(3-8-10) Greetings again from the darkness. Yes, I watched every moment of last night’s Academy Awards presentation. Mostly because that’s what I do every year at this time. However, this year, there was a bit of anticipation as we had been led to believe that this year’s show would be something unique – a break from the past!
So imagine my surprise when the show opened with a musical number from Neil Patrick Harris! Not taking anything away from Mr. Harris, but this felt oddly familiar to the opening from past years. Then the co-hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, came out for their duo-logue. Together, they “worked the room” poking and prodding the key nominees. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t. The two best jokes came from Mr. Martin. He linked Precious to his first movie The Jerk, stating they both got their start as poor black kids. Even better was his exchange with Christoph Waltz who played a Jew hunter in Inglorious Basterds. Martin congratulated Waltz for the mother lode as he encouraged him to look around the room. Pretty funny.
There were some terrific moments and some very odd ones … plus a couple of just painful ones. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director, and she received it from Barbra Streisand, who always felt she had been slighted for direction of Yentl. But did they really need to accompany Ms. Bigelow with Helen Reddy‘s “I am Woman”? The John Hughes tribute was very well done, but it begged the question of why now and why him? So many Hollywood legends have passed away and they have traditionally been recognized with only a photo or two during a montage on the show. Personally, I like this idea very much, but question why Mr. Hughes is worthy, while so many others have not been. The standing ovation for Lauren Bacall and Roger Corman seemed to underscore my point. Hollywood types long to acknowledge the greats among themselves. Too bad they weren’t allowed onstage.
The Horror Film clips were most welcome, but again it seemed odd, as the Academy historically ignores this genre (Silence of the Lambs, The Exorcist are two exceptions). Speaking of horror, how about the “Kanye West-type” moment during the Documentary Short presentation? The producer jumped on stage and interrupted the director’s thank you speech with a wild, raucous, rambling mess of words. My guess is there is more to this story.
I did find it funny that during Mo’Nique‘s acceptance speech, a quick cut to Samuel L. Jackson in the audience perfectly captured his rolling of the eyes. Much less funny was the less-than-entertaining interpretative dance number for the Original Score nominations. Not sure I am smart enough to connect the 1980’s robot dance moves with the musical score of Up. Maybe I was alone in this disconnect? Can’t let it go without making sure everyone knows Sandra Bullock won her first Oscar the day after she was awarded the Razzie for her work in All About Steve. She becomes the first to win Best and Worst in the same year.
My Oscar predictions were very solid (especially in the key categories), but not perfect.
Correct predictions: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Animated Film, Score and Song.
Incorrect predictions: Foreign Language Film (this was a shocker), Cinematographer, Costume, both Shorts
So, another year in the books. Don’t worry, next year’s show will be much different from this years. If you believe that, you will also believe that James Cameron is really upset for not winning one of the top two awards for Avatar. My guess is that he is quite satisfied in knowing that it is approaching $3 BILLION in worldwide box office. Wow!