The Oscars

Leni Riefenstahl eat your heart out. We have got a new girl on top, and her name’s Kathryn Bigelow. Her Iraq War movie, The Hurt Locker, claimed six Oscars last night, effectively stealing the show and trouncing all competition. Kathryn herself received the honors of Best Director and Best Picture. This is bigger than you may realize: this is the first time a woman has ever won Best Director. As for Hurt Locker, was a fantastic movie deserving of much honor (which I’ll be reviewing later this week), but Best Movie? I could go either way on that one.

As for this year’s hit sensation, Avatar, it won where Avatar should have won: in prettiness. Art, Cinematography, and Visual Effects all dangled from its belt Sunday night, and they were well-earned. Nothing comes close to touching Avatar in terms of sheer gorgeous, breath-taking visual appeal—not before, and I suspect, not for a good while after. Cameron should be proud of the boundaries he has seen pushed there.

In terms of individuals, we had Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) on Best Actor, Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) on Best Actress, and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) as Best Supporting Actor.

To begin with Bullock: the choice was obvious there. No other actress came close to her this season (and I mean it—a Razzie for Worst Actress [All About Steve—a terrible movie in its own right] and an Oscar for Best Actress? You can’t touch her on any level). Her performance in The Blind Side was astounding.

As for Bridges, I must admit I was a little surprised. Not disappointed, but surprised. I figured The Hurt Locker would win that one too, for Jeremy Renner’s performance—it was on such a roll, after all. Morgan Freeman was also a good choice for a nomination, as always, for his role as Nelson Mandela in Invictus. The movie, I will admit, didn’t particularly grip me (too much sport, not enough Mandela), but Freeman had shined in his part. Bridges deserved it, though, for his touching role as singer/song-writer Otis Blake. If you can take a little country music, you’ll be rewarded with Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Colin Farell—in a mostly conventional musical tale elevated by performance and delivery.

Waltz was a grand old choice for Supporting Actor. The quirky, nasty little Nazi from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds had done a delightful job as our foil to Brad Pitt’s Bowie-wielding hero, Lt. Aldo Raine. Also, I certainly didn’t want the award going to Matt Damon. I love Damon and find him to be a fantastic actor, generally speaking, but his performance in Invictus didn’t really do anything for me. I didn’t expect Christopher Plummer would win either, but I will say he made for a great Tolstoy.

Also, it was apparently the night for bad guys, as for Best Supporting Actress, Mo’Nique (Precious) stole the show for her role as Mary, a horrendously abusive mother whose ways have scarred her pregnant daughter. As she said in her acceptance speech: “sometimes you have to forego doing what’s popular in order to do what’s right.” She may not have played the most popular character, but her portrayal was a gripping look into certain aspects of life we may never wish to face—but that are very, very real.

And for Best Animated Film, let’s be honest, was anyone surprised? I saw way too many people laugh and cry with Up to have ever thought that one might lose. I think Fantastic Mr. Fox was a little underrated as a nominee, and neither Coraline nor Disney’s touted The Princess and the Frog had anything on either of them.

Best and Worst Moments?

  1. Ben Stiller creeped the hell out of me. Do. Not. Like. Make him go away, please.
  2. Kanye Lady.
  3. Neil Patrick Harris’s opening…uuurgh. Failure. Send him to do more Sing Along Blogs, NOW. I demand more Dr. Horrible.
  4. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts—fantastic work. Played off each other and shined.
  5. Tribute to Horror: from Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin’s Paranormal Activity spoof to the realization that yes, New Moon (and Twilight in general) is utterly horrifying. Even if you survive the story itself (be it movie or book), doesn’t Robert Pattinson’s performance terrify you?
  6. Why would you ever have Keanu Reeves speak?
  7. Double Snuggies.

~ by Chris G. on March 8, 2010.

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