Some quick thoughts on the Oscars:
1. How awesome was it to see AR Rahman up on stage? I know this sounds silly, but for me it was like seeing an old and dear friend celebrating the greatest night of his life. I cant think of too many other people who command as much as respect and receive as much adulation as he does from Indians all over the world. I don’t think too many people in the audience would have been aware of the significance when he spoke about his mother or about his choice between love and hate. Nevertheless, its fantastic to see AR Rahman get the recognition that he has been getting, Indians have always known just how brilliant he is. Now, the rest of the world will see the genius which we have known all along.
2. It was good to see the entire cast and crew of Slumdog Millionaire- from the little kids to the producers to the technicians and even Vikas Swarup up on stage for the best picture Oscar- It almost seeemed like one big fat Indian wedding! Totally opposite to the usual best picture acceptance speeches- which has one stereotypical white male producer thanking a bunch of studio heads. Kudos to the producers for getting all the kids to fly over for the ceremony.
3. I was happy to see that there were no cringe worthy moments such as Anil Kapoor doing the bhangra up on stage.
4. I thought Hugh Jackman did great but somehow missed the usual long opening- where the MC pokes fun at all the celebrities. Hopefully, the academy will go back to John Stewart next year.
5. Why wasn’t the Dark Knight up for Best Picture? I don’t think it was worthy of a best picture Oscar but it certainly merited a nomination.. No wonder the Oscars just don’t get good television ratings- the most successful movies of the year never seem to be up for any awards. As Tom Shone observes in his book, “Blockbuster”, Hollywood spends nearly all its money and energy working out what teenagers want and cravenly giving it to them. Then, once a year, it pauses to ask: “But is it art?”. It is hardly surprising that its conclusions are often so dismal.
No wonder this ceremony had the third lowest rating of all time.