I might start by stating the obvious, but the anticipation associated with the Oscars is massive, it’s grand and far-reaching. In fact, for a large portion of the audience, the Oscars are determinants of the finesse that a movie is made with and whether or not the makers have comprehended with indispensable clarity that art of Making Movies. While watching the 84th Annual Academy Awards, I was reminded yet again of how good- looking and well- behaved Hollywood is. This rainbow of sophistication is then whitewashed in the next flashing thought when I think about the Filmfare Awards (and of course, the limitless family of Indian Award ceremonies) and how they are akin to the mischievous third cousins of the Academy Awards. This piece, however, is not to sadden you, dear reader, of the worn out gullet that Bollywood has cultivated into. It is a little more thought-provoking as an attempt to place “entertainment” aptly in a brewing socio-economic context. And just to remind you, that is exactly how the deal is struck, the money is made worthy and the cinematic experience is deemed good or bad.
I will remember the 2012 Academy Awards as the illustrious example of the acceptance of Global Cinema. It becomes pertinent to indicate that the conglomerate of American Cinema is capable of applauding the caprice of Paris (Midnight in Paris), the colorless brightness of France (The Artist), the need to lift the face of Pakistan (Saving Face) and the humanitarian heart of Iran (A Separation). And then to see Rahman in the Oscar Superband, almost toning Hans Zimmer’s composition, made me think that Rahman is India. Aptly, India. Sans any misrepresentation. The Oscars this year were glorious in a sense that they were more inviting, that they became unrestricted and in a way, a lot more participatory.
Complementing this is of course the fact that India has also pro-actively joined this Global milieu. Most of the Oscar nominated movies have been up in theatres. This comes as an incredible attempt to escort the Indian viewer to literally travel the distance, reach the unexplored paradise and then also be cynical about the beauty that is on offer. To my mind, the fact that an average Indian viewer feels that the money spent on a dialogue-free movie, is “worth it”, is truly is splendid leap.
Talking about no words and no color, the movies this year were clearly emerging out of a distressed nation, tackling an intensive economic slowdown. Therefore the fact that most of the Best Picture Nominees ended in a smile and few even ended in pride, qualifies as a sane analysis. So that ‘Needs Assessment’ that the maker of the movie probably did actually came in handy because the Need for a Happy Ending came at the right place and the right time. In a similar tone, The Artist also sees Jean Dujardin delve in anxiety and ‘depression’ with much ease and then rush out of that state with an almost an effortless alleviation. Are you thinking positivity and optimism? Viola Davis walking out of the house as caretaker and maid Skeeter, has a stance of pride and satisfaction. The maids saw heaven in hell and what came to them in the end was a big fat publishing deal. Are you still thinking positivity and optimism? Even while I was watching The Descendants, I saw a family of three that stuck together to fight off the sorrow of the fourth member who was essentially, only there in spirit.
The Movie Maker of 2011 sent out a loud message and amplified it further. The volume was decided by the confidence in the person who gave birth to the idea behind the movie, the confidence that he was making the audience listen to exactly what they wanted to hear.
The Oscars this year brought together the Vintage and the Contemporary and fused them joyously. The lens was coloured as vibrantly as possible, the tear was wiped off in the end and the chair in the theatre was vacated by everyone who now had a different version of reality. I mean even for a movie that centered on Baseball (Moneyball), the director made sure that everyone in the audience who does not know the game, forgets that they do not know the game.
Hollywood displayed a strange ingenuity which clearly worked perfectly well. And, that reassurance that the guys in LA take their cinema seriously and display absolute professional propriety is just enough to know.