i did not watch the oscars

This will be somewhat disorganized.

First of all, Alexis, over at Bunny Ears & Bat Wings has put up two very interesting posts:

  1. "Killing my internal perfectionist," which is about that but also a whole lot more.
  2. "Takin’ back the unicorn," because, yes, if there were really unicorns, they would not be all cute and cuddly.


So, yes, I did not watch the Oscars. Which is not a big statement – and certainly not a comment on the Oscars as a whole – but most of the films I was rooting for didn't get nominated or were sure not to win. I'm glad that Hathaway and Tarantino won.

I saw Les Miserables again a few days ago, and my feelings about it were pretty much the same (I might even see it again). I did appreciate Hugh Jackman even more this time around, and I do wonder if the song "Suddenly" was added just so that it could get a "Best Original Song" nomination. There's no other reason for is to be there (Jackman does fine singing it, but it adds nothing to the story). As I was watching it, I was imagining Alice in Resident Evil Retribution singing it to her newly-acquired daughter, Becky, and that was kind of amusing ("Trusting me the way you do, I’m so afraid of failing you. Just a child who cannot know, that danger follows where I go. There are shadows everywhere, and memories I cannot share"). But still, the movie would have been better without it.

Before the Oscars, I discovered the Slate Spoiler Special podcasts. They're designed to be listened to after you've seen the film, and I've listened to a few of them. All for movies that I've actually seen, of course (well, except for one...).

The one about Les Miserables posed an interesting idea, that Jean Valjean is a superhero. He has superhuman strength (the strength of four men, according to Victor Hugo), he has a secret identity, he helps others even when it puts his own life at risk, and he has an archenemy. His ultimate victory over his adversary comes about not because of his strength but because he is right (I love Jackman's delivery of the line, "You are wrong, and you always have been wrong").

The part about his strength made me think of Pippi Longstocking. Steig Larsson said that Lisbeth Salander was based on Pippi Longstocking, but I had forgotten (until Wikipedia reminded me) that Pippi was extraordinarily strong. Now that I'm reminded, I do recall the part about her carrying her horse around when he got old. So, I wonder is she was an influence on Vicki, who is also very strong. Maybe, though I think Vicki is more based on Popeye, as I've said before.

It occurred to me that when writers describe characters, they often describe them pretty much entirely from the neck up. I'm reading one book where the protagonist's hair (in all of its aspects), eyes, complexion etc. are described (rather awkwardly) in the first couple of paragraphs, but the rest of her is never described at all. Is she short or tall, thin or muscular, strong or weak, slow or fast? We have no idea.

I don't often think about eye color, for example, probably because I seldom notice it in life (though I can't resist commenting that if you do watch Resident Evil Retribution, keep track of Alice's eye color...). But I think things like body size and type have a much stronger effect on how your personality develops, because they can have a big effect on how you're treated growing up.

I imagine it was a factor in how Jan Sleet's personality developed that she was abnormally tall and abnormally skinny, and that her strength and coordination were (to put it diplomatically) unexceptional. It certainly had more of an effect than her hair (brown, rather limp, shoulder-length) and her eye color (no idea).

Well, I did say this would be disorganized. Coming Friday: another Jan Sleet mystery story. Or maybe two...

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3 Responses to i did not watch the oscars

  1. Maggie says:

    This post really got me thinking.

    I am one of those writers who tend to focus a little too much on eyes, probably because I tend to pay a lot of attention to eye color and eye movements in real life.

    I never thought too much about body type/physical ability and you’re right – it really does influence how you’re treated growing up. I’m so skinny I’ve been accused several times of having an eating disorder and people are amazed when I pick up heavy things because they think I’m weak/frail. I wasn’t bullied per se, but if I was a bigger person, I think there would probably be another set of comments I would hear all the time… and it does affect the way you perceive yourself and how others treat you.

    It’s cool to think about how all that would affect a character. Nice post!

  2. Thanks.

    I’ve been thinking about why I’m so aware of this, and I think I’ve figured it out. I think it’s because I’m so influenced by movies. I study movies way more than books in terms of storytelling, and of course in movies you always know how big people are and how they move and so on. I miss it when I turn my attention to reading, since it’s information I’m used to knowing.

  3. Alexis says:

    Wow, thanks for the shout-out, Anthony!

    I don’t notice eye color either. In fact, I think I was already married to my husband before I really learned what color his eyes are, and to this day, we still argue about it. (They are decidedly blue, but he claims they are green.)

    I also did not watch the Oscars. But I rarely do. Not because I am disinterested, but because I don’t generally watch anything on TV.

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