Oscar madness

Although I pinched my nose, I watched most of the Oscar performance last week. I like Billy Crystal, but his performances are becoming increasingly unfunny. And the reactions of several Oscar winners were quite ridiculous. One of them, Octavia Spencer for The Help, cried so much she couldn’t speak, didn’t she rehearse winning? Others were so “off the cuff”, such as Meryl Streep, that it reduced the appreciation of her professionalism. Does anything go? Enough with the list of names of relatives and colleagues, who cares? “I thank my babysitter who…”

But, the worst thing was the choices made by the Academy of Motion Pictures members. I have religiously watched almost all the contending movies (now that my son showed me how to download them), and I can say that “The Artist” did not deserve to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It is a stupid idea to make a silent b/w movie in 2012. Why go backwards, when we have so much capability available today? And it was trite, the plot a throwback to that time, it should have stayed there. It had no conceivable comparison with “The Help,” “Hugo” and “The Descendants” that are pictures of substance, that had good plots and were successful each in its own way. “The Artist” was superficial and although charming for short periods, it was not even successful as a send-up of that genre.

My vote goes to “The Descendents,” that shows a gripping picture of how a man played persuasively by George Clooney deals with the sudden death of his wife, and how that affects the lives of others and the future plans of a much larger community. I also liked “The Help”, which although it was quite predictable (after all we know what finally happened in the South), nevertheless was a true slice of life that was as ludicrous as it was believable. Also, “Hugo” was an intriguing and cinematically beautiful movie about movies, which after all did win 5 Oscars. I also watched “Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy,” which in my opinion should win an Oscar for the most boring movie ever made. How did they take such a gripping story and make it glacial?

But, why am I surprised, after all last year “The Hurt Locker,” a third rate B movie about American soldiers in Iraq, won the Oscar for best picture against one of the most truly original movies of our time, namely “Avatar.” Certainly Avatar’s plot was simplistic (couldn’t they find a better name for the ore than “Unobtainium”), but the cinematic experience was spectacular. The Academy of Motion pictures needs to move with the times and get out of its pathetic conservative rut, or I may not watch next year!


Note: Please visit my web-site to see my latest paintings, “Glasses with shadows,” “Sun thru blinds” and “Homage to Greece.”

About the Author
Jack Cohen was born in London and has a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University. He moved to the US and worked at the National Cancer Inst. and then Georgetown Medical School. In 1996, he Moved to Israel and became Chief Scientist of the Sheba Medical Center. He retired in 2001 and worked as a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University Medical School for 5 years.