Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 Oscars Post-Mortem

Yes, I am way late on this and you’ve already read dozens of Oscars re-caps and are completely over the whole thing. That’s what I get for having the audacity to go on vacation during Oscar week. So I’ll keep this brief since it’s time for us all to move on with life.

As far as my predictions go, I didn’t score 100% like last year, but getting 5 out of the 9 categories I guessed is respectable enough. At least it is for me, I don’t particularly care what anyone else thinks. I’m thrilled to have been wrong about Avatar taking Best Picture and James Cameron for Best Director, which is where all the early buzz was, until The Hurt Locker pulled into the lead. I still don’t know if I would consider The Hurt Locker the best movie to come out of 2009 (I honestly wasn’t that jazzed about most of the 10 nominees), but anything winning over Avatar is fine with me.

I’m very happy for Kathryn Bigelow’s director win for several reasons:

  1. She expertly crafted a very difficult movie and deserved to win.
  2. She took a huge step for women in entertainment by being the first female director to win (you know, in case you hadn’t heard).
  3. She got to beat James Cameron, who I have always thought was kind of an ass (yes, the man produces quality films, but he is kind of a dick).

Having Barbra Streisand present the award was annoyingly staged and the whole buildup of “this could be the first year a female or black director wins…” wore thin as the night went on. I’m sure the three white men who were also nominated felt that their recognition was a bit slighted, and rightly so. Then the orchestra played Helen Reddy’s girl-power anthem “I Am Woman” as Bigelow walked off the stage, and I wondered when we could stop focusing on her being a female director, and just recognize her as a talented one.

I can’t even get into Sandra Bullock winning. I like her most of her movies well enough, and she seems like a very nice, down-to-earth lady (by celebrity standards, anyway), but she is not an award-winning caliber actress. The fact that she won over Gabourey Sidibe is kind of a crime. So…yeah…she did look pretty, though.

On the whole, I didn’t dislike the ceremony as much as most other critics and movie bloggers did. I thought Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were OK (not the best, though certainly not the worst hosts in Oscar history). I found their stagey awkward banter with the audience at the beginning kind of funny, and the shot of them in a dual Snuggie later on cracked me up. (I still find Snuggie jokes amusing. I will not apologize for that.) I do agree that the night went on way too long and certain elements could have been cut. For example: I was under the impression that the performances of the nominated Best Songs were cut to save time…then some dance troupe unnecessarily performed to the nominated Best Scores. And I’m saying that as a huge fan of musical theater, but the Oscars are not meant to be musical theater.

My advice to the Academy for next year’s show is pretty simple:

  • Go back to only nominating 5 movies for Best Picture. The whole 10 nominees thing was just ridiculous.
  • Start recognizing that comedic actors are worthy of awards, too. Have you not noticed that they’re the only ones who can read from the teleprompter, yet not sound like they are reading from the teleprompter?
  • If you’re questioning whether a particular segment will be a superfluous time suck, then you’ve already answered your question.
  • Get Neil Patrick Harris to host. In fact, all awards shows ever should get him to host. When time travel becomes possible, we should go back in time and have him host past awards shows.

And one last request, but this one is for all the filmmakers out there: Make more compelling movies. 2009 was kind of a weak year for dramatic movies, and until Oscar starts looking at some of the great comedies that come out each year, the dramas really need to step it up.

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