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Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Night, 2009

This was written by my friend, Kyle, over at The Unlimited Freedom Castle. I told him I would post this. I actually plan to do more of these guest posts next year to be able to provide other perspectives on the state of key races. Enjoy!

Even though I didn’t go 24/24 in the second annual Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas Oscar contest, the night turned out to be a rousing success. I don’t care what anyone else says, it was a fun night, and I wasn’t necessarily predicting that. Looking at the ballot I was really unimpressed with my choices, and going into the night I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the major awards. Last year I was rooting hard for both There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men, but this year my favorite films just weren’t nominated for much.

The volcano of hope known as Slumdog Millionaire was exploding its charade of being the fantastically great best movie of all-time all the way up until the big day, and there was an undeniable lack of excitement surrounding Best Picture and Best Director. Something must really be going over my head about that film, because to this day I cannot put my finger on what makes it stand out to practically everyone that saw it. I get the hope aspect, and I get the exotic location and cinematography, but the rest is beyond me. I’m most likely a hypocrite, but give me Wall-E, Man on Wire, or Milk if I’m looking for some real hope and passion. In the end I’m fine with the outcomes: the three films above were represented, and its not like Slumdog is a bad film or anything – just not the best.

Oh well, enough of my Slumdog hate. The following are a few notes about the night:

- I was REALLY fucking impressed with the opening musical piece. At one point I said outloud, “Hugh Jackman is a fucking talented bastard”. The guy can sing, he’s a dancing fool, and whoever penned the lyrics were clever bastards. The bit about The Dark Knight making a billion dollars and not being sophisticated, as well as having not seen “The Reader” were my favorites. Oh, and the end with him saying something about being Wolverine. Fantastic. Side note: The trailer for Wolverine looks underwhelming. And then he jumps onto the helicopter from his motorcyle. After that it turns to awful.

- Steve Martin always impresses me at these kind of events. Why can’t he do that with his current film career? It’s like he has a bar of soap in his hands, and when it slips out it ends up being a movie that falls flat on the shower floor, but when he makes a public appearance he’s got ahold of it and is washing himself clean. That’s a fucking terrible metaphor, but yeah, I like Steve Martin, and I really hope someone has the good mind to stop making Pink Panther movies.

- Dustin Lance Black gave a great acceptance speech. He looks like he’s about 25 years old, but has a bit of aged wisdom in his words. Side note: He’s actually 34? Holy shit.

- Domo arigato, Mister Roboto. Hilarious. That was about the only thing the Short Animation award recipient could have said to make the moment less awkward. He succeeded, and the academy is instituting a new rule for foreign award recipients: “If you can’t speak a lick of English you have to say a well-known American song lyric featuring your native language. Ex: “Psycho Killer quest que ces” if you are French, or “Livin’ La vida loca” if you are Spanish.

- I don’t think Ben Stiller is funny. If we all just ignore Joaquin Phoenix, maybe he will just go away.

- Are Seymour Philip Hoffman and Xavier Bardem related?

- James Franco and Seth Rogen were hilarious. Especially the Milk moment. Fucking genius. I read on some Oscar blog that this was one of the worst moments of the night. BULLSHIT. There is definitely an age gap when it comes to having a decent sense of humor, and I'm sure that was written by a really old person.

- Does a memorial segment need so many god damn camera moves? I. COULDN’T. READ. SHIT. You do not need to be artsy about this stuff. Side note: Paul Newman was the man. I would chisel his face on a Mount Rushmore of Awesome.

- Danny Boyle looks like a leprechaun, or as I read somewhere, “like Morrissey’s geeky accountant brother”. However, I proclaim him worthy of winning Best Director. He was legitimately excited for EVERY Slumdog award of the night, and seemed truly humbled by the whole experience. He’s made some good movies over the course of his career, and while Slumdog might not be his best, he is certainly Oscar worthy. Here’s hoping that he continues to make a wide range of films for the remainder of his career.

- Politics aside, Sean Penn kinda sounded like a smug bastard. He was a deserving winner, but yeah, I can get why a lot of people don’t like him. Side note: Out of the nominees, I thought Milk should have won Best Picture.

- So, the night was a success, but I still have one bone to pick: Why wasn't Christopher Nolan at least nominated for Directing? I am still just fucking FURIOUS for this oversight. I get that people don't want a "comic book" movie nominated for Best Picture, but are you going to tell me that Stephen Daldry had more on his plate and executed it to a greater degree than Chris Nolan? It's really a shame that he wasn't recognized on such a hallowed night, especially for a movie that will be remembered far longer than most of its peers.

- If you made it to the bottom of this you get a secret surprise: My Top 9 Favorite Films of 2008. Yes, I'm going with 9 instead of 10. And yes, I saw more than 9 films in 2008, but these 9 were the only ones to impact me from the moment I left the theater or turned off the DVD player. At the bottom is the list of films I missed, but desperately want to see.

9. American Teen
8. Son of Rambow
7. Revolutionary Road
6. Man on Wire
5. In Bruges
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Milk
2. Wall-E
1. The Dark Knight

Films to see: Doubt, Gran Torino, Rachel Getting Married, Synechdoche, NY, Let the Right One In, Che, Happy-Go-Lucky, Tropic Thunder, Frozen River, Surfwise

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