The ONLY Oscar Blogger, who lives in walking distance to the Kodak Theater!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thoughts on Greatest Oscars Ever

INITIAL THOUGHTS
Let me start this post off with one simple phrase: "The Best Oscars Ever!" I'm only 23, but for me I don't think last night will ever be topped. I'm not even talking about just the show. I'm also talking about the opportunity I had to cover these awards. I really don't know if I'll ever get the chance live so close to the Kodak again. My goal was to give my readers a unique prospective and I hope I succeeded.

I feel like I came into my own this year. I'm still not on the same level as Tom O'Neil, Pete Hammond, Sasha Stone, and Kris Tapley (to name a few). They are my go to Oscar pundits. Simply the best. I actually want to thank them for another great year of coverage. I hope to one day get close enough to their level where I am at least mildly respected.

THE ACTUAL SHOW
A lot of people were skeptical, but they really came through last night. Hugh Jackman I thought was fantastic. He may have been the best Oscar host I've seen (I was too young for the Billy Crystal years). That opening number was hilarious. I seriously didn't know Hugh Jackman could sing. It was nice to see a musical number start the show rather than a monologue, which is usually hit or miss.  It really set the tone early.

I also thought the presentation of the awards was refreshing. I actually like when last year's Best Actor presents Best Actress, but I forgot all about it as soon as Best Supporting Actress was presented. Having five previous winners in the category was not only different, but added this extra prestige to the presentation. It was like, "Welcome to our exclusive club."

The show also felt super fast.  The decision to present multiple awards with the same presenters was a smart one.  It makes sense to just present both Sound Mixing and Editing together.  Or present Song and Score together.

The set was also amazing. I loved the look they went with this year. They really made an effort to re-invent this show and they succeeded. I really approve and hope they can work off this to continue to make the show better for many years.

I know the ratings were still low (apparently third lowest ever), but I feel like word will spread how good this show was and it will end up helping the Oscars improve their ratings in the long run.  I don't know if it will get back to the rating the year Titanic won.  Only time will tell.

THE (TWO) LOSSES
The sound awards actually split this year. I'm still surprised that Slumdog won this since Mixing has usually gone to the loudest film. I'm also shocked since CAS actually foreshadowed the winner. They have a horrible track record. I have to say that I still wouldn't have changed my pick if I was given the chance. Knight was the logical choice and I was just not comfortable going with Slumdog here.

Best Documentary - Short Subject always screws me up. Back in 2005 when I went 21/24, I picked God Sleeps in Rwanda, which everyone was picking. It lost to A Note of Triumph. I have said this before and I'll say it again, this is the hardest category to predict. It is notorious for curveballs. Very few people picked Smile Pinki. I had a feeling that Witness was going to lose, but I was hoping it was going to be against The Conscience of Nhem En. Like the above Sound Mixing category, I don't think I would have changed my pick to Smile Pinki.

THE "CLOSE" WINS
Best Actor was clearly the race of the night. No one really had a good idea who was going to win this, but I thought Sean Penn was still the favorite going into last night. Yet, many people said Rourke was. He was on fire of late, but Rourke still lacked the SAG win and the Academy "image". He burned a lot of bridges too and I have a feel he may be resented within the Academy.  Even look at him on Sunday.  He was like the first guy to not wear a tie at the Oscars since Sly Stallone.  He also would have been only the second Best Actor winner for a long haired role. I do think these little factors hurt him. I also think his short involvement with wrestling also hurt him. Still look on the bright side, Mickey lost last night, but he's back for now. Well, at least let's hope so.  I'm already looking forward to his next role.

Best Supporting Actress was a great way to open up the show. I'd be curious to see how close this race really was. I was a little nervous since Vicky Cristina Barcelona was not well received by the Academy. Cruz already being a former nominee and a respected actress was enough to get her across the finish line. Woody Allen just has a great track record for Best Supporting Actresses. Viola Davis was the popular alternative this year, but her lack of screen time was probably her biggest enemy (that arguably hurt Ruby Dee last year). The nomination of Amy Adams also hurt as she probably took votes away from her co-star.

Foreign Language Film was one of the big upsets last night. Waltz had too much going against it. It was an animation, documentary, and from Israel (no Oscar wins). It was too unconventional. The Envelope also tipped off that Departures was popular among some of the voters. They also reported that The Class (presumed spoiler) was not well received. Then, In Contention also wrote about a possible upset. Departures was gaining steam towards the end, but most people were too scared to pick it (part of me doesn't blame them). I took this all into consideration and changed my pick. It was definitely a risk, but it paid off big time.

Best Animated Short was another big upset. I wrote this the other day, but I watched Presto on Friday night. I just had this gut feeling it would lose on Sunday. It didn't really impress me that much. It was definitely funny, but it just didn't strike me as an Oscar winner. Pixar actually hasn't won this award since 2001 (surprising I know). I also think the subject matter in Cubes was something that voters could relate to. It dealt with an old man whose house is getting flooded. I have still yet to see it, but from what I've heard it's a heartfelt short. That was the reason for my pick.

THE CONTESTS
Let me start off with the bad news first. I SHOULD have won the 9th Annual eFilm Critic Oscar contest. They use a point system rather than outright winner. Every category has an assigned point value and you assign the points accordingly. This can usually be done to your advantage in tight races. Also, you don't have to be able to predict outright winners.  Sadly, it is not to your advantage when you predicted 22 categories correct. I'm not trying to sound cocky, but I got too conservative and was afraid to give some of the nominees 100% of the points in a category. So basically I screwed myself.

I was 65 points from first place. Well, I put 50 points (out of 100) on Mickey Rourke. I put 20 (out of 100) on Viola Davis. I put 15 (out of 30) on Waltz with Bashir. I put 10 (out of 20) on WALL-E for Sound Editing. That's 95 points.  These are categories I all got right and it would have made me the winner. I only am so disappointed I didn't win this since this is one of the best Oscar contests for prizes. They give away tons of dvds and other cool prizes. I learned my lesson and next year I'm probably going to go all or nothing on every category.

I also lost the Predict The Oscars! contest by one point, but at least there were no prizes there. I actually lost this contest since I wasn't able to modify my ballot with the last minute Sound Editing change.  If I did, then I would have won that by two points.  Oh well...

I finished second place in the Awards Daily contest.  Someone over there got 23/24, which I simply tip my hat to.  That's incredible.

Now, look at the wins. I'm still waiting on confirmation on a couple, but what a year! I even won a couple great prizes (some unknown at the moment). As cool as prizes are, I actually am just excited to win some of the biggest Oscar contests around. I know I won the following: Web-Goddess (LOOK at these sock monkeys I won! Haha.), SRMedia's Can you beat the Crowd? (over 500 players), In Contention (one of the best Oscar blogs around today), and the Academy Awards Predictions Game (roughly 200 players).

I'll post some more info on these contests later. I would rather do one big post when I have more details from every contest.

ON SLUMDOG WINNING BEST PICTURE
Look I'm not a huge fan of this film, but I was happy for it. I was. I think it's nice that a film like this won. Maybe it will send a message to studios to stop trying to make "Best Picture" winners and just focus on making great films.

Slumdog really broke new ground last night. It dominated. And, it dominated big pictures like Benjamin Button and money making machine of The Dark Knight. It even took out Harvey Weinstein. Something like this may never be done again. You to respect that. It was an awards run for the ages.

MILK'S MOMENT
I want to say something quick about Milk. I was very happy that the Academy chose to recognize Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn. Not only were both deserving, but I felt like it was important for them both to make emotionally charged speeches on equal rights for everyone and acknowledging the shame in the passing of Proposition 8. I can tell you that I live in Los Angeles and I'm ready to overturn it whether it be in the next election or sooner.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I'm going to remember these Oscars for a long time. They will definitely hold a special place in my heart. I lived down the street from the Kodak and I went 22/24 (personal record) en route to numerous Oscar Contest wins.

I'll post my 2008 in film reflection article and a look around to 2009 tomorrow.

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