Thank God the season is over and now on to 2015. The 34 films opening between now and 12.31.15 that seem like the most formidable and aspirational are now posted inside the Oscar Balloon. But I have one last bark in the wake of last night’s four-pronged Birdman triumph — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. I’m speaking, of course, about the appalling levels of sour grapes, elitism and snide derision from the charming Boyhood gang on Twitter. You guys were deluded predictors all along, and now you’re exuding nothing but class — what can I tell you? If it had gone the other way no fair-minded Birdman admirer would dream of calling Boyhood anything but a remarkable achievement and a profound family epic. But last night some were calling Birdman‘s win a tragedy, and Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s film one of the least deserving Oscar winners ever. How dare you?
Birdman is a film that screams audacity. It is pumped full of fear and anguished exposure and angst and brutal New York-itude, and is obviously one of the most daring, “divisive” and non-coddling Oscar winners ever (many of the old farts despised it) and one of the very few comedies to win. And then it blows through all the derision by winning the top four Oscars and you’re slagging it? You’re doubling down on a hand that’s already lost? Gotta know when to fold ’em, guys. Noblesse oblige and all that.
It needs to be said again that if nothing else the 2014/15 Oscar season has exposed the fraudulence of Oscar-predicting, and particularly the alleged impartiality of industry experts. Every year I’ve declared I’m not a predictor but an advocate, but except for Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and one or two others everyone else in the Oscar-blogging racket has claimed they were coming from a place of studied cultural impartiality. Well, maybe they were in previous years but not this time. Over the last six months most Best Picture predictors were encamped squarely inside their own rectums with Boyhood flags planted outside.
As I wrote on 2.8, “The bottom line is that they never knew jack squat about the Best Picture situation. They were all simply listening to their own preferences and longings for Boyhood, in pretty much the exact same way that I’ve been expressing preferences for my personal picks all these years. No more, no less.
“So let this year dispel the impression that the Gurus and Derby-ites know a thing or two. The all-but-certain inevitability of Unbroken and then Boyhood is something they’re going to have to answer for the rest of their lives. They all understand a great deal about the culture and can smell the way things are going from time to time, and some are more sensitive than others. But staying with Boyhood through thick and thin, despite an overwhelming sense that it was a soft favorite all along and that it was ‘too Austin’ to be truly embraced by the Academy, looks pretty deluded to me. And I mean particularly their never-say-die support of Boyhood in the wake of Birdman‘s PGA, SAG and DGA wins.
“The crazy BAFTAS!,” they all shouted. “What about the crazy BAFTAS?”
Their credibility has fallen. Nobody knows anything. Well, sometimes they do but the Oscar forecasters sure as hell got it wrong regarding Birdman vs. Boyhood. And now some of them are sneering and pooh-poohing and saying the Academy got it wrong big-time. What a bunch of sweethearts. You can all kiss my ass.