Well, another Oscar show come and gone. Who won their Oscar pool? I didn’t, either, despite having actually seen all five of the Best Picture nominees this year. And that was no small task, I’ll tell you. I had to sit through “There Will Be Blood”. And I didn’t see much of anything else so my picks were merely educated guesses. Sure, I could go and search the internet for every one of those Shorts and Documentaries, and find everyone’s thoughts on all the technical awards, but really, who has that kind of time? I have that pesky job five days a week.
As far as I’m concerned, John Stewart and Steve Martin I think have been my favorite hosts of the Oscars. They’re funny, they don’t take it all too seriously, and they seem like they’re enjoying themselves. I’m all for John Stewart doing it again.
I’m going to skip a bunch of awards, not out of disrespect, mind you, but out of necessity. I only get so many words, you know. Look, I just wasted some.
OK, ever since “Toy Story”, Pixar has almost consistently taken Best Animated Feature, and rightly so. “Ratatouille” was good fun, not my favorite Pixar movie, but they’re still a nigh unstoppable juggernaut of animation so unless they make a real stinker, you can always bet on them. I didn’t see “Persepolis”, and hell, “Surf’s Up” had Jeff Bridges doing his best CG penguin version of “The Dude”, so maybe I’ll Netflix that one for kicks. Let’s just hope it’s not a kick I give myself after watching it.
I dig all the Art Department stuff. Hey, it’s the artist in me. “Sweeny Todd” got Best Art Direction. No really, a Tim Burton movie? Who’d a guessed? Best Costume Design: Gee, I wonder if it will go to the Elizabethan historical film about…Queen Elizabeth? Well, duh. The Academy eats that stuff up.
Original Song: I usually don’t care. But if Celine Dion ever wins again, I can’t imagine what unspeakable horrors I’ll commit. As far as Original Score, I actually picked “Atonement” to win because I felt it actually complimented the emotional quality of the material. I was right. Go figure.
Best Makeup: Umm…anything but “Norbit”? Done.
“The Golden Compass” winning Best Visual Effects? I thought it would go to “Transformers”. Hey, for my money, giant robots fighting on highways and trashing a city is good payback for my entertainment dollar. But I guess the Academy went for the big, cool polar bears that defend young children, while simultaneously putting them in danger by fighting to the death with them on their backs. No, I didn’t see it, but maybe the Academy went for what they felt was more original.
Best Foreign Language Film…I was totally uninformed this year. Color me clueless.
This brings us to Screenplays. Original: C’mon, who didn’t see “Juno” winning this? Diablo Cody is an ex-stripper that wrote a blog that got noticed and then she writes a good script? The Academy loves that kind of story. Well, I don’t know about the stripper part, but plucking a success out of nowhere is good press. You know, the Hollywood Dream, blah, blah, blah. Now we wait to see if she’s the real deal or a one hit wonder.
Adapted Screenplay: I was happy “No Country For Old Men” won. I loved this movie. I have a review of it here somewhere in the archives.
Speaking of “No Country”, Javier Bardem won for Best Supporting Actor. I thought he was great, but out of the two supporting performances I saw, I thought Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” was more varied and expressive in range. But then look at those choices: a schizophrenic man blowing the whistle on a huge law firm, or a socio-pathic killer looking for his drug money. It’s Thing One and Thing Two of crazy people.
Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton was really affecting in “Michael Clayton”. She totally deserved it.
Best Actress: Again I only saw JUNO, and Ellen Page is young so I knew she wouldn’t win. Netflix will enlighten me on the others.
Best Actor: I managed to see all these performances except Tommy Lee Jones from “In The Valley of Elah”. I almost forgot about that movie. I suspect I’m not the only one. One of the few things about “There Will Be Blood” that I didn’t mind was the performances. However, winner Daniel Day-Lewis still managed to create a character that teetered on the edge of caricature. It’s as if he was lifted right out of a political cartoon of the 1920’s. It was too much exaggerated; like he did in “Gangs of New York”, another overrated film.
Best Directing: Coen Brothers for “No Country”. Damn right. “Juno” got Jason Reitman really noticed so now people will be watching him more. I don’t even recognize the director of “Michael Clayton”, but now maybe we all will. Didn’t see “Diving Bell And The Butterfly”; and as long as Paul Thomas Anderson got overlooked, I’m fine.
And finally, Best Picture: “No Country For Old Men”. Excellent.
My summary: “There Will Be Blood” got eight faith-challenging nominations, yet only came away with two awards. So the Academy didn’t lose much respect from me this year. Well done, Academy. For once, dangling that carrot, then taking it away, like so many of your empty promises, worked out for the best.