Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 82nd Oscars

The 82nd Oscar’s were held during my absence. As last year's ceremony was exceptional I took it upon my self to watch it again this year. I didn’t see the recording of the event until my return, so now I can share my thoughts.

Firstly, I thought Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin's hosting was pretty good - but not as good as Hugh Jackman's last year. Strangely they didn't do their own opening number, this was instead provided by Neil Patrick Harris, which while adequate, also fell short of Jackman's effort last year. Martin and Baldwin's hand offs and jibes against each other were funny but it seemed a lot more subtle and controlled than usual, something was lacking...

There were a couple of good presentation moments, Tina Fey reprising her "role" from last year, but now partnered with the equally amusing Robert Downey Jr. to read paragraphs from and present the Oscar for screenwriting. However even their performance was overshadowed by Ben Stiller's appearance which delivered whoops of laughter from the audience. Last year you'll recall his "Joaquin Phoenix" bit, but this year he presented himself in full make-up as a Na'vi. When the initial laughter had died down, he delivered a paragraph in the Na'vi language and was generally Ben Stiller shaming himself until he presented those responsible for the Make-Up effects on Star Trek with their well deserved award. Watch the full 4.5 min bit on Youtube.

As for the awards themselves; it was very nice to see Jeff Bridges to finally get an Oscar after 4 previous nominations [but was he a little drunk, stoned or both? See his speech about 8:16 into this from Youtube]. It was also nice to see Sandra Bullock get her first Oscar especially considering her fellow nominees included Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep.

I mentioned Christopher Waltz' stellar performance in my Inglorious Basterds review. While nominated for some other awards – only Waltz really deserved an Oscar for that movie and thankfully the Academy ultimately recognised that..

Micheal Giacchino, a popular video game music composer who turned to TV and later - the silver screen was up against some intense competition from both Hans Zimmer and James Horner this year but the Star Trek movie and Lost TV show composer earned his first Oscar [following a recent BAFTA win] for his enchanting score to the animated movie Up.

The big news of the evening was of course the battle between The Hurt Locker and Avatar. I gave both movies 5 stars but clearly the Academy felt that Kathryn Bigelow's numerous military-related mistakes which I pointed out to them in Hurt Locker were less than the grave error James Cameron made by not including a script with Avatar, and let’s be honest here: they’re right.

In the end, The Hurt Locker took 6 Oscars for it's Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Editing, Director and of course the most coveted Best Picture award. Avatar's 3 awards were mainly technical for Cinematography, Art Direction and Visual Effects which were all deserved as Avatar is indeed the greatest cinematic technology demo of all time.

It's still a shock to me however that the Academy choose to recognise Kathryn Bigalow, the first woman to win Best Director over Tarantino, Up's Reitman, "King" Cameron himself and also for only the second time in history, an African American - Lee Daniels. I was full sure that Cameron had it in the bag, but I'm thrilled that Bigalow won it for a brutal war-movie and not some "wishy-washy" tear-jerker, historical epic, true story or costume drama.

Overall I was shocked in a way by the trouncing that The Hurt Locker gave Avatar – don’t get me wrong - I agree with the awards and Hurt Locker was clearly deserving of all it got but I didn’t expect the Academy to actually deliver the respect to the movie it clearly deserved. It was refreshing to see people from so many movies actually worthy of Oscars than those normally nominated, namely: The Hurt Locker, Avatar, District 9, Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. Long may this trend of recognising "real" movies continue.

I think I've seen everything worthy of my own accolades from 2009 myself now so I'll soon deliver the 5th Whopper Awards and a special The Whoppers Of The Decade soon enough.


vaughan said...

Oh Gawd the Whoppers!! I just felt a shiver like someone walked over my grave

Lieutenant General Creedon said...

Just you wait until one of your own productions is in line for a Whopper... the Oscar's will seem so meaningless by comparison.

vaughan said...

yes Because unlike Cameron ,you can be assured I will have Bought the Judges