Sunday, February 22, 2009

They Make Movies: The 2009 Academy Awards

I'm writing this now because I know I won't be able to write anything that requires a serious amount of time during the week. I still have a billion things in the inner portals of my mind that I can't remember as of now, but I will proceed with my mini review of the Oscar ceremony anyway.

I've always adored the glitz and glamour of the annual Oscar ceremony. The fashion, the awards, the sheer exhilaration of it all, the celebration of a rewarding artistic medium, the performances--it's just a wondrous sight to behold. And I still have to see some of those movies. Now I absolutely have to see Slumdog Millionaire, despite how corny and schmaltzy the premise sounds.

For me, this year's fashion standouts were Amy Adams in her gorgeous red dress and Taraji P. Henson in her lovely white dress. Both Adams and Henson had delightfully fancy jewelry to accompany their remarkable dresses. (I might showcase my favorite dresses from the ceremony later in the week when I find better quality pictures.)

I loved both musical numbers. Hugh Jackman was a rather fun host. Loved seeing Anne Hathaway (whoa, that voice!) and Beyonce rocking that stage. (But Zanessa? Meh.) Queen Latifah was wonderful, but the "In Memoriam" tribute was kind of awful, with the camera just going all over the place in the most annoying manner possible.

But really, I got a little sick of medleys in the "I don't want to hear another one for a very long time" kind of way.

I didn't care for the five past winners from the acting categories reading cue cards--I mean, praising the nominees before handing out the actual award. During that time, I just kept thinking to myself, "Why can't they just hand out the damn award now?" It doesn't help that the actors didn't seem very enthusiastic about showering those praises. It kind of made me wonder whether or not the actors actually saw the performances they were praising on stage since all of those speeches felt forced. I understand that it's nice for the nominees to get specially recognized for their work and have the spotlight on them for a while, but it resulted in this never-ending drag that made all that jazz slightly less entertaining.

But Kate Winslet won! Finally... Despite the negative criticism about her performance being the least-deserved out of all her past Oscar nominations, I still feel that Winslet's portrayal of Hanna in The Reader is a grand work of excellence. I definitely believe that Winslet's performance in The Reader is superior than her previously nominated performances in Sense and Sensibility and Titanic.

Then Robert De Niro appeared! I was too excited about the fact that he's on my TV screen and barely heard what he said about Sean Penn. I'm a terrible person, I know. But I hadn't seen a De Niro film in ages so I admit, I kind of missed him.

The icing on the cake was when Steven Spielberg presented the Best Picture award. My Spielberg fangirliness kind of came out that moment in a really weird, absurd way. I was saying things like, "Spielberg should win Best Director like, every single year." Well, probably except this year, but that's not my point.

The ceremony didn't really have any surprises so it really did get kind of boring as the evening dragged on. Everyone who I expected to win, won, maybe except for Sean Penn. I guess like everyone else, I expected Mickey Rourke to take the Best Actor award, but Penn was definitely number two on the list. I don't really know what to say since I haven't seen either performances, but it's all about the statistics when it comes to guessing the winner, right?

Despite how pretty the set looked, the entire ceremony felt a little sloppy, though. Lots of obvious cue card readings. Lots of sloppy montages. Lots of in-your-face loud background music. It did feel a little bit like a party, just not a very elegant, well-planned one. But there were fun moments, especially the song-and-dance moments that I somewhat enjoyed and Jack Black's little joke about betting on Pixar. Then again, it still didn't beat the 2007 Oscar ceremony (hosted by Ellen DeGeneres), which was probably the most glamorous and elegant Oscar ceremony I had seen so far in my lifetime.

The 2009 Oscars was just disappointing and unimpressive, although there were some sparks of potential around the edges.

There's always next year...and the year after that...

Head over to IMDb to view a full list of winners from tonight's ceremony. Feel free to discuss the Oscars. I would love to hear what you all thought about the ceremony!

By the way, I really want to see Departures (Best Foreign Film winner). Has anyone seen it? Is it any good?

Rating of Ceremony: **1/2 (out of four)


  1. on your scale of 1 to 4 i would give this year's show a 2 at best. it seemed to me that you were pretty ambilalent (wishy-washy?)you wanted to like it but couldn't quite get there. i didn't have that problem - much of it was just embarrassing: the overdone pans of the nominees in the audience and constant references to them, the old timers brought out to pean the nominees, the really poorly conceived tribute to those who had passed away this year, and not one shot, that i saw, of jack nicholson. i got the feeling that they were trying much to hard to be different, but really had a creative meltdown. of course i dvr'ed the show, so as not to have to watch the commercials (probably missed the best stuff), and the show ran long, of course, and the recording ended just as they were about to announce the best actress. K. Winslett was no surprise, of course, although I'm pretty sure that M. Streep would have been a better choice, i guess i should see 'sluumdog', but i can't believe that any movie based on the game show 'so you want to be a millionaire' ca be all that great. i must be missing something here. keep the faith, Marcy.

  2. oh, i did very much like the gowns...generally much beter taste than we've seen in a while.

  3. I thought the Oscars this year was pretty good. The stage looked nice and fancy. I thought Jackman did a pretty good job, but I felt he did too many dancing moves rather than laying some jokes from time to time. I also didnt like the 5 previous winners thing. I thought it was overkill and wasted time.

  4. Richard - This year's show has definitely been a love-it/hate-it--just look at the Oscar Buzz board over at IMDb.

    I really, really wanted to like the show. I loved Hugh Jackman's fun, energetic opening number. I loved the set. I loved the amazing actors who came out to present the nominees, despite their boring monologues. I loved the "let's put on a party!" spirit. But I really got bored...and began to think the whole darn thing was a mess.

    I'm actually torn between Winslet and Streep right now. I'm glad that Winslet finally won, but a little part of me wanted Streep to win. I mean, a lot of people thought Winslet deserved to win, just 'cuz Streep already won twice. They used this argument for the Scorsese v. Eastwood showdowns too. But c'mon, it's about the best performance of the year, not who's been snubbed, who's won too many times, etc., and in a weird kind of way, I feel that Streep's performance resonated with me the most. I really don't know...

    In the last minute, I actually wanted Philip Seymour Hoffman to win Best Supporting Actor, although I did love Heath Ledger's freakish, menacing performance. Or I just wanted some surprise from a very predictable ceremony.

    I haven't even seen any photographs of Jack Nicholson at this year's Oscars--he probably didn't attend?

    Farzan - I liked how Jackman had a good mix of jokes and musical numbers. It was pretty entertaining.

  5. maybe jack nicholson is making a movie, but it isn't the same without him. i do think he is my favorite living actor.
    the A.A. almost always get boring because they are always too long, and i felt that they were trying much too hard to make it seem like a big, happy family in the theatre.
    was it obvious to everyuone but me that ben stiller was doing a riff or send-up on something juaquin phoenix did several months ago? that seemed pretty deep inside stuff to me?

  6. "Entertainment Weekly" claimed that Jack just wanted to watch the Oscars at home.

    Although I do think Jack Nicholson is an exceptional actor, I don't miss him at the Oscars. I'm getting a little tired of his same ol' same ol' personality. But I do admit that he can be quite entertaining...

    Ben Stiller was mocking Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on David Letterman from a few weeks ago. It's on Youtube if you want to see it...

  7. i didn't want jack to do anything - just sit over there on the front right, and leer at the camera. it's sort of like a comforting feeling, knowing he's there - like meat loaf and mashed potato(e)s.

    thanks for the youtube heads-up.

    i read your review of the again. i really get the feeling that you didn't much like it, and by your own words should have rated it **, not **1/2.
    i still haven't seen 'doubt' or any of the other nominated movies, except 'the reader'. i wish you would get on the stick and review 'slumdog'; so, i will know whether or not to bother.

  8. Richard, the general consensus pretty much tells you that you should bother to see Slumdog. I don't know if I'm seeing it or not. Next week's my birthday, so I might see it, or if I get too busy, I might just have to wait for the DVD.

    I was really half/half. I mean, I wasn't completely bored or anything. I think they put a lot of effort into it this year, and I appreciated that. There were technical things about the AA that I appreciated, such as the screen curtains with all the past nominees' Oscar being on stage. I mean, those were little things that I thought were kind of cool. So I guess my 1 1/2 star rewards all the technical aspects that went into the show because they moments on there and the bandwere rather well-done. Those things are often overlooked, and I was quite impressed by how they paid attention to all those details.

  9. GAH. I think my computer went beserk when I was typing my comments.

    Here's the edited version of my crumby sentence:

    "So I guess my 1 1/2 star rewards all the technical aspects that went into the show because there were moments in the show that really shined. It was all really well-done."

  10. hey,
    i just found your posting from march 1 - there should be some way of knowing when there is a new post - and where it is!
    anyway - you rated the oscars 2 1/2 stars, not 1 1/2. do i detect backing and filling here? not that i blame you - too much.

    I hope you found my commemts on
    'doubt', filed under 'doubt', and now even more obscurely under 2008.

    some day you must tell us how life is on the san andreus fault line. do you worry about it? does the earth move much? - of course that could be a good thing, too!

  11. Richard - you can always subscribe to me via Google Reader to see if I have any new posts.

    Aw...well, I was pretty generous on my Oscar rating. I guess if I were to watch that four-hour show again, I would've given it a 1 1/2 stars, lol.

    We do have occasional Earthquakes around here, but nothing big--yet. I guess I do worry sometimes, but since everyone else's houses are on the line, it just ends up being...the same for everyone. So we manage.