The Oscars were more than a week ago, yet they seem a year ago. Some brief thoughts on the winners and losers:
Wow: I am happily stunned that 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture. Quite honestly, I saw it as far too strong for the voting crowd. Perhaps that is why it won. For most viewers, watching Steve McQueen’s film is an overwhelming experience. It must have lingered for most voters.
No alarms and no surprises: Cuaron, McConaughey, Blanchett, and Leto were deserving winners — as I said before the Oscars, I’d have given it to McConaughey as a thank-you for True Detective — but a few surprises in those categories would have been nice.
The night’s real acting winner: Lupita Nyong’o. She gave the best speech, has the most memorable story, and, I think, gave the best performance.
Zeros: I was very sad to see American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street emerge empty-handed. For Hustle, with 10 nominations, it’s a bit of an embarrassment. While Wolf had five, it was not expected to win any; I accurately predicted it would lose them all. I truly believed, however, that Hustle would take screenplay and picture. What happened? Perhaps the entertaining film just faded from memory. Perhaps it was seen as too lightweight. Perhaps it just was not good enough.
Screenplay surprises: I was 0-for-2 on these, but happy to see John Ridley and Spike Jonze emerge victorious. These are daring, widly original scripts, and they deserve the acknowledgment.
Gravity wins big: Predicting Gravity to sweep the technical and effects categories was not particularly bold. Still, it’s noteworthy to see the film’s haul. In fact, the more I think about it, the more surprised I am that Gravity did not win Best Picture. So maybe there were some surprises after all …