So it’s been another mediocre year for movies. How many has that been in a row now? Not since There Will be Blood came up against No Country For Old Men in 2008 have two acknowledged great films clashed for the golden prize. Will people talk about 12 Years a Slave and Gravity in twenty years? I doubt it. 2013, like many, many other recent years will be characterized as uninspiring, with only a few decent films worthy of a second look.
This year, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars and garnered a lot of acclaim for her laidback humour. She did stunts like stage a ‘selfie’ with the most famous A-listers present at the awards, including Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt. At the time of writing, this picture has been retweeted over 2.6 million times, a world record. She also ordered in a pizza delivery to feed the stars. People on Twitter couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Brad Pitt eating a slice.
In fact, Ellen was so popular, and her tweets so relentlessly retweeted that I feel I must have been alone in disliking these stupid stunts. They portray actors as deities. The novelty is seeing famous people do stuff that normal people do. I wouldn’t have believed that so many people would be as tickled by a picture of celebrities, but 2.6 million people have proven me wrong. The selfies were also deeply cynical marketing by Oscar sponsor Samsung. When Ellen walked on stage and took an awkward selfie of herself, she made sure the Samsung logo was pointing straight towards the cameras.
Of the awards themselves, there were no major surprises. Lupita Nyong’o beat Jennifer Lawrence to Best Supporting Actress but Nyong’o’s bid had been gaining a lot of momentum in the last few weeks. 12 Years a Slave safely won best film, beating its nearest contender Gravity. American Hustle was totally overlooked, as was Wolf of Wall Street and Internet memes abounded over how disappointed Leonardo DiCaprio must be after not winning again.
Yet it almost seemed like the film awards were taking a back seat to this obsessive celebrity culture show that most awards have turned in to. Of course, we don’t need to treat the Oscars too seriously, but it turned into a Hunger Games-esque rally of appreciating all the beautiful A-listers in their beautiful dresses with their beautiful boyfriends and girlfriends. The viewers are on the sidelines, wishing we knew these people. The only way we can connect with them is by retweeting their picture. 2.6 million times.