I think people were generally happy with the outcomes of the Oscar awards last night. Although there weren’t any big blockbuster films this year that were box office smash hits or huge societal movements, there were some well made movies that got recognized for their hard work. I was especially happy to see that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the Oscar for best original song. I felt like the Enchanted people were good at producing a Disney musical and Amy Adams sang and danced on stage twice (not easy when it is in addition to her regular attendance duties) but Once was a great movie with a lot more meaning and resonance than a Disney musical could possibly ever have. (especially for people over the age of 10, which I would think most of the academy is made up of) I was also thrilled to see that Jon Stewart gave Marketa Irglova a moment to come back out and say her thank you for her award after the commercial break. Kudos to him for that. And we should all remember what she said quote: “fair play to those who dream and don’t give up“. Those are great words.
I think someone said on NPR this morning that international (foreign) stars dominated the awards last night and that may be true but I don’t think it was the trend that explains why they won. I think the academy awards are moving past the popularity contest that they used to be and really rewarding the most meaningful and powerful quality work in every category. It makes movies like la vie en rose or Once possible to win when they were only even shown at Art House theaters here in Chicago and most people never even heard about them. (in an unrelated event I went to a blockbuster video store this weekend and I didn’t recognize 1/2 the movies there either) I think this may help these indie, foreign or cutting edge films find an audience they would not have before but more importantly it rewards people with more work because of the award and makes the careers of talented people doing great work so they don’t have to sell out and just do what makes the most money. Its kind of like trying to positively influence capitalism’s negative affect on art.
I also think that it just so happens that the people willing to make these different movies that aren’t big blockbuster type films are more likely foreigners that are less influenced by the lure of the big Hollywood blockbuster that has no artistic quality but brings in a big paycheck and instead, these foreigin actors make movies for the love of making movies and the chance to do good work. And, they got rewarded for that. It is refreshing to find people who are interested in quality work over money. It seems that foreign people not only have the better work ethic and simpler lifestyle demands to be able to manufacture everything from our cars to our clothes but now they also have captured a more pure (not money only) sense of making movies also now. I think it’s kind of a sad sign in general for the U.S. but like always it doesn’t really mean anyone would really try and make a change. We’re not good at that.
I look forward to seeing some of the films that I had not seen yet by the Award telecast and hope to discover some new great actors and films that I can enjoy. And if you haven’t seen Once, go rent it on DVD from Netflix or wherever you rent DVDs today.