Archive for April, 2010

15th April
2010
written by Mad Cow

Rated Mediocre usually

Mad Cow’s Rating: Ring those Bells!

We thought that viewing the Oscars from our hotel room in Cozumel, Mexico would be a cinch. After all, the subtitles would be Spanish. Forgetting to get a bottle of champagne, we decided that red wine in our room would do. As we settled in, imagine our surprise in finding out that the station was doing simultaneous translation! That meant that the moment Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin spoke, a nanosecond later a voice came in with the Spanish version. Suddenly we couldn’t understand either language. It hurt my brain. Minutes later we were ensconced in the hotel bar, watching it on cable, my backup plan!

I can’t stop thinking that everyone knew ahead of time what was to happen. Sandra Bullock, winner for best actress, was so nervous on the red carpet. The “losers” seemed extra gracious. But never mind. Mo’Nique got Best Supporting Actress and gave a marvelous speech, thanking Hattie McDaniel for helping to pave the way.

The low point was seeing Jeff Bridges win for best actor. I will never understand this, except to note cynically the two consecutive pieces about him in the NY Times the weeks before. Sigh. But the fact that Kathryn Bigelow won as best director and that The Hurt Locker got best picture made up for everything.

Kathryn is the first woman to win Best Director in the history of the academy and The Hurt Locker is the first movie directed by a woman to win Best Picture. My heart was full as I stood up and cheered in that lobby/bar in Mexico. Not just because she won, but also because she so clearly deserved it.

Bigelow has been accused of ignoring women because she made a war movie with few women in it. People who have admired the worst war pap on the screen accuse her of being not being authentic enough about the soldiers’ experience and the technical aspects of dismantling bombs. Please. She is an artist, with vision, clarity, and the ability to build suspense, develop characters, and simultaneously give us a sense of the cruelty and dehumanization of war without dehumanizing the people involved.

Of course other women directors should have won before, were equally deserving. The truth of this was subtly underlined by the fact that Barbra Streisand herself handed the golden statue over to Bigelow. Barbra was a major force in cracking that glass ceiling so that someday Kathryn could break through it. With any luck, we’re seeing the beginning of a new day for women and a new day for the movies.

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