I got rather excited for the Oscars this year as it was the first year I’ve actually paid attention to and done minor research on the nominees, but after the show and all of its almost four hour splendor, I couldn’t help but feel that something just wasn’t quite right.
Most of the hard-core film buffs I know have threatened time and again to steal the Oscars away from me by telling me it’s all a joke, it’s all about money, about who you know, and not about the art at all. Nonetheless I have persevered in my child-like faith that the Academy Awards mean something more. That there’s some kind of magic to the red carpet and the pretty lights and the conglomeration of beautiful, talented individuals that meet up every gloomy February to make people’s dreams come true and honor the Best of the Best in filmmaking.
I don’t know what happened this year. I don’t know how I began to see through the curtain of pretense that suffocates the Oscars like a too-heavy cloak, but it’s really all a joke. How can someone be ‘best’? How can two completely different films like Wes Anderson’s the Grand Budapest Hotel and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood ever be put in the same category as even remotely comparable?
The way the show is set up, to give actors and actresses more time to speak then sound editors or foreign filmmakers, and to give Lady Gaga more time than either of the two is just…I don’t know–ludicrous?
Thankfully, my Oscar experience did not begin yesterday with the Red Carpet, but rather on January 30th, when I met Rory Kennedy after a screening of her Academy-Award nominated documentary, Last Days in Vietnam. My experience continued over the next few weeks as I attended screenings in Santa Monica and Hollywood where I was lucky enough to breathe the same air as Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson and see them speak in the flesh.
Here is a very BRIEF account of what I learned from them:
What I learned from Richard Linklater: Money is nice. Texas is better. Texas AND money is the jackpot. In other words, own who you are and make films where you want and about what you want even if it means a smaller budget.
What I learned from Rory Kennedy: There’s a time for research and structure, and then it’s time to put the notes down and just be present with the subject, to look into their eyes and see more then just the story you’re trying to pull from them, to cry, to laugh, to be present.
What I learned from Wes Anderson: The satisfaction is in the art, not in the praise.
Interviewer: “Your film is nominated for Best Picture. How do you feel?”
Anderson: “Mm, well it’s great to get nominated for an Oscar…What do people say normally?”
I also learned that what appears to be a fault can end up being what makes you stand out.
“Plot’s never been considered my strongest area…”
Wes’s lack of story and flow is what some viewers absolutely love about his films.
This was Post-Oscar Monday with Sara. Until next year!