The Superbowl for Movies

I’m not much for sports.  I’m still not much of a film festival goer either.  I’d like to change the latter, but I do, at the end of the day, love the Academy Awards.

It’s not necessarily because of the spectacle or the showmanship of it, but usually it’s because there is a film or two that I am wholeheartedly rooting for.  This year, however, was a great year for movies.  The award season was incredible.  I had seen way over 50% of the films nominated for Best Picture, and more than just a smattering of the films nominated for the rest of the categories by the time the Oscars got here.  So, needless to say, I was very excited for the show this year.

Now that they’ve passed, I have to say that I was pleased with the winners, overall.  On the whole, they were well-deserved.  I was pleasantly surprised that The King’s Speech won Best Original Screenplay and that it beat The Social Network for Best Director and Best Picture, differing from the results of the Golden Globes.

The only part of it all that I found frustrating was the overrated treatment of Toy Story 3.  I liked the film, but it was not on the same groundbreaking level as Pixar’s other films (especially not Toy Story and Toy Story 2). At the Oscars, it was not only unjustly nominated for Best Picture (while films like Shutter Island and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were completely snubbed), but it won both of the other awards it was nominated for.  It took Best Animated Feature over How to Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist, while it took Best Song over “I See the Light” from Tangled and “If I Rise” from 127 Hours.  Even the clip from How To Train Your Dragon completely outdid the one they chose from Toy Story 3 (the magic moment when Hiccup extends his hand blindly to Toothless, vs. Buzz Lightyear turning into a Mariachi).

The song, meanwhile, was a joke; I was personally hoping “I See The Light” would win simply because I’m a simple Disney Girl at heart; I fell in love with Tangled and I am a huge fan of Alan Menken’s work with Disney.  But when “If I Rise” was performed live, it was the clear winner.

Now, after fuming about all this for awhile, I realized that the Academy is probably doing for Pixar what they did for the Lord of the Rings films; they held off on giving all the awards it deserved until the end.  In the case of the Toy Story movies, though, the third installment was NOWHERE near the quality of the first two.  That’s my only consolation for it beating Dragon. The song, however, was unfair no matter how you slice it; “If I Rise” and, yes, “I See The Light,” were both better than “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” from the previous Pixar films.

But I’m trying not to let these missteps of the Academy bring me down; I loved the introduction with James, Anne, Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the songs performed live, watching the children’s chorus perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” I got a kick out of Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting (though a little eccentric at times) and I’m thrilled for the entire production of The King’s Speech, The Social Network, 127 Hours, Black Swan… SO many of the the films were amazing this year.  I’m ecstatic for Colin Firth; I’ve been a fan of his ever since Pride and Prejudice and I still say should have won the Oscar last year for his role in A Single Man, and completely deserved it this go-round for The King’s Speech. I’m so happy for him.

At the same time, Jesse Eisenberg’s performance was Oscar-worthy as well. One of the interviewers on the pre-show was interviewing him and made a comment that he would likely be back to the Academy Awards many times. I sincerely hope they’re right.

Here’s hoping next year will be as exciting.

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