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Sunday, March 07, 2010

There I Was, Watching the Oscars…

...And Tyler Perry shows up to present an award. He had this to say: “They just said my name at the Oscars. I’d better enjoy it because it’ll probably never happen again.”

Yeah, that’s probably true. Thing about Tyler Perry is that, firstly, he seems like a nice enough guy, secondly, his heart seems to be in the right place in his films, and, thirdly, he doesn’t come close to deserving an award. Of course, many of the movies don’t deserve their awards, but his tend to be phenomenally bad. Not only does he scrape up every racial stereotype possible, but the scripts, the direction, and the acting are usually atrocious.

The same kinds of people who will tell you that Tyler Perry movies are good in any kind of an artistic sense are the same kinds of people who would tell you that the Left Behind books are artistically satisfying, that The Gamers: Dorkness Rising had good art direction, and that contemporary Christian pop music is something other than uninspiring pablum.

Okay, there may be a few exceptions to that last part, but the point still stands.

Those people so strongly believe in the subject matter that they entirely ignore the artistic flaws. There is a difference between artistic merit and personal preference; the Oscars may not always find the artistic merit, but it should always be their goal. Tyler Perry doesn’t deserve that kind of recognition, regardless of how nice of a guy he is and how much he tries to make moral movies.

The Oscars this year were a bit of a fumble, though, weren’t they? A few funny bits here and there, a fun intro with the resurgent Doogie, a great dance number, and some worthy winners were nice. It was also (up to the point where I am writing this, at least) pleasantly politics-free.  On the other hand, the camera cuts were horrendous (especially noticeable at the beginning of the memorial section), the Baldwin-Martin team was uneven (although not horrendous), and a goodly number of the presenters proved themselves incompetent without a script and without good editing (Cameron Diaz, you’d be number one on that list).

Cheers to Jeff Bridges (goofy, strange acceptance speech aside) and all the other winners on the night, though. Whatever lack the show might have, it is always an honor to be recognized by your peers.

On a more important note, now that I know that Morena Baccarin is in it, I might have to watch V.

Update: Forest Whitaker’s introduction of Sandra Bullock for the Best Actress nominations was top notch. Some of the others, for both Best Actor and Best Actress, were nice, too, but Whitaker’s was pitch-perfect.

Update to the Update: The previous note was convenient since Sandra Bullock won and gave a touching and funny speech of her own. Love her.

That said, leave it up to Barbra Streisand to point out that we could have the first female or black director winning an Oscar this year. It turned out to be the first woman (Kathryn Bigelow for Hurt Locker) and a well-deserved win on merits.

But did it really need to be about that? Couldn’t it just be about the movie or even just about her talent?

Tom Hanks just noted that Casablanca was the winner the last time there were 10 films up for consideration. I watch it somewhat regularly and, though it’s a little old-fashioned, it has maintained its relevance artistically, culturally, and even politically through the decades. A wonderful movie.

Will any of the movies nominated this year wear as well? A few of them might, but I doubt that any of them will be as well-remembered as Casablanca. Which isn’t to say that it was a horrible class of movies (I liked Up, Hurt Locker, and Inglorious Basterds. I’m still pondering A Serious Man. Both District 9 and Blind Side were surprisingly good.

Casablanca is tough to live up to, though, in the same way that Lawrence of Arabia would be hard to live up to.

All that prologue aside, Hanks’ announcement of Hurt Locker winning Best Picture was a bit anti-climactic, wasn’t it?

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