Oscars 2012 – The Verdict

Art & Culture

Definitely not a vintage year. Look at the titles and ask yourself how many of them you are going to want to watch in 10 or 20 years time. Not many – if any.

I really enjoyed The Artist, twice, but apart from being a celebration of cinema, is it memorable? But then why is Singin' In The Rain such a classic? I like The Descendants a lot – apart from the title – but it's a very good film rather than special. And then look at the rest.

Yes, Meryl probably deserved to win for The Iron Lady, though I feel sorry for Viola Davis, but the film itself is little more than a vehicle for a One Woman Show.  Though I do think Christopher Plummer is the right man for Best Supporting Actor for Beginners – maybe some people will start watching it now.

But to give Woody Allen an Oscar for the lazily-scripted Midnight in Paris is an insult to the other 4 contenders. And Hugo, although it cleaned up in the behind the scenes categories, is mainly a technical feat.

Having said all that, was 2011 a vintage year? I was a huge fan of The King's Speech, but that is not a Great Film, either. And the last Oscar-nominated Great Film – There Will Be Blood – 5 years ago, was overlooked in favour of No Country For Old Men, which wasn't as good as the Coen Bros's subsequent film, True Grit – which didn't win.

And so it goes, round and round, the treadmill of instant fame and celebrity, and then oblivion – very like The Artist, in fact. The Oscars are not really an indication of exceptional talent, just of temporary popularity under the disguise of Art. It's a glorified promotion campaign for movies which we all play along with, while pretending that we're too superior to care. But I bet you that Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin are extremely thrilled at being the first French guys to win Best Actor, Best Film and Best Director – without a word of French.

Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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