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Oscars over

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Mark Kermode | 17:50 UK time, Monday, 27 February 2012

So, the statues have been handed out and the speeches made.

Here is my take on this year's Academy Awards.

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Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
Winners and losers
Eleven from eleven

Mark's reviews on 5 live
Take your pick from Mark's A-Z

Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.



  • Comment number 1.

    You've said before that box-office takings don't matter, as they don't necessarily reflect the quality of the film (people paying on their way OUT of the cinema would be a better method of measuring quality). Similarly, I just do not get the point of the Oscars. Or indeed the Globes, or indeed the BAFTAs. They do not matter. They're all just a load of pretentious backslapping and false modesty, not to mention hours of cringe-worthy and unfunny moments. Why do we even waste our energy writing and talking about them?

  • Comment number 2.

    And if you honestly expect me to believe that 'Slumdog Millionaire' - a film that COULND'T EVEN GET A DISTRIBUTOR! - won 10 Oscars for artistic merit, you're an idiot. The Oscars are just as much about politics and back-room deals than anything else; in this case Hollywood was trying to get into bed with Bollywood. It is that simple.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't know anybody who saw the Oscars. Either you have Sky TV or you can't see it (unless you're there). And I don't know anybody who has Sky, which is why I've found this year, there's been very little talk about it, and asking around this morning, nobody had a clue what happened, nor did they care. Bit of a shame. It should be a global viewing event.

  • Comment number 4.

    #1 - Until the Doc publically disregards The Exorcist's box office achievement, then I don't much care for his views on the matter, quite frankly.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thought Billy Crystal did a good job, but overall the show was a bit dull. Mark you may like this, a guy has made an oscar type show reel with the big omissions (in his opinion) at this years oscars.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree:

    Oscar is slowly learning that he has to move with the times and try and give a more balanced and varied view of the year's film highlights.

    The Artist proves that any film can win so long it's good (and so long as you have the Weinstein's in charge of your campaign).

  • Comment number 7.

    I thought Gore Verbinski's Oscar would get your heckles up. I'm disappointed that 'Chico and Rita' didn't win because film makers are producing animated films for grown up audiences like 'Chico and Rita' and 'Waltz with Bashir' but they either don't get nominated or don't win, reinforcing the perception that animation its only for kids.

    As for 'The Artist' i liked it i wanted to like it more but it may improve with repeat viewings. I think its success is a testament to lobbying power of Harvey Weinstein. A word about the Kermodes good to see our Tilda getting some recognition its just a shame you didn't have time for interviews as well this year.

  • Comment number 8.

    The Electric palace in Harwich which is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country is showing 'The Artist' this weekend on the original 1911 screen with the music coming from the orchestra pit. Cinema as it should be. The Electric Palace has been kept in its original style providing for an original cinematic experience.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have yet to see Hugo or The Artist so can't comment, and caught the highlights of the Oscar's in a five minute stream. That was quite enough for me. I gave up any interest in this back slapping, over emotional, yawnfest when I realised that deserving candidates in all catergories get over looked in favour of what's 'in vogue ' for that particular year, even if it's crud. And everyone knows it's house maids, pool maintenance men, and gardeners, etc that really get to vote, as their employers give them the film to watch in their place, and ask their opinion :-) Hollywood is not all it seems right?

  • Comment number 10.

    Just like TheNylonStrings on youtube says it is tragic that Drive didn't even win the award it was nominated for.

  • Comment number 11.

    Lionel Bource winning for Best Score is fair enough but what exactly is the ruling on his using previously recorded music (namely substantially using the entire love theme from Herrmann's score to Vertigo) when Jonny Greenwood got locked out of the nominations a few years ago for There Will Be Blood which also contained previously recorded material - and had to 'settle' for a Kermode award instead.

  • Comment number 12.

    Surprised you didnt mention the travesty of Hugo winning best cinematography over Tree of Life which seems like one of the most glaring errors in Oscar history. To a lesser extent Hugo winning best sound over Drive is ridiculous but a little more expected.

  • Comment number 13.

    Senna? Maybe if it had been about NASCAR not Formula 1?
    Worth remembering that the former is a lot more popular than the latter in the US.
    But yes, The Artist, who would have thought. Weinstein or not.
    Unless some of the Oscar panel are old enough to actually remember silent film!
    Though seriously, the whole homage to old Hollywood must have helped.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think that the fact that Martha Marcy May Marlene got absolutley no nomiations show just how off the Oscars can be. I think MMMM is an absolutley perfect film and one of the best i have ever seen, in fact it got no BAFTA nominations either, whats going on?

  • Comment number 15.

    I watched Hugo on Sunday (prior to its Oscar victories, natch). Must say that I was a little non-plussed by it. Whilst I think its heart was in the right place - Georges Melliers deserves greater acknowledgement and respect afterall - it felt a little too much like Scorcese channelling Jeunet, what with it's convoluted, meandering plot, "quirky" characters plodding about getting up to not very much. It lacked any sense of peril or dramatic tension and suffered from the usual thing of being led by a wooden child actor (where one is always forced to qualify the performance as "good... for a child actor").

    I think if had been a kid, I'd have been bored within about 10-15 minutes - no wonder it's not done very well. Whimsy on its own just doesn't cut it.

  • Comment number 16.

    p.s. why is no-one mentioning "Shame"? Fasswang-er ... ahem ... I mean Fassbender gives a career-best performance and deserved a nomination at least. Whilst I really liked John The Garden in The Artist, I found it all a bit hammy (appreciate that being hammy in silent film is kind of a pre-requisite) - he didn't lay himself bare in the way that Fassbender did (in both literal and figurative senses).

  • Comment number 17.

    Wow, Mark's quiff has finally frosted over! ;)

    The ceremony itself was lengthy and fairly dull. Chris Rock was funnier in his intro than the host! RDJ, Farrell and Galfinakis and Emma Stone were also unfunny.

    Haven't seen: We Need To Talk About Kevin, Senna, Chico & Rita and Hugo.
    I DID see Tinker Tailor (not all that IMO) and A Better Life and thought both central performances were great. Birchir in A Better Life had a very poignant scene towards the end that was really tear-jerking.
    I actually have the audio book of Tinker Tailor, so I should really get round to listening to it. Got to see the scripts too of all the nominees.

    I quite enjoyed Rango! I understand that you favour animated films that use the medium in a more left-field way, but Rango is pretty distinct, both in animation and in tone. Certainly not your typical animated film from Hollywood! Hey, at least the truly mediocre Rio wasn't nominated apart from for best song (and the OST was better than the film anyway, particularly Fly Love and Let Me Take You To Rio (Blu's Arrival)).
    Hopefully, Arrietty will win next year, as that was my fave of 2011.

    The Artist was good, but Best Picture of 2011? No, dear.

    And no mention for A Separation's historic win? That film was sublime and my fave of 2011. I was so pleased, I fell off my bed, got back up and started crying :D
    THAT'S the win that made me beam.
    And the irony of 'old white men telling us what are good films', but that's why I'm a fan, Mark!

    And your smile at the end was very Brucie!

  • Comment number 18.

    I couldn't agree more with the first comment. I would just add why do we bother with film-critics - particularly when they are aggressive, verbose, hugely irritating and with a massive over-inflated sense of their own importance! Why are their views any more important, objective or instructive than say mine - in many instances it's purely a pretentious case of the emperor's new-clothes! Films are purely a form of entertainment - we don't have to put up with this level of analytical drivel with books, theatre or, music!

  • Comment number 19.

    I too was so glad A Separation won Best Foreign despite some carping about it being a political win - it's a good film on many levels.

    I am also unpleasantly glad that (apologies and acknowledgement to the brilliant IMDB messageboard poster who coined this) Stinker Staler Colder Why? didn't win anything since it seemed to me a complete mess of a movie - sorry Dr K and others who rate it. We clearly inhabit different universes. La Streep was always going to win on the "Royalty" factor this year but looking forward to The Artist fetching up in my local DVD hire shop.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Harry Potter series not winning a single Oscar in 10 years, despite being a series that actually IMPROVED over time, is a kick in the teeth (even though I knew it wouldn't win in any of the categories in which it was nominated). Star Wars has won more Oscars than Harry Potter, which makes me sad.

    And I thought you might like to know that David Yates stated that they could have filmed Remus and Tonks's death scene in DH Part Two, but if they had, they wouldn't have been able to convert the movie into 3D in time for screening. Because that really hampered Part One, right? More proof, if proof were needed, that 3D is a waste of time and money.

  • Comment number 21.

    For me the best film to win an award this year was the wonderful "A Separation" by Asghar Farhadi - This must be the first time in years that the winner of the best Foreign language film really was the best Foreign language film -

  • Comment number 22.

    I still have not seen 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'. It's not released here until next month so I'll have to continue to withhold my opinion on that one. I made the mistake of looking up that release. When I pulled up the film's information on a certain rental site, there was a large blurb that gave away a major plot point.... Thoroughly aggravated now...

    Although I thought The Artist and Hugo were good films, neither made my own Top 10 Films of 2011 ( ). The Artist was pleasant, it was different, but in my estimation it was a novelty. Roger Ebert wrote on his blog that, The Artist will send Hollywood producers back to their think tanks, but it really hasn't made much of a splash here in the US other than with critics and moviegoers that don't fear 'art house' films (there aren't many of us I have to tell you), so I don't think that will be the case, sadly. I did enjoy the film, but I think you have to be a fan of the history of cinema to properly enjoy them. Although, I really liked The Artist and Hugo, I would never recommend either to most of my friends, because I know they don't love movies like I do and would be bored out of their skulls trying to get through them.

    I completely agree with your opinion of Senna (I also am not a racing fan) and Gary Oldman. My own pick for Best Picture was TTSS, in accordance with the BAFTAs. I thought Tinker Tailor was brilliant and should have gotten far more recognition. After seeing Drive (my #2 film of 2011) I'm surprised that you didn't find room in your Top 10 for it, especially after you heaped quite a bit of praise on it.

    And I wish you would give credit to a film, even if you despise the film's director (Gore Verbinski). It seems beneath you. (You may argue that, but) if you don't have an open mind going into a film then there's no point in viewing it. Rango was actually a well made film in story and much more in its artistic merit.

    And one last thing, Mark... I don't think that smile was sincere, but I didn't notice you looking disheveled. I don't think I would look half as good had stayed up all night watching something as uninteresting, pretentious and mind numbingly boring as the Oscars like you did.

  • Comment number 23.

    Mark, I know that this has absolutely nothing to do with this subject, but I'd really appreciate it, even if it's just 30 seconds at the end of one of your videos, if you could explain your change of opinion about Charlie Chaplin.

    I know you said that a friend introduced you the the 'darker side' of Chaplin, but could you explain that in a little more detail? I have to confess, I've only recently started making my way through the films of Chaplin and Keaton (I'm only 20 okay, I've got a lot of catching up, don't judge me) and I'd really love to know your thoughts on the matter.

    Come to think of it, if anyone else has an opinion please let me know! Thanks.

  • Comment number 24.

    I hope this isn't the beginning of a trend, more so than Gore Verbinski now being an Oscar winner, one thing the world really doesn't need is more opportunities for Kermode to smile.

  • Comment number 25.

    The Artist didn't win because it's a particular good film (it's not). It won because Harvey Weinstein threw his weight behind it. There should be an Oscar category for Best Publicity Campaign, so that The Artist could have won something deservedly.

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with the above comments. By complaining about the Oscars and yet still giving them so much attention, the otherwise Good Dr. wants to have his cake and eat it. Why is it that serious film critics and journalists still waste so much time on silly award ceremonies, when their audiences consistently let it be known that they're not interested?

  • Comment number 27.

    Talking about Oscar nominees - Have you seen this campaign by Oscar nominee Taika Waititi for crowd source contributions to get his film distributed in the USA? Looks like he's got what he needed with 3 days to go. The video updates are great.

  • Comment number 28.

    Should Robert Richardson have won the golden bloke for Best Cinematography on Hugo though? I mean, it is his third and there was The Tree of Life... and Drive (which wasn't even nominated).

  • Comment number 29.

    The Artist is a novelty act, just like Avatar was with its 3D and motion capture techniques. Its amazing to think that cinematic novelty has become so stretched that it has come to this; going back to scratch and making a silent film. Also I find it ironic that Dujardin won the Best Actor award for a performance that eighty odd years ago would've been career shattering.

    The fact that a novelty film was nominated far ahead of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Drive just goes to show what the award committee's think of films. And also Meryl Streep winning Best Actress for her portrayel of the greatest monster in film? I'm surprised she hasn't been greeted by boos and hisses.

    But at the end of the day its what the people remember? Cast your mind back to 1982. Who remembers Gandhi which won Best Picture? And who remembers Blade Runner?

  • Comment number 30.

    why would anyone want to listen to the opinions of some old white guy about what makes good cinema?

    Just joking, love you Dr K and all your opinions including the ones that are wrong.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mark, please don't smile again.

    That's just superseded my reply for the last blog post and become the most chilling thing I've ever seen on screen.

  • Comment number 32.

    Regarding Crash Landen's post on Rango:

    "And I wish you would give credit to a film, even if you despise the film's director (Gore Verbinski). It seems beneath you. (You may argue that, but) if you don't have an open mind going into a film then there's no point in viewing it. Rango was actually a well made film in story and much more in its artistic merit. "

    That's worth quoting as it's spot on - I'd go further and say that Dr K's snobbery is once again getting in the way and preventing him from appreciating something that really is worthy of appreciation. Rango is a very good film and its Oscar win was very well deserved.

    And why the hate towards Verbinski? Is that simply because he directed the first three Pirates films which Dr K disliked so much (well, he kind of liked the first one). Verbinski is a very talented director, he has a slightly quirky style and is very adaptable. Compare and contrast the Pirates films to The Ring and The Weatherman for example, then look at Rango - all very different with their own style.

    Come on Dr K, get your nose out of the clouds and give credit where it's due.

  • Comment number 33.

    rather dull and boring show, only high point was chris rock, which shows you who should have been hosting. loved SBC stunt on the red carpet, the look on Seacrest face was worth staying up the rest of the night, yes ryan, it was that funny. it was going to be all about the films that were not nominated but there were two big screw ups, tree of life did not take best cinematography and TTSS did not taking best adapted screenplay, i'll say if no one else will, the desendants sucked!

  • Comment number 34.

    I felt that this year there was a definite agenda. Pick the films that promote the 'idea' of cinema, the romance of film and film-going. The Artist is a good film, I'm not denying that, but I don't think that's why it was chosen. And as for Hugo, well that was a triple whammy, a chance to reward Scorcese for his back catalogue and another romantic image of the history of film, and even more a film they can reward which promotes 3D. It felt very cynical to me.

    I went to see Hugo, on your recommendation (yes I blame you!), it's ok, it actually fell down for me as soon as they got into the history of film half of the story, the first part the story of an abandoned boy who mends the automaton, was interesting and then it began to preach at me, and I became more and more annoyed. The part where people over-react to the film of the train, because they fear it will come out of the screen towards them, was like yelling at the screen. LOOK film has always been 3D, you bunch of luddite 3D deniers! It felt like propaganda to me, and there wasn't anything in there that wouldn't have worked equally well in 2D anyway.
    The fact that this could win so big and Harry Potter could fail to ever win anything is frankly ludicrous. I've always wondered if Harry Potter's absence has anything to do with JK Rowling's insistence on filming in Britain with a British cast.

    The fact that Shame and We need to talk about Kevin were ignored is unbelievable. Tilda Swinton not even getting a nomination made my blood boil. The only things that made me smile, Muppet or a Man winning best original song, and A Separation winning best foreign film.

    The rest was just cheekbones and pretty frocks.

  • Comment number 35.

    The Oscars seemed to be certainly as glamorous as ever and those statues as iconic symbols of film prestige as always. No wonder people still give a damn! They should be a celebration of the art of film: Less parochial, less self-involved and less incestuous with the business of making money over aspiring to promote art?: "Out with the old and in with the new!"

    /end waffle.

    I think The Artist was a worthy winner: Daring to be different, the v zesty performances of the two leads esp. Bejo "The soul of the movie, mai oui!" The conventional plot played in the conventional silent era of movies allows you to smile and the music and gestures and dance and dog tricks are all great fun and very uplifting... AND FRENCH! : )

    I've heard from anyone who did watch Hugo (with the kids) that they all fell asleep through it?

    I would have liked Chico y Rita to won the best animation, as it put me in a particular mood when I saw it; I'm not smitten with the melodramatic ending, but the art and music and everything about it was such absorbing viewing, and incredibly impressive that it was an animation. Disarming?

    That said, I've been wanting to see The Separation and missed it, so I will hunt it down! It would be great if Hollywood made the Foreign film category more integral to the Oscars ceremony.

    Happy to see Midnight In Paris win Woody Allen a screenplay Oscar, "A city that is...... best seen at midnight!" The kevin movie on the other hand just fails to interest me: Some story about a frigid mother (#1 taboo) and the consequences of why love matters, I guess? "Not today, thank you!"

  • Comment number 36.

    The problem is the Artist wasnt the best film of 2011. It was up there in the top ten but it wasnt the best. The acting was excellent, who couldnt love the dog, the cinematography was beautiful ,but it has two flaws.
    1.If Charlie,Harold or Buster had been technical advisers they would all have told Habiscus to hurry up. Quite a few of the scenes are just to long and drawn out. It needed a ruthless editor.
    2. Its biggest flaw is its predictability. Within five minutes you know exactly whats going to happen. Now dont get me wrong its a very nice journey getting there, but knowing whats going to happen is whats wrong with so much of American cinema, and Hollywood in particular. Perhaps in that sense it deserved to win the Oscars as the perfect Hollywood story, Silent movie wins against all the odds, a tale of adversity and hardship ending in triumph.
    p.s. as to the colour of Marks Quiff,commented on earlier , men of our generation have the ultimate question to answer To DYE OR NOT TO DYE ,THAT IS THE QUESTION???

  • Comment number 37.

    Why did Gary Oldman not win?


    He's the greatest screen actor EVER and is above such an award!

    An Oscar is given to all those below his level that on occasion manage to produce something like a worthy performance that's worth recognition among standard work.

    And so to give Gary Oldman an Oscar for one portrayal would by default mean that all his roles should be awarded an Oscar due to the sheer calibre of his acting craft.

  • Comment number 38.

    I loved The Artist, structurally original, with the best use of sound that I´ve ever seen in a film.
    Mark, so the Oscars are about a bunch of old, white men telling us which are the good films. Well maybe you´d better fire yourself to give your job to a black woman.

  • Comment number 39.

    The Oscars get more and more irrelevant as each year passes. As has been the case over he past 20 years the Best Actress and Actor catergoris reward BIG performances. The Academy increasingly only recognises these "performances" as good acting when the recipients play either a real person (impersonation) or someone with a disability (mental or physical).

    Then they can be adjudged to be ACTING. So, Streep (who I adore) dons a wig, a false nose and prosthetics and is therefore ACTING. Dujardin isn't doing any of these though I hear you ask, however he is silent. Gosh, he can emote without speaking He is ACTING...

    Anyway, Oldman was on a hiding to nothing. All that subtlety - that's not ACTING.

  • Comment number 40.

    39: You are absolutely right!

  • Comment number 41.

    Here's a nice, compact analysis of what should have won in some of the main categories:

    Dr K might even agree with some of it ...........

  • Comment number 42.

    Why did you delete my post on Rango? Truly bizarre, and kind of lily-livered. Are people not allowed disagree with you in a cogent, polite way?

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil, your comment re: Rango (which I agree with, incidentally) is over on the Chilled Out thread. You might have inadvertently posted to the wrong thread.

    You know, the thread that is NOT AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA to anyone outside the UK. Can someone fix this soonish before the fans start getting peevish.

  • Comment number 44.

    Aaah. Now I feel like a total clownhat. Apologies for mild snippiness. Ta for the heads-up Alina.

  • Comment number 45.

    Is Kermode doing his first ever 3D blog? I'd be intrigued to know what his reflection would look like with the glasses on. Perhaps he's finally been sold on the idea.
    I personally have found the last year of cinema a little underwhelming. There have been some good films, good performances but nothing great. For instance - I really like Tinker, Tailor... I thought Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong were great but not oscar worthy. I agree with Mark that the screenplay was excellent and deserved the award. In the Iron Lady,Meryl Streep's impression of Thatcher is great, but in a pretty lightweight film, which misses the point.
    Hmmm, can't help but think that the Razzies got the better choices this year...

  • Comment number 46.

    And the award for Creepiness goes to .... that end of blog grimace!!
    Best bit The NZ Conchord Brett win for the Muppet or a Man - genuine smiles for that one!

  • Comment number 47.

    23: Not sure about C. Chaplin, but the Kermode face at the end: Stan Laurel!

    "Here's another nice blog you've given us, Dr K."

    Nervous tie-twiddle, and... exit!

  • Comment number 48.

    I always knew the "Child Catcher" from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" would have been far more scary sporting a rockabilly quiff.

  • Comment number 49.

    #36: I agree, it was a little long and would have been better a bit shorter, but I'm wondering if that's me + silent movies? I coudn't tell. Maybe another viewing would be in order... but so joyous and not afraid to just be alive, definitely the best by a country mile, I can't think of another winner, can you?

    #37: Agree, Gary Oldman has been unbelievably good in so many roles, esp. villains... I have not seen TTSS yet, but no doubt he was in contention. Still him or Dujardin: Toss a coin!

    The Doctor could operate an entire blog on "Gary Oldman". I'm not sure if I read too much into things, but he looked gutted not winning the Oscar, not playing the game but doing a lot right in the right areas! What can you say. Definitely a blog on Gary Oldman is in order, that'll cheer him up & he deserves it imo. : )

  • Comment number 50.

    Does anyone else think that Mark's smile/grimace at the end of this blog is eerily similar to the one on Ian Holm's detached head in Alien just before he gets torched?

  • Comment number 51.

    Not quite Daniel. It's more like Wednesday Addams in Addams Family Values; tell him to stop, he's scaring me.

  • Comment number 52.

    @49 I loved Drive, Tinker and was profoundly moved by Benda Bilili . I havnt seen Kevin yet and given how much i love Ratcatcher my expectations are ridiculously high.I see it on the big screen next month.I enjoyed the Artist but these had the wow factor for me, also if I`m honest i enjoyed Bridesmaids more.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good doctor, I wish to know your opinion on Wim Wenders's Pina.
    Greetings from Valparaiso, Chile.

  • Comment number 54.

    the thing this oscars shows in spades is that Americans do not have outsiders criticising their culture. Kevin, Shame, Drive etc were films made by europeans highlighting flaws in our (universal) culture, set in america. The only criticism of american culture that the oscars will accept it that of the flawed anti-hero achieving enlightenment through recognising their own flaws. This is ultimately why "white people solve racisim" is such a popular oscar narative and also why The Artist fits so easily into the Oscar mould.

  • Comment number 55.

    Have to agree 100% re:'The Artist' superb movie also comments on 'Tinker..'
    just a thought do you think 'The Artist' would have worked with a star name?
    i don't think so.
    I saw it at my local Odeon and the experience reminded me to a tee Marks own @ booking and viewing in his excellent second book even down to the 15 yr olds taking the money at the popcorn stand!+it would have been so much more enjoyable if i knew there was a person in the projector room,sadly its all digital
    I also noted that they charge £3 extra per adult to see 3D cheek!,
    This is my first comment here and though don't always agree with Mark,enjoy him all the same


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