Good Morning Upper East Siders...
Being of the non-cable-television-owning persuasion (read: not by choice, but by unfortunate circumstance), I joined thousands in watching the Oscars streaming on Hulu...the day after they aired.
I considered pulling a Ted Mosby and sticking my head in the sand until I could watch the Oscars from opening number to the last, teary-eyed acceptance, but alas I do not have enough self restraint. And I happen to work in two media-centric industries, rendering any attempt to stay ignorant completely unsuccessful.
And let me tell you, though I already knew the overjoyed recipients of the Academy's favor, the ceremony this year was a sight to behold. I won't touch on Seth McFarlane's dubious hosting, as I'm fairly sure I stood with much of America in my open-mouthed, "Holy...did he just say that...?" reaction. He has a nice voice. There, I gave him a little carrot.
What I would like to touch on, however, is the return of grace to the entertainment industry.Though I cop to being a reluctant viewer of the Bachelor, and when the Kardashians are throwing their utterly ridiculous weight around on television I might pause a minute on the channel (again, if I had cable....), or watch a bit of a B-movie on Netflix. But the industry has, I'd argue, lately lost a bit of the luster of the Golden Age. Walter Benjamin has some particularly strong opinions in his Essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction", namely that the arts have become more accessible to the masses and therefore have lost that untouchable quality which accompanied any masterpiece before modern technology.
So how does this relate to modern cinema...? As film is meant to appeal to the masses, I'd argue that as of late, there has been more "dumbed down" material, more junk. And the individuals recruited to work on these projects are a mirror image of the material. America does not need to be pandered to, in my opinion, and deserves witty, engaging, thought-provoking, outside the box cinema. We can totally handle it. A little challenge is good every once in awhile, n'est pas?
Which is why, when the Oscars roll around, I sit up and pay attention. Especially when and actors like Jen Lawrence and Anne Hathaway win for intelligent, provocative performances and no less than blush at the honor of winning such a prestigious award, I think that film (and so television, and so webcasts, etc...) are on the rebound.
And as Anne and Jennifer are quite young, as were others who were recognized in the ceremony, I hope this means a makeover for the slacker generation. Life imitates art imitates life and all that. For once, I was quite proud of the individuals representing my generation. See? We can work hard. And apparently dress to the nines while doing it. How lovely were Jennifer's Dior Haute Couture Gown, and Anne's Prada confection? No less than stunning.
The Couture Conversationalist