The awards being handed out last night were Academy Awards so obviously the Academy got it right. It’s like my getting wrong the Matt Bernstein Best Flavor of Ice Cream Award. By definition, my choice will always be the right choice. With this said, people treat the Oscars like the winners are the objective, definitive winners of each category so, at the same time, I cannot help but feel like the Academy got some of the Awards wrong…
They got Best Actor right. And it is amazing that this was Gary Oldman’s first Oscar. This is amazing and strange. Oldman is one of the greatest actors ever. He is in the same category as Daniel Day Lewis, Meryl Streep, or any of the greats. Yet this is his first Oscar? Look at his filmography and then try to understand how his only other nomination was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? It’s ridiculous. And Oldman criticizes the Golden Globes for their hidden agenda but he doesn’t criticize the Oscars? The Academy got the Best Actor Award right last night but I cannot say the same for the decades before this.
The Best Actress Award should have been Sally Hawkins for Maudie. Instead the Academy gives the award to Frances McDormand for playing herself. (For the record, I’m a Frances McDormand fan. But this performance was not the best Best Leading Actress performance of 2017.) Hawkins’ performance in Maudie was head and shoulders above every other actress this year and, not only did she not win, not only did she not get nominated, but … She was nominated for The Shape of Water. This says worlds to me. There is no way the Academy can say they’re giving awards for the best performances in film and ignore Hawkins’ Maudie while nominating her for The Shape of Water. I am not an advocate of violence but if there ever was a time for people who love and respect films to take to the streets smashing storefront windows and setting cars on fire, this would be that time. Either that or we could find a better Film Award show. Either way, a crime was committed last night.
Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney in I, Tonya was excellent. I am in no way bothered that she won Best Supporting Actress. With this said, I don’t think she had 2017’s best Best Supporting Actress performance. Laurie Metcalf’s performance in Ladybird was. Tonya Harding’s mother was a more entertaining character than Ladybird’s. LaVona Harding is hilarious. But Laurie Metcalf’s performance was more subtle, interesting, and deserving of the Oscar. I also believe that the character of Marion McPherson is actually more entertaining than LaVona Harding but this thought is not relevant to my main point. Laurie Metcalf was the best Best Supporting Actress of 2017.
Best Supporting Actor
I was surprised that they didn’t give the award to Christopher Plummer. The old people at the Oscars tend to win a lot. But they got the Best Supporting Actor right. Sam Rockwell’s performance was excellent, he was deserving of the Oscar, and and I was happy that the Academy recognized this.
I personally believe that the Best Screenplay Oscar is the most, or second most, important Oscar of the night. I also believe that giving the Best Screenplay, and Best Film, Oscar to the wrong person is detrimental to the future of film. Last night, the Academy gave the Best Screenplay Oscar to the wrong person. I like Jordan Peele’s film. I love Jordan Peele’s comedy. But he did not have the Best Screenplay of 2017. Last night, Greta Gerwig was done a disservice in this category. Ladybird didn’t get far enough kudos last night and this is one of the places where they most certainly should have.
Last night, the Academy’s biggest blunder was within the Best Film category. But as the film was all but ignored as great art throughout the year by the vast majority of film reviewers, I was not surprised. The Best Film of 2017, The Greatest Showman, wasn’t even nominated for a Best Film Oscar. (The Greatest Showman was nominated for one Oscar, Best Song, and this song did not win.) The irony of this is that the film is about snobs not appreciating how a low-brow show can still be a great show. (The film is also about how unusual and low-brow people can still be great people and how these people don’t need to feel shame for being themselves. But, for now, I’m speaking to the theme of critics and snobs being unable to appreciate Fin Barnum’s circus.) The reaction to The Greatest Showman, the film, was true to the film. Like so much great art, art imitates life and life imitates art. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Greatest Showman has a 55% rating. From the Top Critics, The Greatest Showman has a 37% rating. The critic reviews within Rotten Tomatoes read like Rotten Tomatoes, over and over, copied and pasted the reviews of The Greatest Showman’s humorless reviewer, James Gordon Bennett Sr. The film was treated like High School Musical not because it was of the same level of artistry as High School Musical but because the reviewers couldn’t see the depth and beauty, both auditorily and visually, of this film. (As an aside, with a 56% rating, High School Musical has a slightly better Tomato-meter rating than The Greatest Showman.) The Greatest Showman was the greatest show of 2017. Films, like life itself, when experienced deeply, intimately, change us as human beings. Films allow us to see and improve ourselves. The members of the Academy were unable to do this. The members of the Academy, and the vast majority of film reviewers, were unable to see themselves in the film, to recognize that they are condescending people that are prejudiced towards films of an ilk that can never be treated as art, and, as a consequence, these people were unable to see the greatness of The Greatest Showman.