French Mime in Prime Time

    Did Oscar get it wrong again Sunday night?
By picking “The Artist” as best picture, it at best reminds the rest of us that the movie industry resides in the world of narcissism.
The Oscar winner is a valentine to the early days of Hollywood when silent movies were the talk of the town until talkies opened their big mouths and ruined the careers of actors who couldn’t make the transition (ala the character of George Valentin, played by best actor Oscar winner Jean Dujardin.)
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is going to take a beating from conservative talk radio and Fox News for picking a movie financed by socialist French filmmakers.
On Oscar night, it was French Mime in Prime Time.
And Hollywood will be in for it because the Oscar for best foreign language film went to “A Separation” —- from Iran!
Not only is the Academy a bunch of socialists, now it’s siding with the enemy!
The Academy did throw the conservatives a bone by picking Meryl Streep as best actress in “The Iron Lady,” in which she channeled the one-time Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher. Conservatives worship Thatcher almost as much as Ronald Reagan, because the two made history together, you know, ending the Cold War.
The Oscars are the final word on movie awards, but they didn’t offer many surprises. In fact, it was predictable.
“The Artist” had won every major award leading up to the Oscars. And it was the favorite of movie critics as well.
It got major distribution and attention, thanks to Harvey Weinstein, the modern day Mike Todd of movie producers and Barnum and Bailey-type promotion.
He’s got a pretty good track record of getting movies to win Oscars. He helped “The King’s Speech” get noticed and win the Oscar last year. Several years ago he performed similiar magic when “Shakespeare in Love” upset “Saving Private Ryan” for best picture.
If this keeps up, the Oscars will have to be called The Harveys.
Oscar probably gets it right most of the time.
The most obvious choices for Oscar over the years have been blockbusters from “Gone With The Wind” to “Ben-Hur” to “Titanic.”
But for every Oscar winner that deserved it, like “Casablanca,” “On the Waterfront” and “Rocky,” there are those choices that haven’t stood the test of time, like “Ordinary People” beating “Raging Bull,” or “Dances with Wolves” beating “Goodfellas,” or “The English Patient” and “Out of Africa” over any other movies from their winning years.
Of course Oscar’s worst oversight is the most acclaimed movie of all time, “Citizen Kane.”
But what about great movies that are classics now that weren’t even nominated for best picture Oscars, like John Ford’s “The Searchers” or Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” or three from Alfred Hitchcock (who never won a directing Oscar in competition): “Rear Window,” “Vertigo” or “North By Northwest,” and finally “Singin’ in the Rain” (which “The Artist” owes a great deal to.)
It remains to be seen if Oscar made the right choice naming the mostly silent film as best picture in the time of CGI, which packs them in at the theaters.
The film may not be breath-taking and it was short on talk, but at the Oscars it spoke volumes.

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