Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oscar Post-Mortem

The dust has settled and the score is Doug: 14, Oscar: 5  That's 74% - my best score in a long time and markedly better than last year's 61%.  It's also even with Entertainment Weekly's score.  Here's how it turned out.  My correct picks are bold.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique
Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker
Best Adapted Screenplay: Precious
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Costumes: The Young Victoria
Best Makeup: Star Trek
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Sound Effects Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
Best Score: Up
Best Song: "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart
Best Animated Feature: Up

The Sound categories could have gone either to Avatar or The Hurt Locker and I just picked wrong.  Also, I underestimated the effect of 3D technology in the Cinematography category.  As for the Screenplays, I just underestimated The Hurt Locker and Precious.  On the plus side, I correctly picked Best Picture, Director, and all the acting awards for the first time ever.  I've finally figured out how to choose a Best Song, and I had the Artistic awards under control.

In all, only nine movies won Oscars (not counting short films and documentaries): The Hurt Locker: 6; Avatar: 3; Precious, Crazy Heart, and Up: 2 each; The Blind Side, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, and The Young Victoria: 1 each.

I thought it was a great show and that the hosts did a fantastic job and it only ran over by about five minutes.  Not that there weren't problems. I'm not sure why a giant set piece made of lampshades kept appearing.  I could have done without the clips explaining why short films matter and what goes into sound mixing and they spent way too long recapping the Governor's Banquet.  Also, did we have to introduce all the Actor and Actress nominees one by one AND have co-workers eulogize them AND then list them again before handing over the trophy?  Way overkill.  Tom Hanks had the right idea when he presented Best Picture - we've had little features about each nominee throughout the night, just open the envelope and get on with it. 

But what everyone is talking about is the pop-locking street dancing to mostly percussion-less orchestral Best Score nominees.  The dancing was good and the music was nice to hear, but the two together were surreal and incongruous. It wasn't as egregious as the Debbie Allen-choreographed tap dance routine to music from Holocaust and war bovies back at the '98 awards, though. Also, what was with that loud woman who Kanye West-ed one of the Short Film winners?

The biggest surprise of the night: Fisher Stevens won an Oscar!  The ubiquitous '80's actor produced the Best Documentary Feature. You may remember him from Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2, Reversal of Fortune, or from his TV appearances on Medium, Lost, Numb3rs, and Ugly Betty.

I'll let other, more qualified bloggers dissect the fashions in detail, but my favorites were Meryl Streep in classy white, Penelope Cruz in deep red, and Sandra Bullock in a shiny gown that seemed to change colors, depending on where she was standing.  The only thing wrong there was her lipstick.  My least favorites were Sara Jessica Parker's shapeless shower curtain, Diane Krueger's fluffy panda dress, and JLo's gown, which actually wouldn't have been too bad if the had eliminated the huge ruffles running up her left side. As for the men, it's nice to see a return to classic bow ties after years of straight ties on the red carpet.

I thought the presenters did a great job - especially Tina Fey and Colin Ferrell with their "actors vs. writers" argument.  The same could not be said for Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrel's flat banter.  There weren't any amazing acceptance speeches this year.  At least not on the level of Halle Berry or Tom Hanks.  I think everyone expected a lot from Mo'Nique and she kept it short and subdued.  Jeff Bridges rambled a bit but it was really heartfelt and sincere, acknowledging his father as a chief influence on his life and career.  Christoph Waltz has received a lot of awards this year and in each acceptance speech he shows a great facility for spinning long metaphors.  This one was astronomy-themed.

Overall, it was a great night and I really enjoyed the whole Oscar season.  I'm not sure if anyone read any of my posts or if they just disappeared into the interwebs, but they were fun to write.  I'll go back to writing about music here, so if you have been reading, please stick around.  And, of course, I'll be discussing the 83rd Oscars in January 2011.  Thanks, all!

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