A Night at the Oscars

by Billy

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This year’s group of films nominated for the Oscar Awards was strong across the board. Host Seth Macfarlane, creator of the hit show Family Guy, guided the audience through awards ranging from Best Sound Editing to Best Picture, and everything in between. There were 23 categories, but a majority of the films were nominated for multiple categories. The most prominent amongst the bunch were Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

You probably haven’t watched all of these movies, but I assure you the lineup was quite impressive. An impressive lineup, however, is only made possible by an impressive array of actors and producers. For example, Argo won the Best Picture category, which is not surprising considering Ben Affleck and George Clooney joined forces to produce the film. Bradley Cooper, who is the smoothest man alive, was nominated for Best Actor.  He lost, however, to Daniel-Day Lewis, who portrayed Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. This particular film was produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg produced the legendary Star Wars saga, so it is not farfetched that another one of his films was nominated for an award.

Familiar actors like Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix (the guy who appeared in Gladiator as Commodus, the evil prince,) Denzel Washington, and Anne Hathaway, were all nominated for awards, or were part of a film that was nominated for awards.

In addition to the “main” awards, there were categories for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and a couple of other technical aspects of movie making. To be honest, most people do not know the names of the most prominent tech crew members, but the technical aspects of a film are subtle, yet very important. Watching a movie in a theatre sets the perfect viewing setting, and amidst the candy, famous actors, and hot dates sitting next to us, we only register the technical works subconsciously.

But trust me, they are a largely important component to ensuring the enjoyment of all viewers. Sound editors have to use mixing boards to create the “cleanest” sound possible. I assume that their goal is to make the dialogue sound as if the viewers are in the same room as the actors. I cannot say I know how visual effects work, but they basically make the impossible possible.

For example, explosions and mythical creatures are all creations derived from computers. As technology advances, the people in charge of creating visual effects will be able to make impossible events look very real, which is why it is paramount that the audience appreciate the men who work behind the scenes. Their awards are well deserved.

In my opinion, the Oscars serve two purposes. The most obvious is to honor the people who are involved in making the productions that both capture our attention and make us think about real world issues. The second purpose is to advertise the movies that deserve attention. By commending various aspects of various films, it makes people privy to what they are missing by not watching movies. For that to happen, it is necessary for the Oscar presentation itself to be both interesting and honoring, which is why Seth Macfarlane’s ability to create humor was tactfully utilized. Who better to punctuate the more boring parts of a program with comic relief than one of the funniest guys on television?

While Seth Macfarlane was the main host, there was also a plethora of celebrities who announced the winners of each individual award. There was also an appearance from the talented musician Adele. I could rattle off a long list of names, but if there was an award for the most surprising and controversial appearance, first lady Michelle Obama would win unanimously. Thankfully, most of the controversy seemed to gravitate toward the nature of her appearance, as opposed to the more common form of controversy regarding attire.

I have never been someone who invested even minimal amounts of thought or research into understanding politics, yet from reading an article by Jack Kerwick, I have come to realize why her appearance was so controversial. At first, I simply assumed her appearance derived from the genuine desire to attend the ceremony. She is after all, a human being with interests and desires. I later realized that, as usual, politicians will read deeper into the “real” reason of why she was there. Some say it was to gain support from the politically uneducated who, like myself, would see her appearance as nothing more than a harmless visit from a woman who wanted to see the ceremony live, and just happened to be the first lady. To the politically uneducated, this would cast her in a light that made her seem involved and friendly.

The politically educated, however, have said that her appearance made the Obama’s seem weak, as if they were too overbearing in their attempt to be loved by America. Other say that her appearance encourages the appearances of celebrities at other cultural events, which retracts attention from the ceremony at hand and diverts it towards the celebrities in attendance.

In my opinion, people are thinking too far into the matter, and by doing so they are demeaning the actions of a woman who may have wanted to be a part of the ceremony. She wouldn’t have been able to appear unannounced, for obvious safety reasons, so it made sense that they incorporated her into the program.

Finally, I want to say that watching the Oscars was entertaining, but in reality the only aspect I really appreciated was the advertisement. It honestly made me want to go to the Monmouth Mall at once, and have a movie marathon.

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