Let’s get a few things out of the way.
First, I like Ellen DeGeneres.
Second, I think Ms. DeGeneres is a wonderful talent and an inspiration to millions.
Third, at one time years ago I was a big fan of her work – both as a stand-up comedian and later when she had a prime-time hit television show on ABC. I used to watch her show every week.
And now, to the point: She’s a TERRIBLE host of the Academy Awards show.
I’ve watched every Academy Awards night presentation since 1972. Haven’t missed a year since. Tonight, the streak stays alive.
Here are my picks and preferences for each of the major categories:
I just returned from a special screening of the five live-action short films nominated for this year’s Oscars.
Allow me to tell you a little bit about them.
It doesn’t matter that you probably won’t ever see any of these movies. Which is a shame. You may not even be interested in the subject matter. Your loss. You might think movies are purely for entertainment and escapism rather than to gain awareness and insight about our world. Stay stupid.
Okay, I’m being provocative with a reason.
Short films differ from regular movies for a number of reasons. First, they’re usually a truer reflection of the storyteller’s vision, because budgets are small and “there aren’t as many cooks in the kitchen,” as one low-budget filmmaker put it. Furthermore, short movies have to jolt you quickly. There’s no time for much story or character development. Conflict is almost immediate and pronounced. This often makes live-action shorts intensely powerful and moving. Third, most short films are created in places other than Hollywood, which gives audiences a much wider (some would say more authentic) portrayal of the subject mattter.
The lasting impression this year’s Oscar-nominated five short films left upon me was compelling, albeit in different ways. I’d like to try and convey my emotional reactions to each film, as well as the audience’s general response (the screening I attended included about 100 viewers). My intent isn’t to rehash the stories as to make a case that these “different” kinds of films should be much more widely seen and celebrated rather than largely ignored, which is now too often the case.
STOP READING NOW if you plan to see any these films and don’t want elements of story and surprise ruined.
Most of us who watch the Academy Awards every year have our eyes glaze over when certain film categories come up.
Let’s face it — few people know or care about movies that “no one sees.”
And that’s a shame, really. Because aside from the customary two-hour big-budget movies produced by the major studios, there are lots of wonderful “little” movie gems out there, usually made by unknown people with big dreams and small budgets.
Tonight at 7 pm, Century Suncoast 16, located inside the Suncoast Casino in Summerlin, hosts a one-time special screening of all five of the Oscar-nominated “Live-Action Short Films.” I haven’t seen any of these movies yet, which come from five different countries. For the first time in a long while, no American films were nominated this year. Most Live-Action Shorts tend to be about serious subjects and are intensely powerful, since the entire story must be compressed within a limited time frame (usually 15 minutes or so):
Scene from new movie “Son of God.” Spolier Alert: Film does not end well for the title character.
Last night, I attended a special advance press screening for a new movie called Son of God.
This film, to be released nationally in theaters this Friday, is reportedly intended to counter the last major motion picture made about the life of Jesus, the ultra-violent, mega-sadistic creation by Mel Gibson a decade ago called The Passion of the Christ, which stands as the most violently repulsive movie I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing.
Indeed, Son of God is a far more predictable paint-by-the-numbers retelling of the traditional story most of us already know too well, and have seen many times before. It’s almost certain to perform well at the box office, 20th Century Fox’s profits stoked by millions of true believers who finally have a reason to fork over $12 for tickets to a movie with subject matter that can hardly be considered objectionable.