Sunday, March 5, 2017

Top Five Highlights of the 2016-17 Awards Season

I've vented my biggest frustrations, but the only proper way to put the season to rest is by celebrating those moments which made me most happy.

Top Five Highlights of the 2016-17 Awards Season:

5. Biopic curse broken
We were this close five years ago to having a winning lineup of actors who played four fictional characters, but then Meryl's imitation of Maggie Thatcher thwarted that plan by beating Viola Davis' ordinary hero Aibileen Clark in what we can only speculate was a photo finish. How fitting it then is that Viola is now part of the first winners' circle to feature no real life roles since the class of '97. Chalk it up if you must to a year that was a bit leaner on biopics than usual, but it's still refreshing to see four thespians clutching Oscars for playing the kinds of 'ordinary people' that Viola so passionately celebrated in every acceptance speech this season.

Top Five Pet Peeves of the 2016-17 Awards Season

Alright, the time has come to move on from this craziness. A new year in cinema is upon us, with its own horrors and treasures to discover. But first, one final look back at the horrors and treasures from the recently concluded Oscar derby:

Top Five Pet Peeves of the 2016-17 Awards Season:

5. Back-ended release calendar
This gets me every year, but why are distributers so bent on waiting until the last minute? Nearly all of my essential viewing for the year had to be crammed into December, January and February, which is no way to consume movies. Spread them out, for God's sake! At least Moonlight had the good sense to begin its roll-out in October, and look how that turned out for them. Compare that with another marvelous little movie, 20th Century Women, that held off until freakin' January. You do the math.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Oscars Post-mortem, Part 4: Favourite Nuggets

You can't catch everything there is to catch at the Oscars in one viewing. Half the joy is going back and putting the telecast under a microscope, looking for all the tiny bemusing details. These are my favourite such nuggets from the show:

Someone from Alessandro Bertolazzi's cheering section records his Oscar speech on a phone with a Suicide Squad Joker skin. How apropos.

Oscars Post-mortem, Part 3: Kimmel & the Show

Somewhat forgotten amidst the flurry of reactions regarding Moonlight's unprecedented victory last Sunday night is the Oscars telecast itself, which -- besides that historic blunder which seems to have superseded all that came before it -- was mostly a breezy and passable affair as far as awards shows go.
Justin Timberlake's interactive crowd-pleaser "Can't Stop the Feeling" (already discussed along with the other musical numbers) was a smart, engaging way kick things off, segueing into Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue. The routine, while not the most memorable stand-up we've seen open the show in recent years, was probably the most successful. Besides leaning a bit too often on easy pickings about movies having not been seen, Kimmel batted a pretty high percentage with his jokes, most of them landing well and earning deserved laughs on cue.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oscars Post-mortem, Part 2: Ranking the Numbers

I love me some musical numbers at the Oscars. I know not everybody does, but I've always considered it a vital part of the show. Even though three consecutive years of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron wore me down a bit (and ABC too, given how reigned in the musical moments have been these last two years), I never say 'no' to some song and dance on Hollywood's holy night. I even welcome time for the orchestra to perform the Best Original Score nominees, which used to occasionally earn a 3-4 minute spotlight, but have been largely relegated to 10-second soundbites lately.

While Sunday night's warbling was limited to a mere five performances, I treasure them all, and do soever much enjoy celebrating them through a quick (and mostly arbitrary) ranking:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Oscars Post-mortem, Part 1: Fashions

Nothing snaps me out of an Oscar hangover quite like gawking at red carpet eye-candy, and there was lots of it going around on Sunday night. I'm no style a-fashion-iado, but I know what I like, so humour me while I drool over the hottest looks one last time before digging into the telecast itself...

Monday, February 27, 2017

No Words -- Should've Sent A Poet

March is the month to decompress, go enjoy some bad movies, and stop thinking about Oscar for a spell. It does even the hungriest awards enthusiast good to take one's mind off the madness. But none of this sabbatical comes before extensive analyses and rundowns of the season that was, so I'll be rolling out my thoughts sporadically as we creep out of winter and into a new movie year.

I normally devote an entire piece to dissecting my predictions, but why even bother this year? With so many categories defying the patterns on which most pundits have come to rely (especially in the crafts), I wound up with an unexpected and historic low of 13 (uck), and in what I foolishly assumed would be a bounceback from last year's lacklustre 16/24.

I can deliver my thoughts on how I reacted to those losses -- some of which provided me with the most satisfying moments of the night, the year, and possibly the decade so far -- at a later date. First I have to go out of order and address the elephant in the room.

You know what I'm talking about.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's a Wonderful Night for Oscar

Is La La Land set to be the biggest winner since Lord of the Rings? Even if it falls short of the current record of eleven, I imagine it will surpass Slumdog Millionaire's eight, so yes. I'll be chirping along with the other cheerleaders and boo-birds on Twitter, so you can follow that if you've honestly got nothing better to do. Post-mortems will be rolled out over the weeks to follow. Enjoy the show!