Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars 2008 - Reinvention and Failed Intentions

The Oscars. People say their boring. Well, for god's sake, does that mean we have to replace the usual ceremony with hyper-kinetic energy as well as horribly idiotic jokes (I've heard the one about not seeing "The Reader" enough times)? All-in-all, it was one of the worst ceremonies in recent memory, especially due to the presence of Hugh Jackman, possibly the worst choice for a host in a long time. Jackman's opening montage about the 5 best picture nominees was desperate and unfunny. The Academy was smart enough to only serve him in small doses for the rest of the evening. But it got even worse. Before every acting category, there was a montage of previous winners as well as nominee introductions from five previous victors. The Academy got rid of the clips that usually accompany each nominee usually, which pretty much meant that we had to listen to former Oscar-winners drone on about their selected actor. As for the nights acting winners, there were not many surprises. A mesmerizing Sean Penn performance triumphed over a fantastic and even more deserving Mickey Rourke. Penn wisely name-dropped the man he beat out in his speech, since he knew he wasn't quite as good. Kate Winslet got her Oscar, one contested by Meryl Streep and dark, dark horse Melissa Leo. Cue the nervous speech that Winslet has patented. Heath Ledger's family accepted his Oscar in the most certain Award of the night. And Penelope Cruz beat out the likes of Amy Adams, Marisa Tomei, Viola Davis, and Taraji P. Henson for a much deserved Oscar. The biggest surprise (for me) was when "Waltz With Bashir" and "The Class" were upset by "Departures," a Japanese film. And I believe the Live Action Short Film was unfairly given to Holocaust film "Toyland," over the Michael Haneke homage "On the Line." Otherwise, the evening went as planned. It was no surprise Slumdog won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture. Ben Button walked away with only 3, a.k.a. it got screwed. Frost/Nixon, Rachel Getting Married, Changeling, Doubt, The Wrestler, Frozen River et al all walked away with nothing. Seriously, I believe the Academy had a bad year. Except for the night's best moment, Phillepe Petit performing a magic trick for friend Werner Herzog as well as balancing the Oscar he won on his chin. Petit is awesome.

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