The Oscars

Paul Mendoza

Oscar Glory! I have always dreamed of one day winning an Oscar. Ever since I could remember I loved Movies. I got that from my dad. He took me to the movies as often as possible and not just to see Disney films but real grown up movies. I remember seeing Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, The Sting, Papillon, The Towering Inferno (Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were obviously favorites). I remember going to see Gone With The Wind in the theater! The Way We Were, Godfather II, Jaws, Star Wars, Heaven Can Wait. We watched old movies on TV, war movies, westerns, comedies like Some Like It Hot, Epics like Spartacus and El Cid, Dramas like Sunset Boulevard and Casablanca. I was all about the Movies. And we watched The Oscars.


The Show

The show didn’t provide many surprises. The most suspense for me was who would win Best Actor. I was hoping for Michael Keaton but it went to Eddie Redmayne. It’s hard to go against physical ailment! But Birdman took the big ones! I was especially happy that Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu ( a fellow Mexican!) won three! Best original Screenplay, Director and for Producing. This makes it two years in a row that a Mexican took the Best Director prize. Neil Patrick Harris did a good job but wasn’t especially interesting. Some of the speeches, however, seemed more personal and emotional than I can remember and that is really why we watch. The ‘Oscar Speech’ is the one I’ve practiced in the mirror since childhood. Most people have. It’s like pretending to hit the game winner at the buzzer or stretching out over the goal line for the game winning touchdown. The ‘Oscar Speech’ is that moment of victory that only your toothbrush will witness.


The Controversy

Every year there are ‘snubs’. As with every type of awards, Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, Golden Globes, there are those that do not get a nomination and there are those who feel that an injustice has been done. This year’s Oscar snubs include Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler, Ralph Fiennes for Grand Budapest Hotel, Jennifer Annisten for Cake and Tilda Swinton for Snowpiercer. But the most controversial snubs were David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay for Best Actor and best Director for Selma. There were claims of racism levied but in Anna DuVernay’s case, I would say it was more about gender than race. Actors nominate actors and directors nominate directors. Then the whole Academy votes on all categories. The Directors branch of the academy is made up of mostly males. They tend to vote for their own and very rarely for a woman and even less likely a new woman director.


There needs to be more inclusion in the Academy of, not only of people of color, but more women. How did Paul Thomas Anderson get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for the sub par Inherent Vice over Gillian Flynn for her fantastic adaptation of her own novel, Gone Girl? This was a big snub in my book and it’s a gender issue not race.


The Future

The Academy moved to allowing up to 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture since 2009. The exclusion of The Dark Knight in 2008 spurred that action. Since then the experiment has borne interesting results. I’m not sold that it actually enhances the proceedings. This year’s 8 nominees were all fine films but in the last few years there have been some fine films included that I don’t believe should have been included in the Best Picture discussion ( Django Unchained, An Education, Captain Phillps to name a few). The hope was that it would encourage more box office popular films to be included but that has not been the case. That kind of thinking is already being handled by the People’s Choice Awards and MTV Movie Awards. This is the Academy Awards. I would suggest doing what the Emmys did and just change the number from 5 to 6. This would leave room for a Dark Knight or a Whiplash. But we’ll see how 2015 turns out. Will there be room for Star Wars VII?