Reactions: 2014 Oscars

Lupita Nyong'o wins Best Supporting Actress

The morning following the Oscars (or any awards show, for that matter) I always remember what a letdown the whole production is. In the end, it’s just a long drawn-out process to tell us a list of names. We watched a few bits–enough to catch Ellen’s group selfie and Lupita Nyong’o’s touching acceptance speech–but then spent the rest of the evening watching the Best Documentary winner, 20 Feet from Stardom.

If you watched last night, or checked the news today, you already know the results and that only half of my guesses ended up being correct (though maybe I get half a point for Best Original Screenplay since I said Her is the one I would have voted for). I’m happy for the accolades 12 Years a Slave received, if only because I think it’s an important film, and its winning the Best Picture Oscar can only mean that more people will watch it. As for the other half of my guesses, my grievances are cataloged below:

Best Actor: I admitted in my own review of Dallas Buyers Club that I thought Matthew McConaughey had done a decent job. His winning would not have been as irksome to me as if Leonardo DiCaprio or Christian Bale had won. In fact, I can’t tell if Chiwetel Ejiofor was magnificent or if the movie’s power cast a positive glow on anything in its association.

Best Supporting Actor: Above caveat aside, I really do think Michael Fassbender deserved the Oscar more than Jared Leto, who contributed nothing exceptional to elevate his role above a stereotype. Of course, for Leto, Rayon is a long way from Jordan Catalano. Nevertheless, it’s not an Oscar for “most improved.”

Best Documentary: This is the one that gets my goat. The Act of Killing is a groundbreaking documentary. It is nuanced, profound, significant, serious, and I’ve never seen anything like it. 20 Feet from Stardom, on the other hand, is a very conventional documentary, replete with talking heads and carefully tailored message. It’s the kind of piece you might watch on VH1 if you were bored on a Sunday afternoon. Not only do I think it shouldn’t have won, I’m not even sure it should have made the list. Cutie and the Boxer is better–even The Square. I’m beginning to think that documentaries need their own high profile awards show–somewhere far away from Hollywood–instead of always being tacked on as the ugly stepsister of narrative films.

All right, back to watching indie movies again!