We feel it was chosen because of the silent-film gimmick. Hollywood is so desperate for the new and novel that they found the opposite and dug up the dusty bones of cinematography to parade around at the Oscars. The Artist wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t the best film. We’re unimpressed by a film that left us thinking more about Uggie the dog than anything else in the story.
The nostalgia aside, “The Artist” was a French film about 1920s Hollywood personalities affected by the arrival of “talking pictures.”
We felt a better choice for best picture was “The Descendants,” a story of a Hawaiian land owner trying to get to know his daughters because of a boating accident that left his wife on life support.
“The Descendants” had the conflict and the tension people can identify with. A dispersed and imperfect family that, despite their wealth, struggle with life; a patriarch dealing with an unfaithful wife and immasculation; a father’s wish, selfish or not, to reconnect with his family—these are the things that make a movie interesting.
The film also took George Clooney out of his comfort zone. He was shaggy and unkempt. He gained weight. He wasn’t the mysterious swashbuckler we’re so used to seeing him portray, and we believe he would have been a better pick for best actor.
We feel this latest awards show, while not the worst thing we’ve ever seen, speaks to a deeper shift in America.
Hollywood is no longer the cultural titan of the past. The films coming out today are born of the culture of Hollywood and not of the culture of America at large. What this recession of the film-going culture leaves us with is a best picture award for the film that reminds Hollywood of its glory days.
What’s replacing Hollywood? The Internet. People are brought together to share their likes and dislikes in a way that Hollywood simply can’t keep up with.
Thirty years ago we would be concerned with the stars and the next big film coming out. The movies would be the center of our weekends, whether it was a drive-in, Sunday matinee or a Friday-night date.
These days a YouTube video has the potential to be seen by hundreds of millions of people instantly—and they didn’t have to pay $12 for their ticket or $7 for some popcorn.
One person can instantly reach across the world and see anything they want, talk to anyone they want and leave any message they want for others to find—or they can fork over the cash to sit through “Moneyball.”
We don’t think films are dead. The movies are still a part of American culture, but because Hollywood has been displaced as the trendsetter of American culture, we’ll continue to see films playing to old-Hollywood sensibilties win award after award.