The Oscars: My Take

I love movies.

I always make it my mission to see all of the Best Picture nominees before the show. I don’t always get there, but it’s a good goal to have. This year my final number: 5 out of eight, with Whiplash (6) on its way via amazon. That means I will have yet to see only Selma  and American Sniper as of this time next week (after my girlfriend and I watch J.K. Simmons teach his music methods through violence).

Full disclosure: I was rooting hard for Boyhood in the best picture race. It was the best film of the past year. Twelve years in the making, it will stand as director Richard Linklater’s true masterpiece. But Hollywood always loves stories about itself. So I wasn’t surprised when Sean Penn announced Birdman as the best picture.

I was so happy to see the best actor statue didn’t go to Michael Keaton, who would have been the sentimental, life-time achievement winner. Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawcking was spot-on and so perfectly done you almost forgot you were watching a man who could get up out of Hawking’s wheelchair and walk to his car at the end of the day.

Three categories were obvious before the night opened. Both best supporting categories and the best actress oscar. No one–and I mean no one–has seen Still Alice, for which Julianne Moore took home her first oscar in five nominations. Everyone should see Boyhood; the boy’s mother is your best supporting actress winner, Patricia Arquette. J.K. Simmons is such a likable nice-guy character actor, who takes home oscar for playing an ass of a teacher. (I’ve had a few of those. They didn’t beat me up or anything, but haven’t we all had jerks for teachers? *Grin.*).

There’s not much to say as to the animated films. Other than: Where the heck was The Lego Movie? How do you not at least nominate them, academy? If you had you know everything would have been awesome.

Barney Stinson–errr, NPH–hosted the festivities. He did well–no one is ever perfect in that job. Ask David Letterman. But I thought he was very good. I am a huge NPH fan, and so any excuse to watch him, and I’m there.

The best moments of the night, in no particular order:

When that Polish guy didn’t leave the stage. He just kept talking, and everyone was like, Ah, what the hell? He’s cool.

Lady Gaga sings Sound Of Music, ending in an embrace with Julie Andrews.

John Legend and Common perform Glory. And Oprah apparently thinks she herself fought in the civil rights movement or something. You. Are. Not. Rosa. Parks. But the song was amazing. Amazing!

And, of course, NPH’s opening niumber just NAILED it! What a great way to celebrate movies!

My grandmother taught me to love movies. She would have loved last night. And we would have called each other tonight to talk about it. She’s not here anymore. So this blog will have to do.

What did you think of the oscars?

Boyhood (A movie By Richard Linklater)

Boyhood.

I’ve been out of the theater, the experience complete, for a good five hours and change. Yet I’m still digesting all I saw, all that one of America’s greatest directors, Richard Linklater, put on the big screen to be seen in a 165-minute new American classic.

I don’t toss that word around lightly. I watched American Hustle last year. I was bold enough then, and I’m bold enough now, to say, simply and truthfully: That movie sucked. So if Boyhood wasn’t any good, I’d tell you.

And it isn’t good. It’s great, a sure best picture contender.

Everyone who watches Boyhood will experience it. And everyone who has an experience will have a slightly different experience than everyone else has, because we all go into the film with our own previous life experience as our guides, and it is those memories, and our memories of the time period covered (2002-2013) that ground Boyhood for each moviegoer.

I am a big brother. Have been since I was four years old. In 2002, my littlest brother, James, was about to turn 7, the same age as the great Ellar Coltrane’s Mason, and my little sister, the beautiful Ms. Katie, was about to turn 10, the same age as Mason’s sister Samantha (played with tenderness, skill, wit, and heart by the director’s daughter). In them, I saw my siblings. In the people around them, I saw myself.

Boyhood gets so much right. The advice given to both Mason and Samantha about life itself reminds me of the same advice I doled out, given to me years before. The brother-sister relationship. Even the video games these kids (okay, let’s be fair, the video games that Mason plays) are perfectly rendered here, so that you say, Yes, that is exactly what it was like!

Linklater’s best directing Oscar awaits him in February. If Boyhood doesn’t win best editing, then I don’t know what best editing means. If Arquette isn’t nominated for best actress, I would be utterly shocked. And if Boyhood isn’t in the running for best picture, then I want to know: What was the point of increasing the number of eligible movies from five to ten? Not only should this movie be nominated, if there is any justice in the academy’s vote, it should also win.

That means, just this once, Mr. Weinstein, let someone else come to the party. Back off promoting the rest of your films the way you’ve backed off promoting Snowpiercer (anyone who knows movies hopefully sees what I just wrote as a subtle dig). Admit that you’ve been bested, sir, because I’m telling you right now–you have!

Boyhood stars Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater. Run time: 165 min.