My mom has told me to never be jealous. So I think of adjectives for the word “jealousy” just to feel better about expressing myself when I feel jealous from time to time. Maybe I’m envious, or desirous, or grabby (that’s a cute one). I don’t know what it is, but as I’m sitting here watching the Oscars right now, I just feel a yearning.
It’s not that I want to be involved in film specifically or write screenplays–although that would be incredible. But cinema and the Academy Awards are not just about movies. It’s all about story. Bringing stories to people, seeing how it engages them, seeing what they do with them. When we watch the Oscars, story becomes this grand thing again, because sometimes we forget just how huge it is for us each day of our lives.
Watching this now makes me want to be involved in that world of story we love. In a way, I know I am involved by writing. But I’m anxious to grab on and be more productive as a writer. To really feel involved in story. For now, I think the way I can feel involved is by remembering that I write, and also by forming opinions about other stories out there.
I love watching the full Oscars program, even seeing those obscure awards like sound editing. Each category has value–though I think we all know, the most important one is Best Picture. Every year, it seems, I have conversations with people about movies they don’t want to win.
Often peoples’ fears for Best Picture are about a film winning just because of one factor. I’ve heard people say they don’t want The Artist to win just because it’s a silent black and white film, or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to win just because it’s about 9/11.
Now, I really want Midnight in Paris to win–yet I’m sure it’s mostly because the film is about famous writers. It’s about a writer named Gill (Owen Wilson) who travels to Paris with his fiancee’s family, and in the process, accidentally finds himself going back in time at midnight each night and hanging out with the writers and artists from the 1920s–F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and so on. So it shouldn’t win just because of that one factor that it features famous writers of the Lost Generation. Though what I also loved about Midnight in Paris was its theme–its common truth running throughout the film–about how we idealize the past, and that people from the past idealized the past before them. That no one ever realizes that they’re living in a time that others will one day have fantasies about and write stories about and make movies about. It’s something I’ve thought on before and so I was happy to see a movie embody that idea. I’m glad to see it won Best Original Screenplay.
My favorite movie I saw this year was Take Shelter, though. It’s about Curtis, a normal family man with a loving wife and one daughter (who is deaf). He all of a sudden starts to have disturbing, violent dreams and visions of a coming apocalyptic storm. It’s an eerie movie, but not necessarily scary, and the ending led me to continue thinking about this film days after I saw it. There was really something special about how Curtis’s daughter and sign language were used in the plot as well (I’m not telling!). Basically, Take Shelter‘s very original plot unraveled flawlessly. So I’m upset that this great film got snubbed by the Academy. It really should have been up for Best Picture.
Seeing that I took way too long to write this entry while watching the Oscars, I now know that The Artist has won Best Picture. What does one do after the movie you wanted to win, loses? Or even after the movie you wanted to win, wins? I think we move on to our next stories and, for me especially, try to be productive enough to offset the jealousy I may feel during next year’s awards.