Oscars 2012

Well readers, another apology is in order.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Backlots has been out of commission for an entire month. Thank goodness for the 2012 Oscar lineup, which boasted no fewer than 3 films dealing with classic film, to help me segue back into a regular posting schedule.


I thought this was the best Oscars in many years, thanks in large part to the high quality of the nominated films. I think few classic film fans would disagree that The Artist is probably the most deserving Best Picture winner in many, many years. The first silent film to win the award in 83 years, I can only hope that this is a preview of the direction in which filmmaking will turn in the future.

Meryl Streep has won her 3rd Academy Award for The Iron Lady. Herself a staple of what I consider to be “modern” classic cinema (think Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, Out of Africa), she has long since eclipsed Katharine Hepburn as the actor with the most Academy Award nominations–with 17 to Katharine’s 12. Though Hepburn still (deservedly) still holds the record for wins (4), the margin is closing in with Streep’s 3rd Oscar. I highly doubt, however, that anyone will let a modern actress beat Katharine Hepburn’s record, so Streep was probably correct in saying in her speech that she will never be up there again.

Here are Meryl Streep’s Oscar speeches for her 3 wins:

Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979

Sophie’s Choice, 1982

The Iron Lady, 2011

Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s beautiful mixture of fantasy and reality in bringing to life the world of the film pioneers, took home a grand total of 5 Academy Awards out of the 11 for which it was nominated. But for me, the defining moment was Billy Crystal’s homage to Martin Scorsese in his opening song:

“But it’s true I’d prefer for the sequel you don’t be so arty….Have the kid crack a head, shoot Ben Kingsley in bed, ’cause you’re Marty!”

Trailer for Taxi Driver, an example of the type of film for which Martin Scorsese is known.

Trailer for Hugo.

My Week With Marilyn, the third Academy Award-nominated film this year dealing with the classics, sadly did not win any Oscars. I think Michelle Williams really deserved acknowledgment for her beautiful, nuanced portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. There have been so many BAD interpretations of her, and this was the only one deserving of Marilyn’s legacy.

Featurette showcasing some of Williams’ finest moments as Marilyn.

Interview clip of the real Marilyn, talking about her engagement to Arthur Miller in 1956.

All in all, I think this was a productive year at the Oscars. We had 3 great classic film-related movies, and a great many nominations and wins among them. I hope that this is where cinema is headed in the future–and will take a turn from the modern-day schlock that so dominates the film landscape today, into a more refined art form that is now the stuff of only classic film.

More soon, a month off is way too long!!


2 responses to “Oscars 2012

  1. A month is definitely too long! Glad you’re back in commission. I couldn’t agree more about The Artist. Wonderful, wonderful. I have not yet seen Hugo (can’t believe I haven’t) or Marilyn, and I am certainly going to grab them when they come out on DVD. Good article, and I LOVED your clips — they were so much fun!

  2. Lara,
    I’m so glad you’re back! You’ve been missed.
    This really was a great Oscar season and although I had my favorites who I wanted to win (Jean and Close) Every nominated film and actor deserved their noms. I hope we are blessed with another great year of movies, stellar performances.

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