For you film lovers who thought the Academy Awards on Sunday night were boring, well, you’re probably right. However, it was good to finally see the Academy honor the right film. “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our time, encompasses every aspect of filmmaking with pristine authority. Peter Jackson’s epic cinematic undertaking deserved award recognition. The end result? Eleven Academy Awards, tying it for the most ever.
The awards for Best Picture and Best Director often share a personal connection, and this year followed suit. Peter Jackson and “Return of the King” were undoubtedly given these awards for the trilogy as a whole. But for the “Lost in Translation” fanatics out there cursing hobbits forever, consider this: On one side there’s seven years of hard work, filming three films at one time, adapting the “can’t be adapted” beloved literary trilogy, commanding 20,000 trained professionals toward film history; on the other hand, there’s a young talented filmmaker shooting a whimsical romance over the course of 27 days. Sorry Sofia, but your film doesn’t add up to “Best Picture.”
Sean Penn and Tim Robbins had rather successful nights as well. Out of the nominees in both of these categories, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively, these two were clearly the best. Penn’s and Robbins’ performances in Clint Eastwood’s murder/mystery “Mystic River” will be remembered for years to come as a perfect methodical mixture’s of rage and pain. Specifically, Penn’s self-inflicted heartache and guilt-ridden conscience call attention to the deepest human failures concerning communication and trust.
Bill Murray, while impressive in “Lost in Translation,” has been better in many other films. For example, his performance in “Rushmore” is a 100 times more affecting and poignant.
Lastly, it’s crucial to recognize that the phrases “Charlize Theron” and “Best Actress” wouldn’t normally go hand-in-hand. However, in Patty Jenkin’s “Monster” she gives one of the most riveting performances of this, or any, year and was rewarded accordingly. None of the other performances nominated come close. The Academy should have showered praise upon Evan Rachel Wood for “Thirteen” or Hope Davis in “The Secret Lives of Dentists” to give Theron some more competition.
All griping aside, it’s important to say that as an award show, the Oscars rarely transcend the media hype surrounding the event. In this day and age where award shows are simply meant to entertain, this year’s Oscars showed some guts by giving “Return of the King” a clean sweep and appearing boring in the process. Too often, in years passed, the great achievements have been overlooked. New Zealand’s wizards and hobbits have cause to rejoice.