When the Oscars Get it Wrong

“Oscars 2019” is finally behind us.  There sure was a lot of controversy surrounding this year’s awards.

From the Kevin Hart spectacle, to the Motion Picture Academy being accused by some for showing a lack of diversity along with their attempt to hand out four awards while commercials were being aired, not to mention years of declining ratings the Academy had a full plate of challenges going into this year’s event.

Then you had Spike Lee being pissed off because he didn’t win best picture of the year and so many people flabbergasted that Glenn Close was once again denied a best actress award didn’t win “best actress.”

Meanwhile, Lee, who won his first Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for BlacKkKlansman, didn’t feel that was enough and was reportedly less than pleased by the Greenbook’s clinching the Oscar for Best Picture.

Like a spoiled child, he made his feelings clear both in the Dolby Theater auditorium and in the press room backstage.

In the press room, Lee joked that “Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose!” Lee’s first ever Academy Award nomination was for the screenplay for Do the Right Thing in 1990, but he did not win, and the Best Picture prize that year went to Driving Miss Daisy—a film to which Green Book has often been compared.

“I thought I was court side at the Garden and the ref made a bad call,” Lee, famously a New York Knicks fan, said when asked to expand on his feelings about Green Book‘s win, before wrapping up by saying: “Whether this film [BlacKkKlansman] won Best Picture or not, we’re on the right side of history.”

People were shocked that Glenn Close didn’t win best actress.

Close lost out to Olivia Colman of “The Favourite.”

Ms. Close, being a consummate professional didn’t wine about the “dis” from the Academy.  Perhaps she’s getting used to it after seven nominations, but never a win.

The big upset in my purview was in the Best Actor category. I am stunned that nobody seems to be talking about that.

It astonishing that Christian Bale did not get the votes for the “Best Actor” award.  For crying out loud, that performance had to be one of the best in the history of cinema (at least my point of view).

Sure, Rami Malek did a great job portraying Freddie Mercury, but the best actor?  No way compared to what Mr. Bale delivered.

The breath of Bale’s work is quite extraordinary.

What adds to Bale’s staggering talent is his unwavering commitment to character. Physically and emotionally, Bale became something of a chameleon, always going the extra mile to transform himself into a sociopath, American hero, or Caped Crusader in Dark Knight.

Bale is capable of transforming into a man he looks absolutely nothing like, and not only does Bale physically look the part in Vice, but he captures the soul of Dick Cheney in tremendous detail.

An actor that can make you feel as if they are the persona of the part they play is the ingredient one is judged by as how they carry the role.  There is no question that anyone who saw Vice would leave the theater thinking Bale was actually Dick Cheney.   He nailed his performance hook, line and sinker.

While Malek was fantastic, the stretch in character to play Freddie Mercury was pale in comparison to what it required from Bale to pull off his character as Cheney. This is not intended as a slight in any way to Malek.  It’s just a reality.

Aside from oral prosthetics, the role didn’t require the same commitment of sitting thru arduous hours of makeup.

Also something to consider is that there was so much more news about Cheney that the public was exposed to which provided an even more critical eye on making a judgment of how accurate Bale played his character.

Another consideration one could make is that Cheney was not a popular icon in the public’s eye.  He was actually despised by many. I’m not saying you have to actually like or agree with the film.

I personally didn’t care for the film as it was more an opinion piece of the film’s Producer and Director Adam McCay who had a clear disdain for Cheney.

Is the voting in the Academy’s political?  You bet your ass they are!

Is there something behind the scenes going on with the Academy voters?  Could it be that the voters couldn’t stand the thought of a film about a neo-con winning over a gay rock star?

I don’t know.  I hope not.

I am all for diversity and was thrilled to see this awards program display that in this year’s nominees and winners.  Diversity is imperative in a well-functioning society.  I just hope it works for all sides.

Bale has four Oscar nominations under his belt and one win (The Fighter – which he won, American Hustle, The Big Short and Vice).  Today, he should have two wins. 

If the Oscars are meant to reflect the very best that Hollywood has to offer, they really missed this one.

Knowing that these awards though are a reflection of the people who get to vote on them gives me pause that they had the wrong voters.

Mark N. Dorf – Managing Editor, Showbiz Express

When the Oscars Get it Wrong

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