March 28 2022

Oscars 2022: So the Oscars were last night and no one who watched from the beginning can complain that it was a boring affair. For those of you who didn’t watch, there was an altercation between Best Actor Will Smith and comedien Chris Rock on stage during the performance. Chris Rock was making a joke about GI Jane and Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith about her shaved head, and Will Smith laughed at first and then reversed and took exception going onstage, slapping with an open hand Rock and then telling Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his act.

Will Smith initially laughs and then slaps Chris Rock

I will leave it to the reader to decide whether this was put on or whether it was real. And for those who stayed to watch the rambling tearful acceptance speech from Smith himself when he won for Best Actor, you can decide. For an Award show that has lost viewership in droves, and has been called irrelevant, this type of stunt would not be beyond Hollywood! A couple of questions though: would Smith have done the same thing if one of the MCs like Amy Schumer or Wanda Sykes had done the same thing? What message about violence in our society are we giving when two men have to resort to physical violence to look to resolve their differences. For a comedian himself, Smith doesn’t have much of a sense of humour. It has been well publicized his marital issues at home. This seems to be much ado about nothing. From the still shot above, it would appear that Rock still had a smile on his face after it was slapped.

As for the rest of the night it had a few surprises in the selections. Do I think that CODA was the best film of the year? In a weak year when not much of substance was released, this was a feel-good story well told, but no I don’t. I think the movie that will be remembered from this year will be Dune. Still, perhaps the voters feel that we need more movies like CODA which is fair. Will Smith wins for Best Actor, and from the fireworks earlier in the night perhaps some voters might have wanted to change their votes. For me, I think that Andrew Garfield was robbed in his triple threat role in Tick, Tick, BOOM! Talk about taking a role outside your comfort zone, Garfield claimed to never be a singer. He was amazing. Jessica Chastain wins for portraying Tammy Faye Bakker in an award that for me was for her body of work rather than this particular role. Chastain has been doing quality work on many projects for years. She is one of the actors that I will seek out in projects. The Oscar for her work and efforts, especially in obtaining gender pay equality and having more positive roles for females in films is commendable. She worked on getting Tammy Faye made for over a decade. She made it happen, and it won two Oscars (for her and makeup). Well done Jess! Dune won many of the technical awards, and it shows that the time spent by Denis Villeneuve on making his epic look amazing was well spent. I cannot agree with Best Director in Jane Campion, but then again I didn’t like her movie, even a little bit. So I think that Kenneth Branuagh deserved this award for Belfast, and it was also my selection for Best Picture. It was good to see a much thinner Francis Ford Coppola on stage with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro to celebrate 50 years since The Godfather was released. It is a masterpiece and was followed up with a sequel that rivals any sequel as the best of its kind. Also on stage we had John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Samuel L Jackson who allowed Will Smith to use up all the profanity allowed on the forecast, but came together 28 years since Pulp Fiction was released. The effort looked forced I have to admit with the dancing, and the opening of the suitcase. Here’s hoping that the coming year has more theatre-worthy films that have more quality performances and memorable stories.

Oscar Short Films: Alison was kind enough to send along this link for me to find the Oscar short films. I did see a few of them including Robin, Robin which was cute, The Queen of Basketball, which was eye opening, and sadly reaffirmed what Cheryl Miller showed us all in the lack of pro basketball options for women in Women of Troy and the USC team there. A fine documentary.

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a39124052/how-to-watch-oscar-nominated-short-films-animation-2022/

I will say I also watched Audible, which was interesting as a young deaf football player deals with the death of a close friend and closing out his high school playing days. He is from a hearing family. So he understands the isolation and loneliness that CODA speaks about. Affairs of the Art was simply weird. There are some good drawings, but the content was strikingly different. Three Songs for Benazir was only 20 mins with dubbed in English, set in Afghanistan. It shows me just how little I know about this country and that part of the world. We are so fortunate that we have a safe, stable and secure country in which to grow and have life choices. For this young man, married and with a pregnant wife with a grade 3 education, he has the choice of joining the army or working the opium fields. Nasty. Short films generally can be hit and miss, and I would like to think that the Oscars find more hits than misses. It seems the only time of the year I will find such films is for the Oscars or in September at TIFF.

Fast and the Furious 9: Amazingly and remarkably there have been nine of these movies made in this franchise. From humble beginnings on the streets of LA where Paul Walker was asked to infiltrate a group of teens street racing, this has grown into a worldwide undertaking. It seems that the stunts and stories have become almost comical, to the point that the actors themselves call it out in the movie. “We have gone on all these crazy missions, and we don’t have a scratch on us. What does it say about us?” No kidding! There are stunts with cars in this movie that are just simply too ridiculous to believe. One involves using a bridge rope to pendulum a car from one side of a cliff to another. The other involves a Fiero going someplace that a car would not and should not ever go, or try to go. But this is really the point in many ways. They have jumped, drifted, raced, crashed a car in every way possible in this series and so what can possibly be next? I cannot recommend this. It is too Ludicrous (pun intended) to be entertaining. Thank goodness that I didn’t need to pay for it.

Not a scratch!!