The Oscars: A Night of Bollywood and Political Mayhem

I know that I am a couple weeks late with this particular topic, but since I started this blog literally last night I felt like that would give me a little leeway on discussing a subject that may be out of some people's minds at this point. To be honest, I didn't watch the entire event. I had grown weary of the Oscars over the last couple years because it appears to be more of a celebration of box office numbers and popularity contests than of artistic excellence. Unfortunately, I went against my instinct and tuned in for the last 45 minutes and decided that I won't watch the bullshit anymore (unless I'm invited and they recognize me for my own artistic excellence, which in that case I will feel compelled to play the role of hypocrite, grab my statue and bring it home to the Bronx.) I arrived at this decision after being a non-willing voyeur to the orgy of bullshit that was thrown in the direction of Slumdog Millionaire. Before someone yells at me and says, "but that movie is so good. Why don't you like it?" I would just like to say that I love the movie and found it very entertaining. Do I think it deserved best movie, best director, best sound and an onslaught of American- based Bollywood remixes all night? Absolutely not. I felt that the entire night was one big marketing campaign that was practically begging Bollywood to do business with a Hollywood establishment that doesn't know its head from its ass right now. This is even more apparent after I found out that Reliance, an Indian entertainment powerhouse, funded Dreamworks to the tune of $500 million. Slumdog lacks a dramatic depth that in my mind denies it from being considered a best movie candidate. If the award was most entertaining then it wins hands down. But best film? I'll pass on that. By the way, The Wrestler was the best movie of the year in my opinion and the Most Disappointing Randy Award goes to "Doubt." Its a whole bunch of yapping about nothing.

My other issue with the Oscars was the veiled political statement that the academy made in their decision to pick Sean Penn as best actor for his wonderful portrayal of Harvey Milk. Sean Penn was fantastic as was Josh Brolin, Emil Hirsch and James Franco. In fact, the whole cast was strong and the movie was great. I'm a huge Sean Penn fan and it bothers me that I have to disagree with the choice. I don't find it coincidental that in a state that is fighting over Prop 8 that the award was given to a performance that has gay rights issues at the forefront of the story. I don't want anyone to misconstrue this as an attack against gay rights. That is anything but the truth. I am sticking to performances alone. You can't tell me that Mickey Rourke wasn't the best actor of the year. His portrayal of Randy "The Ram" Robinson was honest, vulnerable, charming, engaging, physical and tragic. Penn's portrayal of Milk, while fantastic, did not offer the variety or complexity that Rourke's did of The Ram. Part of the allure of Milk is the battle that he fought and not necessarily the person that he is (according to the film. Its obvious he was a great man by real life standards). I just found the decision a clear attempt by the academy to voice their political opinion behind their own award. I think that is distasteful and does a disservice to fans of cinema. Just pick the best performance.

What do you guys think? Am I a disgruntled film student or do i make an ok case? I would love to know how you feel  because clearly I feel pretty passionate about it. Thanks for reading.

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