Welcome to the JoeBusiness Oscars special you lucky little sods. That’s right, last Sunday (24th Feb) was the 85th Academy Awards and this is what it’s all been about. We’ve sat through the lesser awards shows for the past few weeks, talked about it endlessly, watched enviously as Bradley Cooper comforted and charmed every pissed-up woman in showbusiness and here they finally were and you know what, they were good. Proper good. For the first time in a long time there were a number of heavyweight films, some of which were actually very good, battling it out for the top honours and they were spread fairly evenly and in my opinion, mostly correctly.
So let’s go through the boring stuff of who won what but more importantly why that matters:
Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln
Say what you like about DDL but the man is astonishing. This is his third Best Actor Oscar, something no one else has ever achieved, which makes him – if we treat Oscars like Ballon D’Ors (World Player of the Year for all non-football nerds) – the Lionel Messi of acting and quite simply the greatest actor ever to have lived. It is of course not a stats game and movies, by their very nature, are subjective but blimey it’s still impressive! He now has one too many Best Actor Oscars to make a set of bookends while I’m still using those two lovely Filipino lads to hold my tomes in place. People are always slagging Danny Dizzle off as well for being too much of a pretentious method actor ponce but just have a butchers at his acceptance speech both on Sunday and at the BAFTAs. He’s a funny little sausage.
Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
She’s only 22 years old and already a versatile powerhouse. If she carries on like this she’ll have a whole chess set of those sodding statues by the time she’s done. Oh and she fell over on her way to collect the prize, just a couple of weeks after her dress fell apart on her way up to collect a SAG Award (Screen Actors Guild Award) which makes her seem human and that it might be worth a go trying to impress her with your UK Garage 2 Step if you saw her down the Fez Club on a Friday night.
Best Picture – Argo
A cracking film and director Ben Affleck’s speech about a refusal to quit when an unforgiving industry has written you off was extremely moving. The message about following your dreams no matter what, because that’s all you know how to do, is something that I hope resonates with everyone.
Other notable winners:
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Director – Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Best Original Screenplay – Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
The self-congratulatory opulence of the evening is something that I would normally pour scorn on but I felt this year’s Academy Awards represented a truly positive trend in filmmaking. Nearly all the movies that contested the big prizes went away with something that was representative of their strengths. Lincoln is a bit a stuffy but Daniel Day Lewis creates a president so lifelike and believable that, as with all his movies, you totally forget DDL’s even in the film; Django Unchained is a rip-roaring story with crackling dialogue; Life of Pi is achingly beautiful, Anne Hathaway does some good singing and that… and so on. The only dampener is the lack of recognition for Kathryn Bigelow’s astonishing Zero Dark Thirty which was conspicuously overlooked throughout awards season. It was a film hounded by controversy as some commentators (slobbering bell ends) claimed it endorsed torture merely because it showed it, in which case Schindler’s List must be a promo film for the Nazi Party?
That aside, this year’s Oscars show that lots of people are still making good movies, with genuine talent in front of and behind the camera and more importantly that the Academy recognises this and is willing, to a point, to reward bold filmmaking. I don’t know what it is about the Oscars, it seems the tacky nonsense of all the other award ceremonies is stripped away and you’re left with something that the nominees genuinely care about. More than the money, the fame and the uncanny ability to convince nubile Dutch students to go into disabled lavatories with you and perform acts that normally require 19 Jaeger Bombs and a healthy dose of bad decision-making, this is what they all want. The Oscars are important because they mean something, in an industry where we so often focus on things that don’t.
Don’t worry, next week it’ll be back to tits, tattoos and slagging off German schoolteachers.
Oh and I was lucky enough to be invited to do the Oscars round up on Vanessa Feltz’s BBC London radio show after the ceremony and you can listen again here… if you skip to 2 hours 51 minutes… and you care… which you probably don’t.
First published on IAmMusic.TV, 27th Feb 2013