Peter Farrelly, the man behind Movie 43 and some of the funniest, stupidest films of my teenage years, wasn’t nominated for Best Director, but his film, Green Book, won Best Picture.
That’s right, Green Book somehow won Best Picture. SURPRISE. This is where we’re at culturally, the young progressives versus the old guard. Green Book is the type of antiquated, surface level movie that the old, powerful Hollywood elite loves.
I’m not the first to say this and I certainly won’t be the last: Green Book is a problematic film. This is not because it’s a poorly made movie, but because it’s not what it says it is. Sure, it’s a story about two people overcoming racial adversity (which is what the old guard is seemingly celebrating), but look closer. What Green Book really is is a movie about a strong white person saving a weak black person. And we have enough White Savior movies by now, don’t we? Apparently not. Apparently the majority of the Academy still sees value in that sort of story.
Me, I’d call the whole thing culturally tone-deaf.
Generally speaking, this was the strangest Oscars in a long time, and it happened during a period of time in which people are spending more time than ever staring at screens.
What’s most notable coming out of this year’s Oscars is that no one film dominated. Each of the eight films nominated for Best Picture won at least one award, which I don’t believe is something that’s happened before.
Alfonso Cuaron won both Best Director and Best Cinematography for his gorgeous film Roma (which you can watch right now on Netflix).
Olivia Colman — better known as Sophie from the funniest television show of all time, Peep Show — won Best Actress over favorite Glenn Close (The Wife).
Regina King, one of the best American actresses of the last 25 years, won Best Supporting Actress for the excellent, under-represented If Beale Street Could Talk.
ScreenTime hero Spike Lee won his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (and maybe should have won Best Director).
Black Panther won two awards.
Roma won Best Foreign Film.
Generally speaking, the show moved really fast.
So what do we take away from this?
Well, it’s easy: the Academy is very divided right now between young/progressive and old/classical. And so we got a show that, in retrospect, is going to stand out as much different than other years.
No single film dominated and just about everyone got a little bit of love. With Netflix seemingly taking over the industry a little more each year, and with the voting body also shifting, we have to assume that this is merely the start of the Oscars’ changing identity.
I won’t be surprised if, in five years or so, Green Book is a punchline and a Marvel film wins Best Picture. I also wouldn’t be surprised if, in 10 years, the Oscars are a small, niche show that streams live on Netflix for a much smaller audience, and is mostly reduced to 90-second highlight clips on YouTube.
I don’t personally like any of those changes, but it’s what’s happening.
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