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Leo, Sly, and Oh Those Oscars 2016-02-29

StalloneWell, as I wrote yesterday, we watched the Oscars last night, and it didn’t disappoint. By that I mean, it was it’s usual glitzy over-trumped self. One good thing; however, is that political correctness was sunsetted to a degree making way for a dialog about diversity in Hollywood which appeared from behind the proverbial darkness of the stage curtain in the form of the mighty Chris Rock. Some people were visibly uncomfortable during his monologue at the beginning of the show, but it was the elephant in the room, and he addressed it head-on. If they had booked Ellen or pretty much anyone else as host this year, it would have been really really really uncomfortable.

Was there a big opening like the incomparable Billy Crystal would gift us or an awkward Oprah-Uma moment from David Letterman? No, although the blended movie package at the beginning of the show was wonderful. The Stacey Dash appearance admittedly was a bit weird. I would have to say that if you are under the age of 35, you probably aren’t even really sure who she is. You’ve got to hand it to her though, she walked out, looked beautiful, giggled, did her schtick, gracefully exited, and it was over. What was over we’re not exactly certain. We get that she is a black woman with a controversial viewpoint on opportunity for all people in Hollywood, but at its best the gig fell flat on its face. They dangled the Oscar appearance carrot in front of her and she took the bait. Oh well, bless her heart. She has a right to her own opinion about everything including the topic of the night. They kind of cheapened her ability to express herself honestly by having her walk out in front of millions and more or less making fun of her own opinions. Kind of icky.

I loved that our teenage Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio won the most well-deserved Best Actor award for his gritty performance in The Revenant. His talent and work ethic are sublime. He could have easily gone the leading man route, but has time and time again taken the alternate path mixing it up with roles of imperfect, peculiar, horrible, violent, immoral, and by and large damaged people. His excellence always shines through no matter the role. How does someone who started so young have such in-depth knowledge of human behavior? He is truly one of those miracle people I wrote about in a previous writing.

Brie Larson won for Best Actress in Room. Love her and her son in the movie, Jacob Tremblay. Is Jacob the new generation of Leonard DiCaprios? He certainly is whip smart, funny, uber talented, and handsome. Let’s hope the demons of instant young success do not befall this bright young star.

Kudos to Michael Keaton for being in the Best Movie two successive years. He is a favorite of mine from decades ago. He is a brilliant comedic actor — brilliant; but he is equally as wonderful as a  dramatic actor. The entire cast of Spotlight was fabulous and the subject matter was unbelievably disgusting. What happened in the name of religion is an abomination of the human spirit. Mark Twain once remarked that humans hold the only evil force in the world because they can choose between good and evil. Choosing evil is unique to our species. Awful things happen with other species, but are normally a part of biologic forces. Humans choose good vs evil; animals choose life vs death. Not recognizing or ignoring evil is nauseating and a crime against victims. Thank God for the people portrayed in Spotlight for doing just that and taking on this raw horrific subject matter and exposing it to the world .

This brings me to the biggest disappointment of the night — Sylvester Stallone. Rocky is as iconic as cinnamon apple pie and buttered corn on the cob. He created a character so engrained in our culture that it transcends almost every other pop culture phenomenon in the last half century. We not only believed the plot, but the character is like a family member. He brought that rag tag boxer to life many times. We got to see him go from a bum, to achiever, champion, hero, boyfriend, husband, father, widow, and most recently manager developing new talent. The circle of life Rocky style. How could people not vote for him to get an Academy Award this year? He definitely deserved it. Sure, others had great parts and performed them immaculately, but com’on! Sylvester Stallone deserves the award for what Rocky has brought American culture. Sly as this character has my vote for now and always. I realize my vote doesn’t count, and whining over spilled milk never gets you anywhere. But com’on!!

The Oscars are behind us this year and we’re deeply entrenched in next year’s awards. Movies are a reflection of the best and worst of us. They envelop that choice between good and evil and the struggle to survive and move forward we as humans have to face every day. God bless the storytellers… Sandy