Thursday, February 4, 2016

Oscar So white

Oscar So white

I am sure that everyone will recognize the trending hashtag of “Yo, Oscars So White” that I don't need to elaborate further on the topic of the title except to say that the comedian Chris Rock’s jokes on the hashtag are now more popular than the original movie nominations for which the hash-tag was coined. For all the flak that this years Oscar nominations have received for being an all-white affair, the fact is (according to me at least) there were no outstanding performances or movies by non-white actors which demanded to be recognized and any other way of being nominated would be purely race-patronizing. With one exception. 

And thats Samuel L Jackson's performance as the civil war era bounty hunter in Hateful Eight, where amidst a mix of solid performers he stands out once, not for his profanity count, but for the authenticity which he brings to the embittered war veteran’s role. Hence my vote for best actor this year goes to Sam Jackson who narrowly beats , yet another nuanced performance by Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies. The problem with Tom Hanks is he slides so effortlessly into the storyline, so much so that he self effaces himself into the background and we fail to recognized a virtuoso performance when we see one concentrating more on the ebb and flow and all the drama of the movie. If there is a lifetime achievement Oscar for the best portrayal of an everyday common man then Tom Hanks is a shoo-in for it.

For the best picture Oscar my vote goes to the outstanding drama of the year- In The Heart Of The Sea. For once Chris Hemsworth does not dominate the movie but lets the story take over the character. It also helps that he doesn't flaunt his biceps wielding that gigantic hammer unlike his Thor avatar. The movie is a gripping retelling of the familiar Moby Dick tale with the parts usually left out added in for once.  The sense of doom which manifests itself right early on in the movie, the taut screenplay, the recreation of the old style whale hunting and the eerie second half filled with gut churning scenes of survival in the ocean while cannibalizing the shipwrecked comrades sitting beside, deserves the award for being the best movie of the year.

Which brings me to the subject of Leonardo Dicaprio and The Revenant for lets face it- if Leo dicaprio wasn't fronting the movie there wouldn't even be a whisper about it being an Oscar contender. It doesn't matter whether Leo grunts, growls, eats raw meat or rolls about naked in the snow- the movie is one long yawn filled disaster of a disaster movie. I wish the academy would give Leo dicaprio an honorary best actor award and get it out of the way so such movies wouldn't be inflicted on an unsuspecting public and  he wouldn't be tempted in future to try to do anything, anything to get that statute.  After watching the entire movie of revenant in one sitting the only conclusion I could come to was that how did this script pass through all the safeguards and get made while better stories are probably languishing without attracting attention? Are studios willing to bankroll such frivolous efforts merely to pander to a stars Oscar dreams? And why does it matter to Leo so much? Questions which don't have any easy answers I guess.

So thats my line up for this years performances, whats yours?