Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

What did the Oscars say?

The McConaissance is complete and so are selfies.

Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 12:13


Stick with a safe pair of hands
After Seth McFarlane’s misguided and occasionally puerile hosting turn last year, duties were wisely handed back to Ellen, whose charming and safe style was never going to leave people shaking their heads. It might have seemed like a cautious move, but the Oscars are conservative anyway, so there’s no point in trying to frame the host as risky or unpredictable.

The McConaissance is complete
Matthew McConaughey has done an Affleck better than Affleck, so it made sense that he should walk away with the Oscar for Best Actor. The rebirth of his career from goofy rom com lad to a serious and trusted actor is in itself a storyline worthy of a Hollywood script. And it also goes to show how much a role personal confidence plays, considering he thanked himself in this rambling acceptance speech. I guess that’s McHonesty.

American Hustle was a dud after all
I was confounded by the amount of non-Oscar awards and Academy nominations this movie was picking up, but its Oscar flop shows that American Hustle was just that, a hustle which didn’t really merit the kudos.

Stop with the selfies
The photo Ellen took with a bunch of A-listers was fun, but selfies are officially and emphatically what they always really were – self-indulgent and childish. They’re not a gag anymore.

Music docs are hot
In 1970, Woodstock won, ten years later, From Mao To Mozart: Isaac Stern in China took the prize. In 1986, a documentary about the clarinetist Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got was a joint winner, and in ’91, a similar documentary won to this year’s, In The Shadow of the Stars, a film about the San Francisco opera chorus. But it took 21 years for a music documentary to triumph again, with Searching for Sugar Man winning. And now, for the first time, the Best Doc Oscar has gone to a music film for the second year in a row, with 20 Feet From Stardom. I was actually surprised 20 Feet won, because although it’s an insightful and beautiful story, it’s also quite formulaic. It does feel as though there are more music documentaries being made than ever before, and more high profile ones too, and like Sugar Man and 20 Feet, they don’t have to be your by-numbers rise-to-fame story of concert movie, but an exploration of hidden elements of the music industry, stories of triumph over adversity, and a level of emotion that pulls at both heart and guitar strings.

Gravity is amazing
Gravity destroyed the competition in terms of numbers of awards with seven. Sure, it didn’t get best picture or many acting accolades, but Gravity was about a unique and innovative technical triumph, and that’s where it excelled. The culmination of that achievement was Cuarón winning Best Director, and sharing the Best Film Editing award with Mark Sanger. Gravity is a classic. Will people really be watching 12 Years A Slave in 20 years time? Probably not. It’s a decent enough film with a few amazing scenes, but Gravity is totally superior.

Gatsby actually came good
I actually thought that Gatsby was so over that I was surprised to see it take home two awards, both for style, ultimately, in production design and costume. Luhrmann’s films are excessively stylish so that makes sense, even when the rest of the film falls short.

Jared Leto should probably make more movies now
At the very least in order to stop him playing with that beyond-parody band of his. Leto averaged just one film a year between 2001 and 2007, and since 2007 has only made two films, Mr Nobody and Dallas Buyers Club. Yet his hit rate is brilliant; The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, Girl Interrupted, American Psycho, Requiem for a Dream, Panic Room. Maybe he’s right to be so discerning, but you’d imagine there will be some irresistible offers coming his way now.