Oscar History

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Oscar's 84th Year is a Wrap

We're getting some sleep this weekend -- what is this thing called sleep? -- but we'll be back to regular posting Monday night / Tuesday morning. If you'd like to relive this year's Oscar Experience it went like so...



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Reader Comments (19)

Why did you disable the Streep/Davis comments? I know that some people get a little crazy and tasteless with their love/hate comments about this, but I wanted to have my say too. So, I'm gonna do it here. I think that this was Meryl's award to lose and it had NOTHING to do with racism at all. She's THE movie. How many times did I hear, "The movie was okay, but Meryl Streep was amazing! You should see it for her performance." The comments I pretty much saw for The Help (mainly from old women), were, "It liked it a lot and the acting was really good." Sorry, but when you've got a sentimental favorite (30 years and 14 nominations without a win) who is considered the world's greatest screen actor and she is the sole focus of her film, which is a biopic, and her only real competition was against a 2 time nominee, whose role was almost a supporting role in a relatively bad film itself, it was Meryl's to lose. I think you are right that often the Academy Awards discourse turns to racism when the choices are not really about the academy, but about the racism in filmmaking in general, but I think you are way off the mark here. Meryl was the obvious choice and exactly the way the Academy almost always votes for acting awards (i.e. Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Jack Palance, etc.), not necessarily about performance, but about whose year it is or about who needs it at this moment in time. I think racism had nothing to do with it. BTW, I think Streep was better than Davis this year, but I would have given Davis the award for "Doubt". If the Academy Awards really meant something real, Elizabeth Olsen would have at least been nominated for best actress.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTallsonofagun

just to let everyone know that in the UK, France and the rest of the world-there was NO surprise about meryl winning.
there is a sense of happiness that this classy lady win

IN fact-everyyone else would have been incredulous if Viola won
we all love Viola but this is not the perfoarmance to win by....unfortunately

and please do not read anything into race issues etc--thats only the "american" perspective

The Help was only well received in the USA

hoorah Meryl

and go go Viola

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterm

tallsonofagun -- i disabled the comments because people were starting to call each otehr names and being generally very hostile. That is not the character of The Film Experience comments section so i didn't want this place to start seeming like youtube message boards or something.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Sorry. Wasn't trying to be accusatory. Love your blog and every analytical thought in it (even if I don't agree with everything completely). Totally understand why you had to do it, just didn't get to add my 2 cents in on something I really wanted to talk about (busy work week, Ya know?).

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTallsonofagun

i know about busy work weeks ;) thanks for reading & commenting. In retrospect unexpected oscar wins always feel a little more obvious, it's true.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

SAG is only 60% predictive for Best Lead Actress when it comes to Oscar winner. SAG is way more accurate in Best Lead Actor when it comes to Oscar. BAFTA + Lead Drama Globe = Oscar.

This spin by critics and bloggers that Streep's win was somehow unexpected, or her victory was an upset is total BS. They are trying to save face because they all got their prediction wrong.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

The Oscar does mean something to Viola Davis. She spoke of the burden of having to ask permission to dream. In the beginning believing if she were a craftsman no one could outright ignore her. Hollywood has unwritten rules which deny actors because they're not cookie cutter attractive, not young, not white, not thin. How many Best Actress winners are atypical? Nathan your research about ageism in the Best Actress category, combined with the recent story concerning the typical Academy voter is a white male over the age of 60, some of them haven't been active members of the film business in decades while still exercising their privilege not to vote for her.

I feel Streep's win was bought and paid for by Harvey Weinstein. Fans of Streep speculated for the longest what she'd have to do performance wise and film wise to be recognized again with a 3rd statuette. Now that The Devil himself is back in popularity with gridlock of white male tradition within the Academy, the loud drummer campaign to honor Streep as a now-or-never proposition won out over actual progress. I felt that Streep would've gotten a better audience response if her victory wasn't at the cost of Viola Davis taking the prize when all the stars aligned for such a victory, hit film, more general public visibility.

My main hope is that Viola's loss becomes a catalysis for the Academy to retire a huge chunk of the senior membership from having voting rights. At this point it isn't about more people of color or even women but the generational divide between the liberal youth and the outnumbered and outdated conservative voting block of the present.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful - totally agree

Well, one week later and the grievance stage is over. I just consider this win as a collective win for my favorite performance of her (Death Becomes Her). One thing for sure, I will support and go to see Viola Davis in every movies she's in. The movie and this past season had made me become a fan of her.

Still, I don't think this Best Actress upset is as bad as the Crash best picture that happened in last decade. I stopped taking Oscar as a merit of excellency ever since that (that movie was trash. Chinaman??? Wtf, Paul Haggis)

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGolden

Brandz: I don't really get your attitude here. Try to be happy that you predicted something that few didn't! Personally, in Oscar pools and in preparation for Oscar night, I've long since given up on expecting things against the grain. (My one bold prediction was The Artist in screenplay.) Wins in leading categories that are different from the predictions of pundits and specialists are very rare and pretty special.
No one's trying to save face... The fact that so many people were wrong in their predictions IS what makes it an upset. It's what indicates that it was unexpected. That's what those words mean.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada


March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

The Irish (of Ireland) hate Thatcher.

I couldn't happier. Streep won for an outstanding performance and is now a three time winner.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

@Mike - I don't get the "saving face" thing either. People get predictions wrong all the time. Who cares? And how does the question of whether or not Meryl was a surprise make any difference? A non-Meryl prediction would still be wrong. On top of that, pretty much everyone, regardless of their prediction, acknowledged that the race was a close one.

But I wish everyone would get past the Davis/Streep thing. It is so not a big deal. Great performances have won, great performances have lost. Same as it ever was.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Steve & Mike -- thanks for seeing that clearly. Agreed that it's only a big deal in that it's still very new to us. Like all Oscar races it will fade and return here and there in relevance. But it will be far less a big deal if by some miracle Viola Davis gets the career she deserves. If that happens I'm pretty sure no one will care about that loss anymore.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@Nathaniel... Right on! I wanted Davis to win badly, but she didn't. Oh, well. But a great career is its own reward (assuming she continues to have one), and I love Meryl so, in the end, it's all good.

I mean, I've reached the point where I'm really happy that Sandra Bullock has her Oscar, even though the movie was ridiculous and the performance just "decent". She's had such a long career, been such a hard worker, and she seems like such a warm and classy person that it's hard to begrudge her that particular success. I know that's not what the Oscars are supposed to be about, but, since I have no control over who gets the statues, I might as well be positive about the whole thing. (I always wonder: what's the point in going negative? If the Oscars bother people that much, just stop watching. For those of us watching at home, it's supposed to fun!)

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

So my point is this: If the Bullock win wasn't the end of the world, neither is Streep's. I realize this is sort of an unfortunate comparison, because Streep's performance is league's better than Bullock's... but I hope everyone gets what I was going for.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Thank you for all you work, Nathaniel.
Sleep well.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermatt

i love movies

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

This morning I was thinking what the hell happened to the Best Actress race this year. I mean, I don't want to go back to issues discussed before, but first, why did it become so ugly? Just because it was really really tight and people got too nervous?
And also, I was thinking that months ago (before TIL opened) the most popular belief was that Streep would need to be in a BP nominee, or at least to be in a really good movie, at her own level, to win a third Oscar. I even thought she would only win it in a supporting role at a really old age*, ha! And no one was right. What changed this year? Why for this movie and not for Doubt? The only conclusion is that it was the kind of performance voters don't need to see to vote for it (Meryl? playing Thatcher? Tick) and that in the end, it happened as it happens with any other actor: the nominations for Doubt and Julie & Julia had built the momentum that could 've very well ended this year or next with August: Osage County.

* I also thought Oldman might have a chance to win which only shows why I try not to predict many things.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

The only way I could actually believe this "racist" allegation was if Viola Davis had won virtually every single precursor award known to the face of the Earth (a la Helen Mirren in The Queen) and then lost the Oscar. We all know, however, that it wasn't the case. Seems pretty obvious to me that the Globe and BAFTA-winning actress took home the Oscar as well. Don't try to make this into "Crash beats Brokeback Mountain Part II", 'cause it's not.

It's really baffling to me that no one complains about the likes of Sandra Bullock winning an Oscar for a clearly unworthy performance (even those who didn't think she deserved even the nomination thought it was OK for her to win) and now they aim their pitchforks at one of the greatest living actresses that won for a great performance.

Doesn't matter the backlash. You can root for it to happen anytime. Meryl Streep's 3rd Oscar will not be withdrawn even if there's a bomb threat in the AMPAS headquarters. Sorry.

And don't fool yourselves into thinking the whole world is feeling your pain for Viola Davis's loss. Meryl Streep was considered the frontrunner and she commanded the buzz worldwide.

Also, don't fool yourselves into thinking that BECAUSE of an Oscar win, Viola Davis's career would skyrocket. We all know there are several actors who watched their careers go downhill after winning. If it's her destiny, her career will grow with or without the Oscar.

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGage Creed
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