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The Oscars may have all kinds of weight inside the movie industry, but for the man on the street they are increasingly irrelevant, annoying and confusing. The nominated movies include choices that are mediocre, the acting prizes are based on the same principles as high school popularity and the attempt to spin Hollywood dross into High Art gold falls flat every year. Ptui!
hate about Oscars
4. Movie stars tend to lose their demi godlike veneer on live TV. In fact, given a simple teleprompter to read, many come off as exactly what they are high school drop outs who happen to look good on camera. The Germans call it schadenfreude, the "shameful joy" one experiences from watching someone screw up (preferably someone high up the totem pole). But in a world of upside down priorities, it's hard not to come away from the Converse White High Tops Size 5
Oscars feeling better educated than most of the nominees and presenters.
As usual, Liz gets the sour side of this week's debate something I could write with my eyes closed, so turned off have I been over the years by Hollywood's tendency toward smug self congratulations.
5. It's just bad television. Over and above the flaws in the award system, there's the show itself, which gets worse every year. The Academy Awards are Converse Gladiator Sandals
1. For a few months, people actually start to think about and argue about movies that have scripts, reality based characters and acting that doesn't involve yelling "Get down!" followed by weapons fire. These are movies that may actually challenge and even infuriate but they aren't about superheroes, invading aliens or toys turned into franchises. With the boost of awards attention, some of those movies might even enjoy a half decent box office, encouraging more movies for grown ups. In theory, anyway.
3. All the pre show red carpet nausea inducing gushing and drivel from entertainment TV people and so called fashion commentators. All that squealing and chirping is like being trapped in the livestock pen at the county fair. The hard hitting questions run to this sort of thing: "Who are you wearing?"
Worse yet, people will get up and thank God and their agent in the same breath, with no sense of irony. It is to weep.
2. Acting as a competition. It's cruel to have the camera in the face of the nominees just before the winner of any acting award is announced. What the heck are you supposed to do with your face when you're waiting to hear if you've won the prize that might keep you employed for another year or two? This is an industry founded on insecurity. Even Meryl Streep probably wonders what expression to maintain when the names are being read out.
But there are reasons for the durability of the annual trophy toss thrown by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences. Celebrity is number one, of course. However, underneath all that movie star saccharine, there's almost accidental good karma.
Here are the five detestable things about the Academy Awards:
Would it possible to reward yourselves in under 187 hours? The Oscar rules limit speech times every year and rudely play music across those who take too long to say thanks, and yet it's just like your mother always said more haste, less speed. All that running around, looking busy and important, and it just adds up Converse Dark Red to another lengthy and boring blab fest. What to cut out to shorten the running time? Cut the crap. There's a start.
Hosting the Oscars means standing in a room full of fully inflated gasbags with a sharp pin in your hand and stabbing yourself in the eye. The ring master of this unfortunate circus tends to make jokes so milquetoast, so watered down, so conservative, so safe, that all you can do is roll your eyes. Of course, it can't be easy to work a room where so many in the audience have their heads firmly inserted up their own backsides, but still.
(Or, better yet, "Oscar De La Hoya." Never mind.)
2. God knows, there's nothing like an Oscar or two bestowed upon a novel based film to inspire people to gulp read! This year, Yann Martel can hopefully expect an uptick in sales for Life of Pi, of the sort previously experienced by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men), Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs).
stuck in an auditorium/theatre and structured just like the worst high school graduation ceremony you've ever attended.
3. It's not just a night for big fish. One of my all time favourite moments involved Canadian artist/filmmaker Chris Landreth winning his Best Animated Short Oscar for his film Ryan. In a shabby Toronto tavern, a bunch of us were dressed in black tie and cheered as he gave us a shout out from the red carpet. An ordinary guy living on a modest salary got his moment to hobnob with celebs, courtesy of a film that was a combined effort of friends and students at Seneca College. There was just something pure and right about it.
In a perfect world, the correct response to that is, "None of your f g business." Those with a sales commitment to their designer could try something along the lines of, "It's Oscar de la Renta. Now bite me."
Believe it or not, most people who work on films are dedicated professionals and not self possessed a holes. Only the hardest heart could fail to appreciate the look on the faces of sound editors, set designers, and make up artists as they finally get their close up. For some of the FX guys, it's the first time they've been outdoors in months.
4. The overall humourlessness.
1. The bloated running time.
So much to hate, so little time.
the Oscars, after all these years and countless, endless thank you speeches.
You know who you are, ladies and gents. Put a sock in it.
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