Although just about everything has changed about the film business in the past couple of decades – the rise of CGI and 3D technology, the precipitous decline in the influence of marquee stars, the curious appeal of Adam Sandler – the Academy Awards continue to grind on as though nothing has changed. Every year there are the same stories written about how this year’s Oscars will either skew younger so that they can appeal to a less geriatric sensibility or how the ceremonies are going to recall the industry’s glory days of yore.
This year managed to be neither: a safe host thrown in at the (somewhat) last minute and a welcome shrugging-off of many of the trips down nostalgia lane that have cluttered up so many of these things. Certainly, there was bloviation laid on thick and pompous – Morgan Freeman’s sonorous introduction referencing “this magnificent event” didn’t bode well – but at least the ceremonies didn’t bother (except for the odd iPad reference) trying to be relevant as a piece of television. Which it never has been. The curious part is really that so many of us watch the thing.