Lowcountry Movie Night: By Justin Peterson
A look back at Oscar night 2012
Silence was golden at this year's Academy Awards, but do we care? While the 2012 Oscars had plenty of flair to keep audiences entertained, it was this year's movies which were lacking.
The two big winners of the night were The Artist and Hugo -- two movies I have yet to see. I am intrigued to see The Artist now that it has won Best Picture, but I am not convinced the rest of America has the same anticipation to see a silent film.
In my experience, silent films are not so bad. 1927 Best Picture winner Wings was the first one I saw which proved to be very entertaining. But the question is, did the Academy go with style over substance? I was pulling for The Help to come away with the big prize. With nearly 10 films nominated, it is hard to see them all.
While it would have been interesting to see Eddie Murphy host the show, the return of the Billy Crystal was the show's saving grace. The ratings show 39.3 million people watched the Oscars Sunday night -- up from last year's 37.9 million.
While Crystal was not perfect, he did prove to be funny and sincere. The opening sequence where they incorporated him into the films was a great start, but I could have lived without him being morphed into The Adventures of Tintin. The following musical number was also good, but the large number of Best Picture nominees caused the routine to be muddled at times. I have no idea what the Tree of Life reference was, after just the one viewing.
The first thrill of the night, and by far the most memorable moment came from Octavia Spencer, who won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in The Help. Her overall excitement made it an unforgettable moment for the show. I just wish she would have been able to contain herself just a little longer, since it was one of the top speeches of the night.
The best Oscar speeches also come from winners that show emotion/excitement ... while adding some insight. It is pretty disappointing when they are quiet and just thank a couple people. So the best acceptance speeches that come to my mind include Tom Hanks for best actor in Philadelphia and Cuba Gooding Jr. for best supporting actor in Jerry Maguire.
For me, the best part of the Oscars is the looking back at all the truly great moments in movie history. These montages are truly dedicated to giving the audience goose bumps. When I see The God Father, Star Wars, Forest Gump and many others tied together a flood of memories is brought to mind.
This year the Oscars featured interviews with popular actors about their favorite moments... which added some charm.
The most shocking moment of the night was when Meryl Streep took Best Actress over Viola Davis. Should it be shocking that Streep won... of course not.
Streep is one of the best actresses of all time and brings magic to every one character she plays. I guess the Academy could not overlook her playing the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher. It seems like she is nominated nearly every year, but this time she finally added another Oscar to her collection.
For Davis I just hope that she has the opportunity to be nominated for the prize again, for a performance just as good as what she delivered with The Help.
Many times its seems like the Academy almost apologizes to actors and filmmakers several years later, by giving them the award for a film that was not as good as one a few years earlier that truly captured movie magic but went to someone else.
Examples I use for this are Denzel Washington having to wait until Training Day to get his Oscar, and Shawn Penn's snub for Mystic River.
On a final note, social media really shined during this year's Oscars with 3.8 million mentions on all platforms. For me the platform of choice was Twitter since it allows you to be in an enormous chat room of all the people watching the show and saying what they think.
The Oscars remains my favorite show of the year... I just hope next year some of the nominees will be more exciting -- like 2011's match up with King's Speech, Inception and The Social Network. All were nominated for the Best Picture.