LESSON #1: WE HAVE AN OUTRAGE CULTURE PROBLEM— Between the old John Wayne story at the beginning of the week and Green Book’s Best Picture Oscar win last night, we continue to learn (more like re-learn) that we have a consistent section of the social media population that seek things to be upset about, no matter if those chosen topics or pillars are part of their actual lives or not. John Wayne and his politics are dead. He’s but one of many Hollywood figures over the course of history to be on the wrong era and side of equity and equality. Boycott every artist with questionable opinions, then or now, and you wouldn’t have much to watch. At the same time, no one is forcing you to see Green Book and call it the best of the year. Love what you love. Let differences of opinion say as small as they matter. The world keeps on spinning after both so-called disasters. All the more reason to avoid Twitter. Fixing the future is better than squawking about the past.
LESSON #2: WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY IS A FOUR-TIME OSCAR WINNER— Rami Malek was wonderful, but the rest of those wins (editing and two sound awards) are really suspect. Looking into the history books, check out what Bohemian Rhapsody’s four trophies puts it equal with and ahead for multiple wins.
EQUAL: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Network, Ordinary People, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Platoon, Rain Man, Unforgiven, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Inception, Birdman, Life of Pi, The Shape of Water, and more
AHEAD OF: Miracle on 34th Street, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Brokeback Mountain, All Quiet on the Western Front, a few more, and all the films with one or zero Oscars.
That’s astounding company of comparison, if I may say so. Enjoy using the “we live in a world where ___” line for any number of new Oscar winners in any given year. Every Oscar winner has a worst moment or career low point that can be cited and compared to a non-winner. For example, the directors of the Urban Legends: The Final Cut (John Ottman) and Stuck on You (Peter Farrelly) now have more Oscars than Alfred Hitchcock or David Fincher. It’s fun for a second, but don’t belabor the joke too long.
LESSON #3: NO MATTER WHAT, GOOD HISTORY WAS MADE AT THE 91ST ACADEMY AWARDS TOO— Behind the questionable wins for Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, it was a good night for burgeoning diversity, led by Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, and female artists left and right. Stay tuned to the Feelin’ Film podcast this week for their recap show. Aaron White has an outstanding list of first and achievements to share with you on the awards recap episode of Feelin’ Film.
LESSON #4: NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE MISS HAVING AN OSCAR HOST— It had been 30 years since the last hostless Oscars. 1989 was a legendary trainwreck because of it. The 2019 edition moved quite swimmingly until that last hour when the bigger awards require more individual time. The whole show clocked in at three hours and twenty-two minutes, which is nearly a half-hour less than last year. It felt shorter, tighter, and quicker. I’d be very OK if it stayed that way. Let the jokes come from smart presenter choices and let that be the lightness. Also, someone needs to pay that announcer Randy Thomas (her tenth show) a fat bonus for keeping it quick and properly teasing for the viewers for the telecast all night. Hey, did you hear Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were going to perform “Shallow?” Yeah, me too, like a dozen times. Hook and hold on to those viewers, ABC. Jokes aside, the streamlined show and all its teasers worked. Rating show this year’s show was up 12% from last year’s all-time low… to the second lowest show ever. Well, up is up and there is a long way to go. In my opinion, the movies are the draw and never the host or the side acts.
LESSON #5: THE MOMENT OF THE NIGHT— Speaking of that, let’s enjoy the absolute peak performance of any kind from last night. The lighting, the reversed shooting direction, the steps up from the audience, the wardrobe, the emotion, the constant eye contact, all of it, was mesmerizing.
DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based and Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson and also on Medium.com for the MovieTime Guru publication. As an educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle and a new member of the nationally-recognized Online Film Critics Society. As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film now for over a year, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends while chipping in with guest spots and co-hosting duties, including the special “Connecting with Classics” podcast program. Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium to follow his work.