Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oscar Wrap-Up Story That Didn't Make It

So, I'm in Texas, trying to occupy my time with anything at all and it occurs to me that hell, I can write an Oscar wrap-up for work since I did the bulk of the pre-Oscar stuff. Yeah, I'm off the clock, but it beats doing nothing.

For those of you who read my blog and have become accustomed to a certain style, you'll forgive the occasional cheesy line.

The 82nd Academy Awards started with big laughs and ended with history being made.



"The Hurt Locker,"Kathryn Bigelow’s tense drama about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq took home Oscar’s top prize Sunday night. The film led the Oscar count with six wins including a historic first.

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to earn an Academy Award for Best Director. The honor of first female ever to win a Best Director statue hould have been Jane Campion or Kimberly Pierce for their fierce efforts in the '90's, but that's neither here nor there.

"Avatar" came away from the Kodak theatre with its share of Oscar gold, though. James wasn't king of the world, but he was king of the post-house as his eye-candy "epic" snatched up trophies for Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects.

The acting categories turned out the way most film critics (including this one) foretold. (Because critics are like prophets.) Mo’Nique won an Oscar for playing the creepiest mother ever in "Precious."


Christoph Waltz won his well-deserved uber-Bingo Oscar for playing Inglourious Basterds’ cheerfully sadistic Jew Hunter.

As predicted, Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges won the popularity contests, otherwise known as the Best Actress and Best Actor Oscars for The Blind Side and Crazy Heart, respectively.

I'm not begrudging Bridges his statue, even though, out of the five nominees at least, Colin Firth should have taken it home. Bridges has done so much overlooked work that he deserves a lifetime achievement award. Most notably for "The Fisher King" and "The Big Lebowski."

There were a couple of surprises. Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon was considered by many a lock to win an Oscar for Foreign Language Film. Haneke has long been admired for in the film community, both here and in Europe. It looked like his haunting tale of ritualistic punishment and a series of mysterious tragedies in a small town in pre-WWI Germany was one of the night’s foregone conclusions.

The honour, however, went to Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes from Argentina. Another surprise was seeing Quentin Tarantino going home empty-handed. Most were expecting him to take home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. One disappointment was that Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, absolutely scalding condemnation of the way entities ‘help’ refugees, went home empty handed.It’s one of the best films that was political criticism disguised as sci-fi since Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still. But since it’s not your typical Oscar film, the fact that it was nominated at all is something to be grateful for.

Also going home without a single prize was Lone Scherfig’s simple and elegant "An Education." And that was a shame because "An Education," simple as it was, was one of the most honest and moving films of the year.
My heart was broken at how this young girl was taken in by this sleazy Cassonova, but Sarsgaard is so damn charming, we can see why young Jenny fell for him.

For my money, Mulligan should have taken the statue home and Sarsgaard should have at least been nominated, but I rarely get what I wish for when it comes to the Academy Awards.
The broadcast had other highlights other than the awards themselves. In a moving tribute to ‘80s iconic filmmaker John Hughes, actors from his film came up on state to share stories about how he helped shape their careers and lives. It was a surprisingly sad and funny eulogy to one of the many stars lost last year. Now, it’s time to move onward. For most, this means looking forward to the long line of blockbusters Hollywood is getting ready to parade out for us.

But for this film snob, since flying out to Southern France and spending eleven days in cinematic heaven isn’t really practical, I’m going to be spending the next few months reading about international and independent films making their premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. There is so much coming soon to theatres near us. Let’s get going! Allons-y!

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