Saturday, March 3, 2012

2012: The Year Oscar Shit The Bed

I figured the Oscars couldn't get any worse than just last year. With True Grit and Black Swan to choose from, the Academy instead showered all the big Best This And That awards on the bowdlerized tale of some stuttering inbred git. With that in mind, Sunday night was a triumph of sorts - a sucking hole of wretchedness that achieved critical mass. A singularity of failure for all the worlds mediocrity to orbit, like the pipe-tooting demons that dance around Azathoth.

"Won't you join our grotesque sham?"

Let's start with the big winner. If you've seen the trailer, you've pretty much seen The Artist. It's a paint-by-numbers plot, only trading on the novelty of a silent film in the era of microphones. Never mind that this concept was done thirty years ago - and done brilliantlybut The Artist is now celebrated because it accomplishes that which Hollywood has been attempting since it crawled out of the primordial ooze.

Sucking itself.

To see the Academy fawn over this celebration of self-love is as cringe-inducing as that old SNL skit where Will Ferrell blows himself in a yoga class. And fundamentally, there's no difference. This is just pleasuring oneself to the exclusion of any and every outside consideration.

And total cultural tone-deafness is the only reason I can find for Meryl Streep's long awaited win for Best Actress. She said as much in her acceptance speech - another masturbatory affair but hey, that's the theme this year - all but acknowledging the win had less to do with her actual performance as Maggie "Iron Twat" Thatcher and more with the Academy showing some overdue recognition.

"I'll swallow your soul!"

Because if this were just about the performance, Rooney Mara would've won. Should've won. A culture that cared about art would want to prosecute the entire Academy for its flagrant snub of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Fincher excised all the terrible indulgence of Steig Larsson's book, leaving a solid thriller and arguably the best cinematic experience of 2011 besides the odd horror flick.

And it won Best Editing. A filler award.

"...Da fuck!?"

Mara's performance stood out even alongside Stellan Skarsgaard and James Bond, despite the two-dimensional source material she had to work with. That's rare - the Oscars are supposedly awarded to what's the best relative to whatever else came out in the year but one could easily argue Mara's performance will still be talked about years down the line. That's something deserving - demanding - recognition. But Streep won because she's old and she's been doing this a long time and raw nepotism always wins over merit in America these days.

A celebration of myopic nostalgia and praise for an old war horse because she's an old war horse. Who knew Hollywood was so full of reactionary morons?

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