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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Oscar complaining: an American tradition

Mark: Well, with Jaysen covering pretty much all lingering debate and sapping up all possible endearing enthusiasm in this unfortunately predictable Oscar season, this leaves the two of us with but one option.  It’s time to open up the complaint department.

Pat: Yeah, as much as we like it when our favorite movies win, it’s just as fun to complain about the culturally inept Oscar voters when they screw it up.  Remember when Crash won?  We do, and we’re still bitter.

Mark: Ah, yes, Crash.  Racism 101 for white upper middle class suburbanites.  Touching stuff.

Pat: Thankfully, the good people of Hollywood have found a bunch of easily stereotyped movies to nominate this year.  You’ve got guaranteed winner Slumdog Millionaire (Intro to Global Development Studies), which follows Crash’s lead of exposing moviegoers to previously unknown cultures, but at least does so in a far better and more entertaining way.

Mark: Then you’ve got The Reader (the token Holocaust nominee), which provides further evidence that the Oscars should just make a separate category for these things.  Next comes Frost/Nixon (catharsis for old, bitter Democrats), followed by Milk (look everyone, Hollywood’s way more tolerant than those hick Baptists in the South!).

Pat: And of course, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (the prequel to Forrest Gump).  While I’m used to the Oscars sticking to their formulas, it’s particularly annoying to see the same approach this year, with some universally loved movies getting the shaft, notably The Dark Knight and Wall-E.

Mark: Right, the best two movies of the year and Oscar voters are convinced they can make us all happy by giving a posthumous Best Supporting Actor to Heath Ledger and giving Wall-E the sloppy seconds that are Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay.

Pat: They aren’t even doing those awards right, either.  Instead of an emotional speech from Michelle Williams and token references to their three-year-old daughter, we’ll get Christopher Nolan trying to justify a five-minute standing ovation with the same lame speech he gave at the Globes.

Mark: But wait, what if Dark Knight won?  Wouldn’t that bring a Slumdog-like backlash, where we pick apart the movie until it’s impossible to like?  We spent a fair amount of that movie laughing at Christian Bale’s absolutely absurd Batman voice.  If this movie was actually in contention, it would get way worse.

Pat: But you have to give a superhero movie credit for bringing us both an Oscar-winning performance and a nihilistic plotline.   I’ve been waiting my whole life for a movie to win Best Picture that has the balls to kill someone by having a pencil rocketed through their skull.

Mark: But somehow, I can’t deal with the prospects of a Dark Knight best picture win.  I’ve spent my entire life thinking that the Oscars are full of out-of-touch voters who only celebrate rampantly popular movies when they have no other choice (see Return of the King). 

Pat: Yeah, they couldn’t even give the award to the best movie in the trilogy.

Mark: I just feel uncomfortable thinking that Oscar voters might have the same concept of an awesome movie as I do.  If they go and give Best Picture to Dark Knight, I won’t like it as much.  Somehow, that feels wrong.  The Oscars aren’t an American tradition.  Complaining about the Oscars is the real American tradition.

Pat: It’s all about yelling at your television or embarrassing yourself in South Lounge.  That’s real passion.  If the Oscars aren’t going to provide an open bar like the Globes, or at least figure out a way to make a four-hour ceremony entertaining, then we’re going to have to provide our own fun.

Mark: If only the Sunday night newspaper meeting didn’t prevent us from attending the gala in Forum South Lounge. Luckily, we have an alternative. We’re taping the Oscars. Our bitter, cynical, but still energetic Oscar party will commence around midnight in Haines Lounge. All are invited for a few solid hours of sarcasm.

Pat: Except when we cheer for Mickey Rourke’s hopefully awesome Best Actor acceptance speech.

Mark: As we wait, we will sit back, relax, down some beers, and await the entrance of a singing and dancing Hugh Jackman.  In a perfect world, he’d do the whole show as Wolverine.

Pat:  And we’d still complain.

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