The Oscars

I’m disappointed in the outcome of last night’s Academy Awards.  Perhaps part of the reason is that I saw only three of the pictures up for awards:

  1. Vicky Christina Barcelona
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. The Wrestler

Of the three movies, The Wrestler was far and away the standout of the batch, and Mickey Rourke’s performance in the movie was better than anything I’ve seen in a long time.  Vicky Christina Barcelona was the first Woody Allen movie that I didn’t like.  It’s not that I just didn’t like it.  I thought it was terribleThe Dark Knight while a fun movie, didn’t come close to what was capture by Batman Begins.  Yes, Heath Ledger made a good Joker, but I didn’t think it any better or worse than Jack Nicholson’s performance in the same role.  Of course, Jack is still alive and Heath is not and perhaps that made all the difference.

I didn’t see Slumdog Millionaire, but I’m not surprised it won as much as it did.  In a bad economy, people are looking for hopeful stories.  It was an underdog and had buzz and that is why it won.  The story it told is a very old one, and from what I’ve gleaned there was really nothing new that it added, except perhaps setting.  It’s touted as a story of triumph, but I mean, come on, we’re talking about winning a trivia game, right?  Rich or poor, no matter where you are in the world, if you have a trick memory, you can do it.

I was pulling for Mickey Rourke for Best Actor and Marisa Tomei for Best Supporting Actress.  What we got, with the possible exception of Sean Penn in Milk, was mediocrity.  I mean really, why bother anymore?  We got the same actors playing the same roles that we expect of them in the way we expect them to play.  Perhaps that’s what we call an award-winning performance these days, but I think we are setting the bar way too low.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.