Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Help Was Ripped Off

Not only was The Help the best picture of the year, but I thought the Academy always liked important movies like this one.  Movies that bare their soul and show the nitty gritty of what really happened rather than the glossed-over stuff you hear on Fox News and other media.

Unless I missed some of the minor awards, I only counted one Oscar for The Help and that's beyond absurd.  Maybe they don't understand what African-Americans had to go through to realize some semblance of freedom in America.  Or maybe they think that now that we have an African-American president that everything's fine now.  It isn't and it wasn't.  Poignant movies like The Help show the reality of the situation for blacks in the South--the blatant, ignorant racism that existed, not only back then but still to this day.  Slavery has been officially over for a century and a half but that mindset still pervades and perverts some people even today. 

The beauty of The Help is that it shows that, long after slavery, there is still the prejudice and an "attitude" that some people still have in America, no doubt because of the perpetual falsehoods and myths that have been passed down from generations.  The Help is not just a great movie; it's an incredible movie, a distinction that makes it the "Best Picture" rather than The Artist.  The Artist is a good movie but not an incredible one.

Years from now, it will be The Help and not The Artist that are available in special collections at the Library of Congress and in people's minds.  The Academy blew it yet again.

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep of course has smashed the existing record for Academy Award nominations since she came along and that essentially is the topic of this post.  

Streep finally was awarded an Oscar for her superb work in The Iron Lady.  Now there is the inevitable talk that she is just one shy of the Best Actress record held by Katherine Hepburn.  Now Kate Hepburn was a great actress to be sure, but she's nowhere near Streep, and it's pretty ridiculous that this is even discussed.  But back in Hepburn's day, it wasn't all political like it is now--if you host a party or come to a popular party, you're going to win the award.  Hepburn was awarded Oscars when she deserved them, unlike Streep.

I get the sense almost that the voters think "Well, Streep is nominated every year so I'm not going to give it to her--let someone else win it for a change."   The problems with that are twofold:  1)  Streep rarely wins because of that logic--she's only won 3 out of 19--that's less than 17% of the time she's nominated, a horrible batting average, and 2)  You vote for someone because they deserve it; it should have nothing to do with how many times they are nominated.  

The Academy already was shamed for not giving Streep the Oscar for Doubt

Streep's performance in Doubt was not only the best that year but one of the best acting performances of all-time and her achievement in The Devil Wears Prada was stellar as well.  She got ripped off both times.  Streep probably deserved it in Julie and Julia as well.  So being behind Katherine Hepburn shouldn't even be an issue--Streep should probably have six or seven so far.  

It's time that Streep is properly recognized as being quite simply the greatest female actress who ever lived.  And it's not even close.

Complete List of 2012 Academy Award Winners

Here are the awards presented at the 2012 Academy Awards:

Best Picture:  The Artist
Best Actress:  Meryle Streep for The Iron Lady
Best Actor:  Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Best Supporting Actress:  Octavia Spencer for The Help
Best Supporting Actor:  Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Best Director:  Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Best Cinematography:  Hugo
Art Direction:  Hugo
Costume Design:  The Artist
Makeup:  The Iron Lady
Foreign Language Film:  A Separation, Iran
Film Editing:  Hugo
Sound Mixing:  Hugo
Documentary Feature Film:  Rango
Visual Effects:  Hugo
Original Score:  The Artist
Original Song:  "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets
Adapted Screenplay:  Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants
Original Screenplay:  Woddy Allen for Midnight in Paris
Documentary (short subject):  Saving Face
Animated Short Film:  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore