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Oscars: The Morning After

Alicia Vikander I’ve always looked forward to the Academy Awards, so I don’t
want to sound jaded in discussing this year’s seemingly endless road to the
Dolby Theatre. But here is how I feel, the morning after:

                If just
one person sees Spotlight who hadn’t
been interested before (even in Compton)…

                If only
one moviegoer seeks out the gripping Foreign Language Film winner Son of Saul

                If just
a handful of viewers are now aware of such bright young talents as Brie Larson
(check out Short Term 12) and Alicia
Vikander (don’t miss Ex Machina)…

                If more
people recognize one of the finest actors of our time, Mark Rylance (primarily
a stage actor who made such a strong impression in Bridge of Spies and the recent miniseries Wolf Hall)…

                If the
impassioned speeches about rape on campus and the urgent need to address
climate change have an effect on anyone in the worldwide Oscar audience…

                And if
the Hollywood film industry realizes that it needs to be more inclusive, not as
a sign of tokenism but as a reflection of contemporary society…

                …then
all the hoopla, campaigning, controversy, and attendant blather has been
worthwhile. The Academy Awards don’t, and can’t, exist in a vacuum…but good
work and good movies were honored last night, and that’s what the Oscars are supposed
to do.

14 comments

  1. Nat Segaloff says:

    Yours is, as usual, the most sensible voice on the subject.

  2. Jim Reinecke says:

    Say what you want to about Mark Rylance, Leonard, but I will go to my grave saying that Sylvester Stallone was robbed. The Supporting Actor award has always been a sort of Life Achievement, grand old man award and certainly Stallone, who created a character that has become as much a part of the American folklore and mythology as Paul Bunyan and Superman deserved to have his day in the spotlight and be honored for reprising this character in a film that was not his original conception. I salute Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, both talented young men, for their achievement, but Stallone’s deeply moving performance as the aged Rocky was the movie’s emotional center. I’m not trying to open a can of worms here but I believe that Sly was a victim of the #Oscarssowhite backlash. As I stated above, both Mr. Coogler and Mr. Jordan deserve kudos for their work (as they probably did for the outstanding FRUITVALE STATION two years ago) but I believe that their exclusion from the nominations this year sounded the death knell for Stallone’s chances. The Academy probably felt that by honoring a white actor while snubbing the African-American director and star would have provoked a "see, didn’t we tell you?" response from some malcontents and decided to play it safe by awarding Rylance. I feel secure in saying that if there had been one black nominee in the acting categories, Stallone is now dusting off a spot on his mantle for an Oscar. But, the situation being what it was, he got a raw deal. Nice going, Academy. . .now you have something else to hang your heads about.

  3. mike schlesinger says:

    I find it hard to believe that Stallone was a victim of white blacklash, given that he lost to a guy who’s even whiter than he is. The real reason he lost is the same reason Lauren Bacall, Burt Reynolds and others have lost: They spent much of their careers treating people abominably, and folks have long memories. The actors’ branch may be willing to forgive and forget, but the membership at large does not. In any event, Rylance is one of the finest actors of our generation and absolutely deserved the win. IMHO, of course!

  4. Jim Reinecke says:

    If you want to talk about those who have been guilty of "treating people abominably", let’s get to the real reason that Lauren Bacall lost 19 years ago. She was nominated for her performance in a film that was directed by Streisand, who’s made a career of "treating people abominably" and shooting off her obnoxious piehole. She, as I recall, had to complain about something regarding a song that she had composed and publicly lambasted the Academy. The fallout impacted Bacall’s Oscar candidacy. And I stick with everything in my original post, but would hope that Sly would remember that this is the same outfit that never voted Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick best director, chose Robert Redford and Kevin Costner as best director over Martin Scorsese when he was nominated for RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS respectively, and never gave Barbara Stanwyck a best actress award. You’re in some pretty good company, Mr. Stallone!

  5. Lucius P Frankenstein says:

    Sylvester Stallone actually reached his peak in the soft core porn film "The Italian Stallion" (a.k.a. "The Party at Kitty and Stud’s") and it’s been downhill ever since for the Sly Man. Just my opinion but I’m right!

  6. Harrison Engle says:

    Thanks, Leonard, for your insightful comments…for keeping them brief and meaningful. We’re all exhausted after the event this year. Onward.

  7. Donna Hill says:

    Spot on Mr. Maltin. Particularly agree about Mark Rylance, tremendous actor, well deserved win. Hope to see you in SF in June, too, btw.

  8. Aaron Jones says:

    Well said, Leonard.

  9. JonMartin says:

    I agree with Mr. Frankenstein.

  10. Yvette Kaplan says:

    Direct and honest assessment Leonard, refreshing too. And I agree. : )

  11. Trish Lee says:

    Stallone has made a lot of crap over the years and made a lot of money doing so. More bad films than good ones. Why should he be given a career award? I’m happy the award went to Rylance, a far more accomplished performer.

  12. Lee says:

    I don’t know if you heard about the other controversy: the singer of the song from "Racing Extinction" didn’t even get invited to the ceremony.

  13. Jim Reinecke says:

    Lucius, I’m so happy for you that you can speak with such authority on pornographic films and that you carry on such a loving relationship with your own viewpoint. But at least I have the courage to use my real name when I offer my thoughts and opinions. (Or are you going to tell us that that’s actually your last name. . .pronounced "Fronk-en-steen", of course! Sheesh!)

  14. Max Fraley says:

    I respect your personal take, but I certainly do not agree with your premise. I have no qualms with Mark Rylance getting the Best Supporting Actor award. His performance was most deserving. I believe Stallone’s being nominated was recognition enough. That alone was the Academy’s tribute for his fine performance. Your weak suggestion of "always been" a sort of Life Achievement, grand old man award is an insult to many honored achievements of the past. I would wager Barbara Stanwyck is on our side. My appreciation for her acting career does not include consideration of awards one way or another. Her complete film resume speaks for itself. #1. Thanks, Leonard, for all you conceive so well.

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