An Abnormal Oscars

By Ryan Stephens

A new year means a great deal of things to many people. A new resolution, a new outlook on life, a time for change, however, for some, that overly saccharine, hopeful perspective does not need apply to movie fans. The Oscars end up being a massive thing for movie watchers around the world. Critics and directors choose the best pictures of the year, bringing with universal acclaim with them. Especially in the most prestigious category, Best Picture, which helped push Argo to receive even greater praise. This victory defied expectations of Lincoln sweeping the show with its numerous nominations. Even though some disappointments were felt, Seth MacFarlane managed to entertain most with raunchy, offensive jokes that hit most people by surprise. Ultimately, this years Oscars helped bring up some of its most major problems to light, its hosts, its nominations, and most importantly, the unnecessary drama that comes with an awards show.

Hosts of the Oscars typically share one trademark, they all use dry humor to make sure the most minimal amount of harm happens. Of course, some end up with feeling hurt but a very minimalist approach ensures that it does not happen. So when Seth MacFarlane took up the title, an odd amount of feeling came with. MacFarlane, most well known for long running television series Family Guy, also was synonymous with very dark, spiteful humor. Humor which seemed alienated from the typical standard of the Oscars. The reason why the Oscars strayed outside of their comfort zone could be do in part to Ricky Gervais’ highly controversial Golden Globes hosting in 2012, in which he targeted many groups and peoples. Also, known for his very cynical biting humor, Gervais used a take no prisoners approach during his time spent hosting. After proving a major success with audiences and the media, it seems natural that the Oscars would pick someone of a similar caliber of humor. MacFarlane covered a wide range of scathing jokes causing many yuks throughout the night. Criticism quickly followed, with plenty of attacks made on Macfarlane’s level of humor. It seems like most of the criticism stems from there being change. In this case, change may work for the betterment of the the often dry Oscars.

Shattering expectations seemed to set a standard for this year’s Oscars. Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, swept the nominations, receiving a nomination in every single major category. With famed method actor Daniel Day Lewis and the always popular Steven Spielberg behind this movie, Lincoln seemed to have the cards in its favor. However, even with that in mind, Daniel Day Lewis only managed to pull out one major victory for Lincoln in the Oscars. This shocked many who expected Lincoln to sweep the award, with Life of Pi taking far more than Lincoln. Taking only two awards, the expectation that Lincoln would end up casting a broad shadow over the entire awards but instead ended up with coming off weak. With an upset like that, many expectations were defied, leaving this year’s Oscars taking a far different route from what most expected.

Finally, the drama that surrounded the Oscars creates a worse public image for the entire filmmaking community. The primary concern that occurred during the broadcast was the very rude interruption of Rhythm and Hues, the visual effects company behind Oscar nominee Life of Pi. Rhythm and Hues suffered a massive problem after Life of Pi released, being forced into bankruptcy. After winning the Best Special Effects award, Rhythm and Hues made a plea for help during their acceptance speech. The Academy Awards cut them off right in the middle of this plea, causing many to have a bad taste in their mouth. Denying a struggling company, especially an Oscar winning one, the ability to get out a message such as a plea for help ultimately ends up showing the darker side of the Oscars. The short ten second speech Rhythm and Hues tried to give was not cut for the sake of time, especially when compared to Argo’s nearly minute long acceptance speech. Only time will tell if being cut off caused Rhythm and Hues even greater harm but as of right now, the public learn from this controversy and help this dying company.

In conclusion, this year’s Academy Awards ended up surprising and shocking most. The unusually sharp-witted, raunchy humor of Seth MacFarlane, the massive upset of Lincoln, and the rather unprofessional behavior taken towards Rhythm and Hues ends up distancing this year’s Oscars far from previous years. Whether or not this trend continues will be unknown until the next year’s. However, considering this one came straight out of the left field, there should be a great deal of doubt in next year’s being as distinct and different. Ultimately, this year’s Oscars managed to entertain and surprise viewers and critics far more than it has in previous awards.

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