The Oscars have come and gone. To be honest, I don’t care about the Oscars like I did when I was a doe-eyed dreamer. I loved the movies, and I appreciate how the Oscar elevate the definition of cinema to the mainstream. It’s not just a platform for movie execs to produce blockbuster films filled with explosions and sex. It’s a valid form of artistic expression that showcases a particular experience in life that runs for two hours.
At the end of the film, it makes you feel something, whether it’s good or bad. And that is the real power of cinema – always reaching out for emotions inside you that you never thought were there, to begin with.
But I digress.
Like I said, I stopped watching the Oscars for roughly a decade, but I did see parts of it this year.
So here are two things running in my mind from the parts I saw from yesterday’s Oscars:
1. A “Dusty Finish.”
For starters, the “Dusty Finish” is the term that originated from pro wrestler Dusty Rhodes. He’s a legendary wrestler known for his amazing mic skills, but is also known as a “booker,” or the guy who plots out the matches, during the ’80s at the peak of his fame. As a narrative device, the Dusty Finish is normally applied by the “heels” or bad guys like Ric Flair to get the win. They employ underhanded tactics when the referee is distracted and cheat their way to victory. Of course, the audience sees how the heel cheated but it doesn’t matter since the referee makes the decisions.
This narrative device helps forward the storyline and creates an even stronger tension between the rivalry of good and bad. Since the heel obviously cheated, the “face” or the good guy will eventually get his/her comeuppance in the end. It’s a long and drawn out storyline, but the Dusty Finish usually helps usher the story to its crescendo.
At last night’s Oscar, Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land won the Best Picture award, but the real winner is Moonlight. The cast and crew of La La Land found out about this while on-stage giving their speech. It was an awkward moment that is similar to when Steve Harvey announced that Miss Colombia won instead of Miss Philippines who was the real winner.
In principle, this wasn’t a Dusty Finish because nobody won in the end. La La Land looks like a chump, Moonlight didn’t get the moment it deserved, and the viewers are left to scramble for thoughts about what the hell just happened. It was grotesque, can’t-look-away-because-it’s-so-bad TV.
But in all truth, I can’t care for it. It happened. Whatever.
2. What’s up with Moana?
I saw both Zootopia and Moana in cinemas with my two-year-old daughter. After watching both films, I can honestly say that she has good tastes in movies. In the middle of Zootopia, she stood up and played at the back of the theaters where the ushers can be found until the movie finished. She probably cannot finish Zootopia because of how flat and uncompelling it is, and I share the same sentiments.
When we saw Moana, she didn’t stand and walked away from the film. She stayed until the very end while watching the film and eating popcorn. I assume she enjoyed the visuals and the sounds, both of which are spectacular in any way you look at it. The story is also very compelling and brazen – it’s one of the first animated films that feature a non-white female lead portrayed as strong and independent to great effect.
At the same time, I can see why Zootopia won and Moana didn’t. The former’s theme was tried-and-true, as well as relevant in the current political landscape. The latter is a breath of fresh ear, but something that regular viewers may not be comfortable with. After all, it’s hard for people who have been treated with predominantly white female leads who fall head over heels to their counterpart male lead to appreciate the nuance of Moana.
Also, I can see the flak the film got from the Polynesian community due to the interpretation of their rich culture and history. As with most Disney animated films, it’s supposed to be a light take on the miniscule details of history and heritage. But some people attacked it nonetheless, focusing on the details than the big picture.
Honestly, it sucks that people called out Disney for “white-washing” the Polynesian culture. The story of Moana as told by Disney is inspiring and uplifting, but people focused on how inaccurate the depiction is. Again, they have reason for saying these good, although I don’t necessarily agree on all acoounts. It’s just an unfortunate turn of events for a film that could have treaded a much better path than any of its Disney predecessors did.
That’s the end of the post! However, I’m gonna try something different this time. Instead of asking for your comments, I want you to share your posts about the Oscars like the way I wrote it. Check below for more details: