Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Oscar goes to...

I am so pleased with the people in the film industry right now.  I think that the fact that a silent, black and white film won Best Picture of the year reflects very well on the voters over at the Academy.  I'm so happy that our society isn't so inundated with loud noises and giant explosions and chaotic media, that they can't appreciate a good, old-fashioned love letter to film; a love letter that came in the form of The Artist.  Jean Dujardin's astonishing handsomeness aside, The Artist was an extraordinary film.

Now, I can never help hoping for an upset in awards shows like the Oscars, but, although there was a little bit of that in the back of my mind as Tom Cruise read the nominees for Best Picture, I really wanted The Artist to win (even though it seemed like a shoe-in after the best acting and directing awards).  Besides, I'd gotten my fix for upsets when Meryl Streep won Best Actress.  I felt like I'd won something myself when the best picture was announced, because film history is really what initially got me hooked on film, and sometimes I feel like it's under-appreciated, compared to other aspects of film that can actually get awards for existing (sound, writing, cinematography, etc.).  But I mean, there can hardly be an Oscar for film history-- "and the Academy Award for the industry with the most interesting history goes to..." No.  I think that The Artist really embraced film's roots in a very classy, artistic way.

But honestly, I vividly remember the exact moment that I decided I wanted to go into film.  I remember the exact film I was watching on exactly which TV channel and everything.

It was Fredric March night on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  (For those of you who don't know, TCM is a channel that shows classic films without commercials.  They also sometimes have someone discussing the history or development of the film before or after it airs.)  I'd never heard of Fredric March before, but my mom and I were looking for a movie to watch and that was what was on.  The first March film that was starting when we turned on TCM was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (it's pronounced "JEE-kull."  Let's respect Robert Louis Stevenson, ok?).

I've said in a previous post that I don't do very well with scary movies, but I didn't think that this would be that scary because it was made in 1931 and the effects couldn't be that great, right?  Oh, was I WRONG.  The effects were actually very impressive (better even, I hear, than the 1940s version of the same film).  Multiple times, we got to see a straight-on shot of Jekyll changing into Hyde without any cuts to his shadow on the wall or any other kinds of filmy cheats.  It was very impressive.  I was legitimately scared.  I was 16 years old and I actually had to sleep in my parents' bed, I was so freaked out (luckily my dad was away on a trip so I fit in the bed).  Looking back, though, that was a piece of what was so fascinating to me about the film and it's place in film history.

I have this as a poster in my room at home- I love it.

The little tidbit of history that TCM gave us before was about the censorship laws put into place during the 30s and how Jekyll and Hyde had just barely slipped under their radar because of its timely release date.  And indeed, the film was pretty racy for a film of that time period, including a possible rape scene and a stripping prostitute-type character.  I also thought it was great that Fredric March was the first person to ever win Best Actor for a role in a horror film (I believe he still remains one of the only ones).  The film itself was also the first horror film to win an Oscar at all.

In any case, despite the fact that I was scared by the film, I loved it.  It was the first film that made me feel a good kind of fear.  Then I started thinking about film studies.  That morphed into screenwriting, which now seems to be growing a little bit of an interest in sound.

One last cool thing about my own personal Oscar Night-- I had a moment of realization last night of where I really am when I was driving home from the people's house where I'd watched the Oscars.  To get home, I had to drive about 3/4 of a mile down Sunset Boulevard.  I considered taking a detour so I wouldn't get caught in the Sunset strip, but I thought, "you know what? I'm going to brave the storm and take it because it might be cool."  And it was.  I really like being in the middle of things, and Sunset Blvd. was exactly the middle of things last night.  It took me about an hour and practically a quarter tank of gas to get all the way home (normally a 25 minute drive).  There were lines and lines and lines of cars at practically a complete standstill all up and down Sunset.  It was so COOL though!  You know those big beams of light that shine up in the sky to mark a big event or something like that?  Well, I actually saw the source of those lights that were going last night.  I drove right past it (some fancy-looking hotel- I think it was the Vanity Fair after-party or something), which was pretty cool.  Also, the traffic was so slow that I actually made friends with the guy who was driving in the lane next to me.  We bonded over the fact that no one around us could drive.

All the up-close-and-personal-ness made me realize that I'm actually here.  I'm in LOS ANGELES.  THIS IS ALL REAL.

Anyhow, last night made me very happy in numerous ways.  If anyone hasn't seen The Artist yet, I shouldn't have to tell you this, but SEE IT.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome decision to go for Sunset Blvd. That's so cool that you were there in the thick of things!