23 February 2009

Gathering My Oscar-Related Thoughts

While my brain is still gooey and fresh:

• I predicted 17-of-21, or 81%, and didn't try to predict Short Animated Film, Short Documentary, or Short Live-Action Film. I missed Sound Editing, Foreign Language Film, Costume Design, and (ironically enough) Best Actor. More on that in a moment. The last two years I didn't predict, so I can't tell you if this prediction number is indicative of my prognosticating skills or how predictable this was.

• If you follow my Oscar ballot, my personal choices and the actual results lined up 7 of 22 times, or 32%.

Slumdog sweeps. Not sure what else to say except that I'm not surprised. This is a film that many, many people love. Of the five, it wasn't my first or second choice, but it was my third — for whatever that's worth. I must confess it's unique being on this side of the fence two years running. The critical and popular factions were firmly behind a No County for Old Men victory last year, and many were behind a Slumdog Millionaire victory this year. I can only imagine what it must feel like to have Slumdog Millionaire on the top of your best-of list and have Oscar validate that verdict. (Wait, maybe I do know what that's like; Barack Obama is now our president.) It goes with the territory that sometimes as a critic you'll be on the outside. Doesn't make me think any differently; There Will Be Blood and Milk both should have prevailed, but it's interesting to watch the confluence of thought.

Wall•E washes out. Only one Oscar. Booooo. Not just only one technical Oscar, but one Oscar overall.

• Sean Penn won instead of Mickey Rourke. This is the only category for me where my Will Win/Should Win were different and it went the way of my Should instead of the Will. Praise be to Mickey Rourke who gave a great performance and would have been an entirely rewarding Best Actor winner. But Milk is what it is thanks to Sean Penn's great performance, and whereas his win over Bill Murray five years ago was a little unnecessary, his win last night was entirely appropriate.

• Kate Winslet has her Oscar. Now, can we please stop acting like no one's been feeding her for years?

• If I hadn't read any musings at InContention about a Departures win in the Foreign Language Film category, I'd have been blown off my ass with surprise. Well, I still was in a way. It's hard to believe a film I'd never heard of before this year's nominations beat Waltz with Bashir and The Class. I suppose that'll have to go on my to-see list now.

• Hugh Jackman was an alright host. I wasn't really wowed by his performance, and he seemed like a choice made to lighten everything up with singing and dancing. Then again, I'm guy who has watched in the past when Jon Stewart is hosting partly for Jon Stewart being a cynical s.o.b.

• The lovely Anne Hathaway starring in more movies, right now. Please. Thanks.

• My campaign to have Tina Fey host next year's Oscars begins today. She and Steve Martin were brilliant presenters early in the show. As my wife said, they should have been hosting.

• I couldn't tell if it went fast because of the show's structure (with similar categories grouped together, and presenters staying on stage to give out more than one award) or because I was live-blogging. People who didn't live-blog: was this year fast?

• The show as a whole — not bad. I had fun watching, I had fun making fun, a few very deserving nominees won (Penn, Ledger, Benjamin Button for visual effects, Wall•E for animated film). I'm happy they highlighted comedies, romance, and action films in special montages — categories so often neglected, ghettoized, and ignored. The whole journey of a film ... ehhh... it was okay. Trying to structure the show to follow the path of film production was a good idea (thanks, Bill Condon), but it was thrown off occasionally by categories that seemed very much out of order. Still, the show went fast, so I guess I shouldn't be nitpicking.

• Overall, good show. Your thoughts?


The Mad Hatter 23 February, 2009  

Funny thing - I've noticed over the past two or three Oscars that the show flies through the first 2/3. But that last hour seems to take so. darned. long.

Last night's show was a good'n, but once again, that last stretch felt like it took an hour to hand out three awards.

Tony Dayoub 23 February, 2009  

"My campaign to have Tina Fey host next year's Oscars begins today."

Great minds think alike. I will join your campaign.

The show was a lot livelier this year. But that was undercut by the sheer predictability of the award winners.

And Jackman? Not bad for Oscar, but this might stunt his career. He lost some of that Wolverine mystique last night even before the show started when he LAP-DANCED for Barbara Walters.

And Mickey Rourke was concerned that HE whored himself out during his low period?

the editor., 23 February, 2009  

Hi! T.S.,
I thought it was great!..because I didn't have to watch it on television. It was great!...because I followed your live-blog of the Oscars, (along with you, and your wife) for the first-time!...(I must admit the only time I stepped away from your "live-blog" was during the "Memoriam" because I wanted to see the actors and actresses that made the "transition" from this earth to the next!...I must also admit the "clapping" for well known celebrities over lesser known celebrities, is kind of strange/rude.

dcd ;-D

Mikey Filmmaker 23 February, 2009  

Agree with you on both Milk and Blood. Both would have been my picks for Best Picture the last two years.

T.S. 23 February, 2009  

@Hatter - Yeah, I think I know what you mean. For me, it was the Best Song medley that contributed to weighing down the final 1/3. I figured in the last half-hour they'd keep going at the pace they had been going during the first few hours, and even mused that they might finish on time this year. (They didn't; it was like 30 minutes over.)

@Tony - Excellent! Thanks for joining the Fey-For-Host campaign. She was/is so great. Maybe Anne Hathaway will win next year and my heart will just melt into a puddle.

I think you're absolutely right, too: the show had to be lively, otherwise it would have been boring as hell. Everyone I know scored over 80% in their predictions.

Agreed on Jackman as well.

@dcd - Thanks for reading along, I appreciate it. I agree with you, too... isn't the clapping strange? I wish the producers had just turned down the volume on all the clapping, and maybe they did but Queen Latifah's microphone was picking it up. Odd, though.

@Mikey - Yeah, it still hurts to tune in and watch your favorite (which you know going in as no chance) lose. I was thinking today, what was the last Best Picture that won that I would have ranked as the #1 film of the year on a top-ten list? The soonest I could imagine was Schindler's List. So, you know, only 15 Oscar ceremonies ago.

Pat 23 February, 2009  

I thought it was a much better than average show this year. Tina Fey and Steve Martin are the gods of comedy as far as I'm concerned and should be on the show every year. Hugh Jackman was delightful. Anne Hathaway and Sean Penn's Best Actor win were the nicest surprises of the evening.

Farzan 25 February, 2009  

It was a pretty good show. Im also glad Penn won for Milk. I do admit that The Wrestler was great and I also loved that movie, but I think Penn nailed his character in Milk. The movie wouldnt be what it is today without him.

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