Oscar Night

It was kind of a breath of fresh air after the foul stench coming out of Washington. It was about diversity and empowering women. It was about respect and the best of America. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I try not to take too seriously who won or lost because in many ways Hollywood runs in insider streaks. But some of the stories this year were complex and powerful. I am still trying to figure out why The Shape of Water won as best picture.

There was an interesting article a few days ago in the Washington Post looking back over the years at who won the best picture award, and now with some distance for perspective, who should have. Some of the winners quickly fade into forgotten while some of the losers become standards that are watched over and over again. I kind of feel that happened last night.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and Francis McDormand were perfect for the best actors. Both got me deep into the internal struggles of both characters But best picture I wrestle with. My criteria is that it leaves me wanting to watch it over and over, not for the action, but for the passion, ideas, and unresolved human experience. Darkest Hour is up there, where Winston Churchill struggles under the weight of deciding a nations fate. Finally he rejects those that want to make a deal with the devil even though the cost in human lives could be horrendous. Makes one stop and think if there was a lesson there for the French. But the lesson for us was to do the right thing, not the easy thing and I wonder if Republican politicians squirm in their seats having made their own deal with our President DFF.

Four Billboards left me thinking about that movie for weeks. It is really a tale of reality. Bad shit happens and anger and revenge keep us going, but destroys who we are. The sheriff’s office is full of racism and brutality and yet the Sheriff played by Woody Harrelson seems to have come to terms with something he could not change, made even more poignant by his exit. It is a movie about living today and tomorrow and not in yesterday. It is a movie about what happens if you never get your revenge, that life is not tied up in neat little bows, how do you move forward and come to terms with the chaos of life. It is also a story about growing emotionally.

But the one I think was my favorite was Dunkirk. There were so many stories there about the human condition handled masterfully, from the desperation of the soldiers, the impossible situation, the Navy commander who stayed to get as many French off the beach as possible, The young man who just wanted to do something, to the kindness and forgiveness on the little boat given to the shell shocked soldier. There was so much going on here about the human experience that you have to watch it many times to absorb all of it. And all it all, it told us something about our better selves.

Yes Lady Bird got snubbed, and in other years might have been best picture, but this year there was so many good ones. That is why I struggle with The Shape of Water. Nice tale, but the complexity of real human experience? Maybe in a comic book. Okay, maybe I just missed it and I will get it later. But after watching those others, it was a real let down for me. I could tell you what was going to happen halfway through. Yes it was a beautiful movie, but the human story was a fantasy, not the nitty gritty reality we got in Darkest Hour, Four Billboards, Dunkirk, or for that matter, Lady Bird.

But all of them and the whole tenor of the Oscars was an in your face Donald Trump’s America. It was about what makes us great, embracing diversity, ideas, immigrants, respect, and achievement. So for a couple of hours I was transported to the America I remember before we became the Donald Trump reality show. Today is back to reality and see what they are smashing today. Maybe I can write something to make a difference.

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