, time-filling montage sequences, now I find myself growing tired, looking at the clock, wondering when I’m going to be able go to bed, and willing myself to stay up for the Best Picture show-capper so that I don’t lose my film buff street cred.
I think part of what steals the magic away is the fact that the Academy has gotten predictable. I read a piece in the New York Times yesterday in which someone broke down the nominees into “Conventional Wisdom”, “Underdog”, and “Wild Card”. In all but one major category, conventional wisdom reigned supreme. Note to self for next year: don’t bother going with exciting choices for the Oscar pool. She who chooses blandly, wins.
This year there were two surprises, and big ones, I’ll admit. The first-ever rap song nominated for an Oscar actually WON, and “Crash” beat out “Brokeback Mountain” for Best Picture. The problem with these surprises is that I’m not sure they were entirely deserved. This is obviously up for debate, but I didn’t actually think “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” was a very good song. Similarly, while “Crash” was incendiary and interesting, I thought “Brokeback” was the better film. For once, I have to say, the predictable winner should have won.
If I had picked the Oscars, the night would have gone somewhat differently:
Paul Giamatti for Best Supporting Actor
Amy Adams for Best Supporting Actress
Felicity Huffman for Best Actress
Heath Ledger for Best Actor
I also would have taken out the props used during the musical numbers – no one is expecting Broadway here, and in my opinion a simple spotlight is as effective as ten burning cars in the background.
But that’s just me.