As the Oscars end every annual film award season with an absolute bang of glitz and glamour, it becomes the most talked about event of the year. Each year the American Golden Globes and the British BAFTAs come first, and so the winners of these anticipate which films will become the big winners at the Academy Awards. Last night admittedly had some surprises and some predictable winners too. The Grand Budapest Hotel, whilst brilliant, perhaps scooped up more awards than what it deserved.
There are three films that dominated the awards show last night – Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which scooped a whopping four awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, also winning four awards, although in more prominent categories than The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash which followed with three awards in total. The only one of those I am yet to see is Whiplash, and whilst I have heard brilliant things about it, I feel from shallow observation that it stole awards from films like Interstellar (for Sound Mixing) and Boyhood where Ethan Hawke surely should have won for Best Supporting Actor.
Birdman for Best Picture? One of the most talked about films of the past few months, Birdman also scooped awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. I saw Birdman back in November during a film preview day for cinema staff, and even though the film had not yet had a public release, I could not work out what all the fuss was about. It was truly impressive that the film was pretty much all one or two takes, and that is an achievement of its own, but I think the award for Cinematography should have gone to Interstellar, that proved its incredible cinematrography capabilities through its stunning panoramic shots of space and graceful sweeps of the camera as Matthew McConaughey bounces himself through a room as he looks through his entire life timelife. Similarly, Best Original Screenplay I believe should have gone to Boyhood, a film whose story suggests what it is to be human. Surprisingly, after winning Best Film at the BAFTAs, Boyhood only scooped one win at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette. I am not surprised that Birdman won for Best Director Alejandro González Iñárritu; it must have taken a lot of work to rehearse and pre-plan that film and for him to ensure that everything went to plan; if they went wrong, then that was an hour or two wasted and they would have to start again. I am thoroughly surprised that two of 2014-15’s most glorious films The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game did not win more awards (they were award one Oscar each) after all of their critical acclaim (and they perhaps deserved more awards than Birdman).
Do the Oscar awards really mean anything? Well, not really. It is an exciting star-studded event that draws attention to those films which might otherwise not garner much of an audience (would we know about those short live action and animated films if the Oscars had not given them awards or nominations? Probably not). It is also important to see the Oscars as a celebration of the world of film. A celebration of the achievements of everyone involved within the film industry. Not just the directors, actors and sometimes screenwriters, but also the cinematographers, editors, sound mixers, animators, make-up and hair artists, composers, costume designers, set designers, production designers, prop-makers, SFX artists, and so many, many more people that go into making a film what it is.
A full list of the Oscar winners can be found HERE