Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Derek's Thoughts on The 81st Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are my Superbowl!!! I've been watching the Oscars religiously since 1995 when Forrest Gump won for best picture of 1994. I HAD to watch it because a movie I saw in the theater(Forrest Gump) was up for best picture. I felt like I was in the know, in the "in crowd" because I had seen it in the Theater and people thought it was one of the best. Before then i would only watch them casually when my parents had them on. I remember parts of watching the Schindler's List and Silence of the Lambs years and remember vividly the Dances with Wolves year. Anyway, I've been watching for a huge chunk of my life and have a set way of how the Oscars should look. I’m the type of guy who has to ease his way slowly into change. What does that mean? Well, when the show started, right off the bat I didn’t like how dark the place looked. I’m use to a red and gold Oscar night not a dark, congested, black and blue Oscar night. Speaking of congested, that was another thing that bothered me with the party, and still does. I understand that they were going for that old nightclub feel that the show use to have back in the day. But packing in all the nominees up front with no view of the people behind them made it look like the stars weren’t out. Who Knows maybe Jack wasn't there. I know it sounds ludicrous to say but I didn’t feel the star power I use to feel. Usually when they cut to the crowd you see rows and rows of famous people. I didn’t get that from this years Oscars.

Hugh Jackman. The man ruled his opening number. Being able to poke fun at our falling economy with sets “built in his garage” out of cardboard to replace the usual opening montage was absolutely brilliant. Using a triple threat who can act sing and dance to carry the night comfortably was a great decision on the producers part. I have to say Hugh Jackman did a fantastic job. So did Will Smith for that matter. The guy was up there presenting long enough to be considered co-host. I’m thinking that if they don’t ask Wolverine back, get The Fresh Prince!

I know this is nitpicking but, I didn’t like the way they did the In Memoriam. In fact, I hated it! It gave me a headache. No Joke. I’m trying to honor and reflect on all these great people involved in film and I’m getting a headache. I found moving the camera back and forth between multiple screens extremely off putting.

Now lets get to the change in the way awards were presented to actors. Even as a man who takes some time getting use to change, when I first saw five former winners walk out I had a great rush of historical nostalgia course through my body. I was extremely impressed with this new way of handing out Oscars. Then they started to give their little personalized speeches to each nominee. That’s when I became bored out of my mind. We're use to seeing short clips of the actors performance. I thought each actor icon was going to present a clip of the nominees work. Not the case. However, after the best supporting actress category this process including the speeches grew on me and I now hope this is something they continue to do in the future. It was the perfect way of inducting the winners into an honor that so few have ever or will ever get.

My thoughts on some of the Winners-

Best Supporting Actress Winner: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Personally I didn’t like Vicky Cristina Barcelona very much. However, I have to say that Cruz was pretty good in it. I would have voted for Amy Adams, but only because I want to marry her. In the end I think Marisa Tomei might have deserved it most. I’ve been really back and forth between everyone in this category. A lot of great supporting actress performances here.

Best Supporting Actor Winner: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Obvious. I totally agree with this. I wouldn’t have voted for anyone else.

Best Actress Winner: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Personally I feel like they were paying Kate her dues rather than picking the best actress. I love Kate don’t get me wrong. She made a pretty standard film extremely watchable. If she deserved it for anything this year it was Revolutionary Road. I would have voted for Meryl Streep for Doubt.

Best Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk”
Tough call right? Everyone nominated was completely deserving of their nomination except for Brad Pitt. He walked through his roll. I would replace him with either Josh Brolin for W or Michael Sheen for Frost/Nixon. I was definitely pulling for Mickey Rourke for sure. But as I said, with so many great nominees this year, I can’t say I’m upset with Penn’s win. Plus he included Rourke in his speech, so that’s pretty awesome.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Frost/Nixon was my favorite nominee, but I think Slumdog Millionaire deserves the award and I totally would have voted for it too. Favorite does NOT always mean best. My favorite movie of all time is Hook, has been since it came out. Do I think it’s the best movie ever made? No.

Thoughts on Other Wins:
I think Slumdog Millionaire received way to many tech awards than it deserved. Wall-E, IronMan, Curious Case, and The Dark Knight should have walked away with those. I think Hellboy II deserved Makeup. They were spot on with The Duchess for best Costume Design. I really didn’t care for any of the original songs up this year. For me it was a toss up between Slumdog’s Jai Ho and Wall-E’s Down to Earth.

Ending Thoughts
I have to say that overall I had a great time watching the Oscars. The changes took some getting use to but I appreciate them in the end. I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeve next year.
Posted by Derek Clem at 1:55 PM |  

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