all Oscar 2009/10 season posts here
Time to wrap up Oscar coverage! I may or may not do a short fashion bit and we may or may not do a podcast ... running on fumes! Thanks for your abundant engaged comments in the worst/weirdest rundown and acting posts. Comments are like premium fuel... especially when the meter is on empty. But never fear. More fun daily movie stuff coming up. Don't go away just because the Oscars are over, y'hear?
13 Best Things About the 09/10 Oscars
13 Stanley Tucci's Eye Rolling. He looked totally embarrassed by his clip from The Lovely Bones which made us love him even more.
12 Contemporary Costume Design Shout-Out. Sure, sure, the world's most brilliant costumer designer Sandy Powell (more on her in a future post) came off like a huge diva with her slow saunter up to the stage and her "I already have two of these" intro. But we heartily appreciate the impromptu contemporary costuming dedication. Even people who love costume design (including me) don't recognize it enough. If I were giving out a contemporary costume design nomination this year I think I would have gone with...
- Hope Hanafin for (500) Days of Summer
- Sonia Grande for Broken Embraces
- April Napier for Julia *winner*
- Marina Draghici for Precious
- Catherine Marie Thomas for Whip It
11 Steve Martin. In concept the duo of Alec & Steve was a great idea. In reality only Steve Martin had the sea legs for this sort of improvised live comedy. He's been at it since the 60s, you know. He can even do it with an arrow through his head. I'd be happy to see him back but I'm really rooting for a Hugh Jackman return next year. (Last year's show = so much better)
10 Pedro & Quentin. I understand why the Oscar producers are nervous to have behind-the-scenes talent present awards (for fear of losing only half-interested non-movie buff viewers) but in the case of directors who are celebrities themselves -- at least to the extent that directors can become famous on a visual level -- this was a very welcome presenting duo. It's nice to see a non-acting director besides Steven Spielberg on stage.
9 Color. The ladies of Hollywood (or at least their stylists) really turned up the rainbow and after years and years of oceans of black gowns, it was so welcome.
8 Precious Beats the Odds. Though my vote would've probably gone to In the Loop, I was very happy to see Precious (my silver medalist) win screenplay. But the reason I put this in my top 12 is that I absolutely love it when a worthy win happens after a terrible clip choice. I always feel those clip reels have hidden agendas since they so often give one film or performance a great clip and give a competing film or performance a lousy unrepresentative example. I'm still haunted by the clip they chose to represent Nicole Kidman way back in the Moulin Rouge! year (the year she should have won given the nominee pool). So I felt like Precious's win was accidental revenge on the clip reel. I mean... really... the fried chicken sequence? That's what you chose to represent that emotionally textured script?!?
7 The Set. Pretty, right? Though it did feel a little Avatar tributey with so much shimmery blue. Although for the life of me I didn't understand the lampshade business. What were those occasional lampshade backdrops about? Are there any interior designers out there who can 'splain that set psychology?
6 Michael Giacchino's Speech. He writes good music... and good speech, too. Telling anyone listening that pursuing your creative passions is not a waste of time was totally inspiring. Devoting hours, months and years of your life to a creative pursuit is difficult and nerve-wracking and not often supported in our Most Money Wins cultural value system. Creativity and respect for artistic pursuits should always be encouraged. Everyone would be happier. Well done, Giacchino.
5 Quality Wins Out. The Hurt Locker, the best of the nominees, was triumphant. Maybe six Oscars was a bit much. We tend to like it when the Academy spreads the golden wealth. But it's always a relief when good films win big. And speaking of good... so many of the winners were deserving this year... especially over in Acting. So even if the show was rough and unfocused, the wins were (mostly) quality. But back to The Sexy Locker for a minute. It keeps earning the nickname we gave it. We already knew that Bigelow was the hottest non-acting 58 year old out there. And we already knew that her cast was delicious and cuddly. Then we learned through awards season that at least one of the producers as well as the screenwriter Mark Boal (Bigelow's boyfriend, right? Is this public knowledge?) were also lookers. And now we find out in the acceptance speeches that the brilliant editing team (and new Oscar winners) Bob Murawski and Chris Innis are a married couple? So much, uh, affection everywhere in that movie's production history, right?
4 Tina Fey & Robert Downey Jr. The number of Hollywood jokes about writers being ugly social pariahs and actors being arrogant self-serving divas equal well unto infinity. But with the right delivery... just hilarious hilarious hilarious.
3 Firsts! Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female director to win. They shoulda let Jane Campion burst that glass ceiling 17 years ago but yay for it finally happening. And when it's deserved, too (even better!). Though it was bad form to play "I am woman. hear me roar" as Bigelow exited the stage, particularly because she awesomely never played the vagina card in her entire campaign. Also kudos to Geoffrey Fletcher for becoming the first African American screenwriter to win. Firsts are so exciting.
2 Sandra Bullock's Speech. Though her Best Actress winning performance was, to me, the least among the nominees, it's not the first time the least has won this "most". See also: 2006, 2004, 1997, 1994, etcetera...) But there's just no faulting that gorgeous knockout speech. It began with humble but perceptive "I get it" comedy, swerved into heartfelt appreciation for her formidable competition (if it wasn't sincere, she's a better actress than we've ever given her credit for being), made time for personal but far from over-indulgent acknowledgements of her own loved ones and also honored the movie and role she was rewarded for. A+ on that speech, Sandy. What a gracious, smart, emotional finish to this super long awards season.
1...the best Best Actor / Best Actress Presentations in general. Last year when I first heard they were doing 5-wide presenter tributes to the acting nominees I thought it was insane. But it turned out to be a great show with that "twist" only adding to the who will speak to whom now, drama? This year, while the rest of the show crumbled around it, this 5-wide system got even better. I realize it takes up a lot of time, but damn it's good television. I couldn't have been happier during the Best Actor presentation, which began with a shocking reveal of two of my personal trinity, and kept getting more and more pleasurable. I never thought I'd live to see The Fabulous Baker Boys (one of my favorite films of all time, which lost every Oscar it was up for in 1989) celebrated at an Oscar event.
It was so surreal... like they had created the show just for me. Better still... as these intros progressed was the feeling that maybe millions of other people watching were having similar "this is for me!" personal experiences given the 20 movie stars and multiple movies getting face and anecdote time. There had to have been something for everyone there and it was complete heaven. My favorite bits...
- Jeff Bridges tearing up watching Michelle Pfeiffer pay him tribute. They've been so supportive of each other over the years that it's a complete travesty and mystery to me that they never worked together again after Baker Boys.
- Stanley Tucci's teasing Meryl Streep by sponsoring a drive to cap the number of acting nominations at 16 (Comedy revenge for Meryl Streep calling him "the dreadful Stanley Tucci" in her Golden Globes speech for Prada?)
- Oprah Winfrey detailing the fairy tale journey of Gabby Sidibe and watching the young actress wipe away tears hearing her name next to Streeps
- Vera Farmiga's weirdly cutesy flirtations "fantastically foxy Mr. Foxy Fox" and "he's just so dreeeeeeaaaamy" when addressing George Clooney
- Colin Farrell giving us the mental image of he and Jeremy Renner spooning...