Monday, 27 February 2012

Pretty much sums up last night's Oscars for me...

The above celebration - recorded in an excitable Iranian household - of the Best Foreign Language Film win for 'A Separation' mirrors my feelings about last night's festivities. I'm pleased Woody Allen won the original screenplay category for 'Midnight in Paris', but would have preferred to see Asghar Farhadi's film triumph there too. Also raising a smile is the Best Supporting Actor win for Christopher Plummer and 'Beginners'.

I didn't stay up to watch last night's telecast, mainly because the prospect of staying up until 4am in the company of Billy Crystal to see 'The Artist' crowned the year's best movie just wasn't doing it for me. I'm not an Oscar hater at all (or even a Billy Crystal hater), for what it's worth. It's just that not being especially enamoured with 'The Artist' and doubting the chances of 'Hugo', 'The Descendants' or 'Moneyball', I fancied it would be a long night riddled with sighs and perhaps featuring a "thank you" to Margaret Thatcher.

That tribute to Thatcher didn't materialise though Streep did win the award as anticipated, whilst 'The Artist' scooped up Best Picture, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin) - along with two others. Best Supporting Actress went to 'The Help' star Octavia Spencer. Scorsese's lovely 'Hugo' scored five technical awards. On the positive side, a win for 'The Artist' does contradict those troubling reports last month that the film might suffer a backlash from voters for being non-American, with the campaign told to play down the movie's Frenchness. Happily that doesn't seem to have been the case.

Meanwhile, on a tangentially related note, I fear for Sacha Baron Cohen, who "stole headlines" when he arrived on the red carpet as the character from his upcoming comedy 'The Dictator'...

It's not that I'm bothered on any level by that stunt, but just that Cohen's new character isn't particularly inspired and raises uncomfortable questions about national stereotyping. I thought 'Borat' was really funny because it seemed prejudice was the target of the jokes, with people's willingness to think the character was real being in some way an expose of ignorance. Yet "the dictator" is just a guy with a funny beard and an accent that wouldn't be out of place in those dreadful meerkat adverts. Hope the film proves me wrong.

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