Monday, February 23, 2009

Can't Believe I Forgot - Oscars!

I can't believe I spent all of that time lamenting about my lack of organizational focus and completely forgot to talk about the Oscars!

As a bit of background . . . I moved to Chicago right after undergrad and was so happy to finally live in a large city where you could dream of something to do and then could actually do that in the same day. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Missouri, so there were many things that weren't immediately at our disposal, including great ethnic restaurants, quality (or any) museums, first-run movies (other than the total blockbusters and even that was a 22 mile hike), etc. When I moved to Chicago, I completely overindulged in all of those things -- it was impossible to catch me in my apartment!

I've calmed down quite a bit now, but still love the fact that I can see practically any move that's been released any time I want to see it. For some reason, going to the movies is a treat to me.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I decided that I'd like to see all of the best picture nominated films before the Oscars aired. It made the Oscars so much more enjoyable that I've carried on with this tradition. Sometimes, I'm good at planning ahead and seeing films are they are released, while other years I have to do a mammoth movie-watch the day before the Oscars.

This year, I was good and kept on track by watching films as they were released. I'm glad I did so, because it would have been quite a depressing Saturday if I had to see of the films at once.

Overall, I'm pleased that Slumdog Millionnaire received many awards. I thought it was very well done - both the acting and the cinematography. I don't think it would have been quite so praised if more Americans would see more foreign films. I don't think Slumdog would have come out on top if it went up against 4 Bollywood films. Those are amazing.

I love the fact that Sean Penn won for best actor. I think Mickey Rourke gave a fascinating performance in The Wrestler, but also think he's been adequately rewarded for his comeback. I hope he sticks with it and continues to find good acting roles. Sean Penn completely transformed himself in Milk. When I saw the film, I didn't think "oh, that's Sean Penn playing Harvey Milk" . . . rather, Sean completely disappeared in the role. He was amazing. I'm also so happy that Milk was rewarded in the midst of all of this Prop 8 craziness.

Kate Winslet is amazing. Her performance in The Reader was heart-breaking.

I haven't seen Vicky Christina Barcelona yet, but hope to do so soon. I used to love Woody Allen movies, but now, I see them when I'm able, but don't run out to see them on opening night. I think I like his older films more than his recent works . . . before he had to be sure he was "Woody Allen" enough for a Woody Allen film.

In terms of the awards ceremony itself, I honestly can't understand why these shows run over every year. It's not like people who have never seen or worked on an Oscar's show are in charge of production. I could easily have deleted 30 minutes from the show and no one would have been the wiser. For example, Hugh Jackman's initial performance was great - witty, showcasing the recession, including great props and sometimes clever lines - but I didn't see the purpose of the ode to musicals feature in the middle of the show.

I loved the star power of past award winners praising the new nominees. It was clear that some of the "assignments" were good (Shirley Maclaine, Robert DeNiro) while others were a bit desperate (Nicole Kidman, Adrian Brody). I hope that the nominees who were short-changed didn't mind too much. I also loved Tina Fey and Steve Marin as a duo -- why don't they co-host next year's show?

Overall, a good show with no real surprises.

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