Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar (and) the Grouch

So the Academy Awards are done with for the year, and I'm actually not as disappointed as I was last year, or the year before that. There were some well-deserved awards given and some well-deserved snubs given. I'd like to take a moment and nitpick about some of the categories. I'll probably only talk about the "more important" ones (don't hate me for saying that, Jeff), because I just wanted to hit on the ones I actually had an opinion on - and I don't want this post to get too long.

Oh, and yes, this post WILL discuss winners, so if you don't know them yet and don't want to have things spoiled for you DON'T READ BELOW!!!

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)/Writing (Original)

Can something be considered "original" if it was based on articles of a journalist? I say this because The Hurt Locker is based on the accounts of a freelance writer who hung out with a bomb squad in Iraq for a while. Isn't that what the adapted category is for? I'm thinking this one should have gone to Up because it was, truly, an original story. And while I still haven't seen Precious, I think I'm still gonna say that District 9 should have gotten Best Adapted.


It was refreshing to see how nervous and flattered Kathryn Bigelow was to win. It shows there's still some innocence in her and she hasn't turned to the egotistical side yet *cough*QuentinTarantinoandJamesCameron*cough*. I thought it was very fitting that she gave tribute to the armed forces and the everyday heroes like firemen and Hazmat teams. Although, I will admit I was rooting for Jason Reitman.

Animated Feature Film

Where's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? I think it should have at LEAST been nominated. Coraline had some fun visuals, but it was pretty slow. I've only seen half of The Princess and the Frog because my children got bored with it and made it so we had to leave the movie theater. And no one even knows what The Secret of Kells is! I'm glad Up won, though. It's not every day that they make you cry at the BEGINNING of a movie and then make you laugh the rest of the time.

Best Supporting Actress

I didn't really care about this category - mostly because I hadn't seen any of the movies in this category. But I was rooting for Anna Kendrick. Darn. And I still stand by my opinion that people with apostrophes in their names shouldn't be winning Academy Awards.

Best Actress

Wow. They've now dangled the Oscar in front of Meryl Streep's eyes 16 times now (13 for Best Actress, three for Best Supporting Actress - she holds the record) and they've only given it to her twice. Ouch. What does she need to do to prove herself to the Academy? She hasn't won since 1982! They're probably just holding out so they can give her a Lifetime Achievement Award next year. But I was very happy to see Sandra Bullock win this one. She was so surprised that she actually went into shock for a moment and didn't move, and then she accidentally snubbed Meryl Streep on a hug and left Ms. Streep hanging. Plus, she is the FIRST actress to EVER win an Academy Award for Best Actress AND a Razzie for Worst Actress in the same year! Way to go, Sandra!

Best Supporting Actor

Poor Matt Damon. He learned the hard lesson that fake accents just don't cut it with the Academy - no matter how convincing you are. He should have played that role as Jason Bourne and he would have had a better shot at winning the award (and the rugby game in the movie). I would have liked to see this one go to Stanley Tucci (he wins the creepy award, definitely), but I'll allow Christoph Waltz his moment in the spotlight without too much complaint - don't expect too much more from this guy - at least not here in the States. Based on his IMDb list, he seems to specialize in German-related fare.

Best Actor

I was wrong on this one. I was convinced that the Academy was going to award Morgan Freeman for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela. But I am very happy to see Jeff Bridges win this one. He's a favorite actor of mine (Tron forever! Wooooooooo!) and, based on what I've seen, he plays a complex and vulnerable character. I'm betting he cries at one point in the film, too, which is a MUST for ANY Academy Award nominee. And while we're speaking of musts, I noticed the list this year did have it's token druggie/alcoholic nomination and gay nomination, but it was lacking the obligatory mentally-handicapped nomination and the Sean Penn nomination.

Best Picture

I will admit that, on average, I will have seen only two (2) out of the five (5) Best Picture nominees going in to the Academy Awards, so imagine how proud I felt when I had seen four (4) of the Best Picture candidates this year! Too bad they upped the number (#) of nominees to ten. Believe it or not, 2 (two) out of five (5) and 4 (four) out of ten (10) are the exact same percentage (%) of films! Well-played, Mr. Academy. . .well played.

But I digress. The winner was The Hurt Locker (called it!). I have actually seen this one and I was impressed. It has a very realistic look and feel, but the film felt like it dragged on a bit too long and it was fairly slow and repetitive. I'm happy that it won, even if I liked some other movies more. District 9, for example, had more of an emotional impact on me, as did Up. But I understand why this movie won - it's well done.

And I was elated that the Academy wasn't blinded by the fancy, colorful, 3-D special effects of that overpriced, overbudgeted movie Precious! I'm kidding, of course. Avatar was eye-candy, yes, but I think we all know, deep down inside, that it isn't best picture material - even if the special effects were fun.

This is also one of the few years where I actually WANTED to see most of the nominees. I still have yet to see The Blind Side, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man and Up in the Air, which are all queued up and ready to go.

Final Thoughts:

District 9 should have gotten something - anything from the Academy! It was a well-made movie!

I still don't know what the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing is. Neither does the Academy, apparently, and that's why they gave both to The Hurt Locker.

Avatar got the awards it deserved: Art Direction, Cinematography, and Visual Effects.

Congratulations, The Young Victoria, for winning the award for Costume Design and for being the obscure "mainstream" film of the night. Who are you, again?

I dislike Barbara Streisand for a number of reasons, but did anyone notice else how after Sandra Bullock gave a heartfelt speech about how race, religion or sex didn't matter, Barbara walked out right after her and made a point of saying that the Best Director award could, potentially, be given, for the first time, to a woman (hold for applause) or an African-American (hold for applause)? I guess it still matters to Barb, Sandra.

Overall, I was pleased with this year's outcome. They seemed to not avoid movies that were popular to the mainstream public this time. Maybe, just maybe, the Academy isn't completely out of touch with society quite yet.


Katya said...

I've heard that costume designers actually hate the costume design Oscar, because it always goes to a period piece and snubs the costume designers who do less flashy contemporary work. I think they even have their own awards to make up for that oversight, although I can't remember the name of the award, offhand.

Lee said...

1) Did Avatar actually have cinematography? I haven't seen the movie, but it doesn't seem to "filmed".

2) I didn't realize it until today, but Streisand looks almost exactly like the Beast on that Beauty and the Beast TV series that starred Linda Hamilton as the Beauty.

Ponczoch Family said...

Wow... I've only seen 2- The Young Victoria (am I the only one who has seen it?)and Up.

The Former 786 said...

Katya, I believe you. That does seem to be the case most of the time. I never thought about that. Now I have another reason to dislike the Academy.

Lee, it's very hard to film things when you're blinded by green screen all around and know that one day you'll be replaced by a computer program - that's why I give them credit. And she DOES look like the beast! I didn't see that before now.

And Kim yes, yes you are. :)

Bryon said...

Christoph Waltz was my favorite person to watch this year. His story line with Melanie Laurent (?) in the movie was the best. It could have been its own movie. There is a scene in a restaurant with the two that is one of the most tense I have ever seen and there is nothing but talking and eating. Sorry Brad Mr. Waltz stole the show.

The Former 786 said...

I'll have to keep an eye out for Mr. Waltz, then. Thanks for the heads-up, Bryon.

The Former 786 said...

Bryon, you were right. His performance was AMAZING and fully deserved that award! I still wonder if he will become a star in America, though.