Was anybody actually surprised?
Honestly: while there was a big debate on whether the Best Picture Oscar would go to Gravity, 12 Years a Slave or American Hustle, was anyone aside from Peter Travers honestly surprised that 12 Years walked away with it? I saw 12 Years half a year before the big awards night, and as soon as the movie ended, I knew it would win. And I was pissed.
I knew it was going to win and all of the movies I really wanted to see hadn’t even come out yet: Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, etc. I hadn’t seen Gravity at the time so I had my doubts, but I knew months from then it would win Best Picture and some Acting category(s) (which Lupito absolutely deserved.) The movie was good, don’t get me wrong, but I think the win was unjust and for the wrong reasons, which calls back prior years.
I didn’t mind that Argo won last year. There were others I would have been ok with too but Argo was fine with me. But aside from that, the past few years Best Picture winner have all gone to the wrong films. The King Speech over The Social Network? The Artist over Hugo? I don’t like Crash but I don’t think Brokeback Mountain was near worthy either. Regardless, 12 Years is a very emotional movie that is very hard to watch and tells a remarkable true story and conveys its message: slavery was bad.
…It was bad.
I hate saying this but that’s the problem. OF COURSE it was. Haven’t we seen this before? Hasn’t this been covered by countless movies? Rush Limbaugh recently drew criticism for his statements saying “the film was guarenteed to win because it used the magic word: ‘slave.'” While I don’t wish to put it so black-and-white as he did, I don’t think he was entirely wrong.
I don’t feel that I ask too much when I say Best Picture winning movies should be something to look back on; an achievement in cinema. An accomplishment to be remembered for years to come. I don’t know what deserved Best Picture necessarily, but if you want to talk about achievements and accomplishments in film, look at Gravity, employing techniques and state-of-the-art technology to show something we have never seen in movies before. The academy has never been too fond of sci-fi/fantasy-ish topics (space? close enough) with Best Picture. In this article, a proclamation is made that if Gravity won over 12 Years, it would be for the wrong reasons and it would be about giving “old white people (the voters) what they want” over what is right. I couldn’t disagree more. Years from now, we will look back on The Social Network, on Gravity for what they said/did/etc. 12 Years will fade away in due time now that the buzz is over until the next one comes along.
But on a lighter note, congrats again to Lupita. Well deserved win. Production design would have been just as well.