After my pathetic performance in regard to my Oscar predictions, I feel like I deserve to be placed in one of those dunking machines at the State Fair. Forget where I was right, as I was wrong across the board. For those of you who use my prognostications to provide insight when participating in contests, I can only say that I am profoundly sorry.
On the other hand, I must admit that I didn’t have a lot of faith this year in my own prognosis. Unlike last year, there simply were too many loose ends to try to unravel. In that regard, as one of my friends said in an email, I would have had a chance of being more accurate if I had just gotten completely intoxicated and thrown darts at each category.
In any event, I have to make a few observations. First and foremost, Argo did not deserve to win Best Picture. Sure, it was good, but it did not rival either Life of Pi or Silver Linings Playbook in any meaningful respect.
On the other hand, given that many pundits were suggesting that Ben Affleck run for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts, it looked like many people had simply chosen to adopt him. Though he remains a far better director than an actor, the procedure this year resembled a closed vote where movie insiders were rewarding one of their own.
As for Best Supporting Actor, I will note that I never trusted my own judgment. I continually stated that Christoph Waltz gave the best performance of any of the nominees, yet I couldn’t pick him. I foolishly thought that he would be rejected for his recent Oscar in Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009), so I went for Mr. DeNiro instead. And yes, DeNiro would have been a worthy winner, but I must admit that I couldn’t help but loudly cheer when Mr. Waltz was announced.
And then there was the selection of Brave for Best Animated Film and Paperman for best Animated Short Film. Hands down, ParaNorman was the best nominated film in the former category, while Head Over Heels dominated the latter. On the other hand, the winners were both backed by Pixar and the Disney Studios, and I should never have ignored their obvious strength.
As for Best Original Song, I stupidly failed to wrap my arms around Adele for her phenomenal music that accompanied the underrated Skyfall. That was either profound ignorance or possible mental illness on my part, and I’ll leave it for all of you to choose.
As for most of the other minor categories, my predictions left me as little more than a human pinata. I loved Les Misérables and profoundly disliked Anna Karenina, yet I should have recognized that the costumes in the latter were phenomenal. I stupidly left my analytical approach ignore artistic observation, and I can only promise not to make that same mistake again.
Sure, I am proud that I picked Ang Lee for Best Director and Life of Pi in the cinematography category. And though I called Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Ann Hathaway in their categories, that really didn’t take a whole lot of talent. On the other hand, having been a criminal defense lawyer for close to 40 years, the simple truth is that losing is a fundamental part of my profession.
Two final observations. How did you feel about the performance of Seth McFarland? While he is was frequently admittedly funny, he more often appeared as a standup comic at a frat party. I thought the “boob” musical was profoundly tasteless, particularly since many of the actresses named played roles where they were exposed because they were raped. And the Lincoln joke was tasteless beyond words.
On the other hand, has anyone else noticed how conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and my friend Greg Garrison here in Indianapolis have pummeled Michelle Obama for presenting the Oscar for Best Picture? There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that either the President or the First Lady does that doesn’t cause their blood to boil. I have never seen such an angry group of partisan ideologues in my long observation of politics in this country.
The fact that President Obama is the first African American to hold that office in the history of the country does not mean that he is ever above criticism. What it does mean is that constant criticism should not provide a safe haven to those who hate him simply because of the color of his skin.
People who criticize Mrs. Obama’s appearance at the Oscars should remember the appearance of both President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, at the same ceremony. How do these people begin to explain that their criticism begins and ends with an African American Woman?