Archive for February 27th, 2012

by Sam Juliano

As a cold spell envelopes the northeast the Academy Awards were staged in Los Angeles amidst the usual flurry of both casual interest and condemnation, and the results seemed sure to put the rubber stamp on a year where numerous critics’ organizations and awards’ groups mostly all sided up with the same film: The Artist.  Oscar bashers will from here on refer to the film as an “Oscar movie” to disparage both the system and the film they didn’t adore, but the film won way too many awards before AMPAS’ lovefest to allow for any pigeon-holing.  Point is, The Artist is one of the most critically-praised films in years, and Oscar’s annointment is actually one of it’s most inspired moments.  As I prepare this Diary lead-in the show is still hours eight to nine hours away, so even if I add a final summary comment it won’t be remotely comprehensive.  Discussion on the event may well take place on the comment thread, if it even materializes at all.  On a personal note, our annual party was held as scheduled, and a nice food spread and the company of friends was easily the most rewarding part of the night.  Postscript:  The Artist wins Best Picture, Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius, and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, as well as for musical score and costumes for a five Oscar win to dominate the awards.  In a thrilling surprise, Meryl Streep upset Viola Davis for Best Actress.

Even with the party and guests imminent, I stayed the course with the William Wellman Festival in torrid fashion.  From Monday to Sunday I made good on a week-off from my school position to manage a week of theatrical movie going that will have some impressed, but way more convinced that insanity has set in.  The latter is probably the right assessment.  In any case with Lucille present for most and Sammy for many,  I took in 16 Wellmans, and felt like I negotiated a crash course on the prolific director.  There were several great ones and a few rarities.  In any case the all-enveloping focus on Wellman precluded any other viewings with the long exception of a pre-Oscar repeat viewing of The Artist, seen with Dennis on Thursday night. (the one instance aside from Sunday where I watched the Wellmans in the afternoon).  Yes, that’s five viewings of The Artist, and it still hasn’t lost a thing. (more…)

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