Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Few Quick Thoughts About Oscar

Basically, it was another dull, predictable show with awful direction. As host, Hugh Jackman was fine, but it seems as though most of the post-Crystal hosts have had very little to do after the opening bit. He seemed to be having a good time at least, and I thought he handled the opening number very well. I was more impressed with Anne Hathaway, an actress who hasn't interested me much, but showed good humor and a decent voice with Jackman in the opening piece.

Direction was quite bad. Many shots were taken from far above the audience, much too far from the stage. In particular, the In Memorium piece was messed up. You had to squint to see Cyd Charisse's tribute, and the entire presentation seemed to have been created to entertain the 1000 people in the Kodak Theater, not the millions watching at home.

I did very well with my Oscar picks, and the only major award I missed was Best Actor. I really thought Mickey Rourke had the Big Mo heading into the night, but the Academy must have feared a Rourke acceptance speech. That said, Sean Penn's speech was one of the best of the night...who would have guessed? Of course, I would have liked to have seen Richard Jenkins win, 'cause you gotta root for a talented journeyman in a situation like that. He was very good in THE VISITOR, but I can't imagine who would pay $12 to see what is basically a made-for-TV movie.

I love the idea of having five past winners on stage to announce winners, but it would be nice if they would go back past a decade to find them (okay, I'm exaggerating, but not a lot). The really bad part is having them speak directly to the nominee. In some cases, like when Kate Winslet had to listen to some ingenue that no one remembers give her a pep talk about acting, it comes across as very condescending. On the other hand, Shirley Maclaine's speech to Anne Hathaway was very good. I wonder whether she wrote it herself. It sounded more natural than the others. At any rate, the nominees seemed to enjoy it, probably because it was a moment in the spotlight, win or lose.

The Seth Rogan/James Franco PINEAPPLE EXPRESS bit was good. The Academy's recent insistence upon trotting out young unknowns to present awards sadly continues. Seriously, do we need to see performers from TWILIGHT and HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 at the Oscars? And Doris Day is at home with nothing to do, probably.

I think this is the first time I've ever seen Jerry Lewis with little energy. I was relieved that he was classy about his Jean Hersholt Award. You never know when the guy is going to say something stupid. Maybe he was too weak to act up, I don't know. Such an interesting guy. For someone who is as much of a jackass as he often seems to be, he certainly deserves to be honored for his work with MDA, even if it's difficult to reconcile the two sides of Jerry.

On my recent L.A. trip, I climbed those steps to the Kodak Theater, so it was fun to see it on TV.

4 comments:

Samuel Wilson said...

The Best Actor category was the only one that really interested me, since I haven't seen many 2008 movies but I did think that both Penn and Rourke were very good. I suspect that Penn benefited from ticket-splitting, this being the way the Academy could honor Milk, while Rourke suffered less from his personality or the embarrassment of his aborted real-life wrestling gig than from the fact that The Wrestler didn't really have a "ticket" apart from him and Marisa Tomei. About the show itself I can't judge, since I didn't watch it.

Bruce said...

I grew up seeing Richard Jenkins doing local theater at Trinty Rep in Providence. So even though I knew he was not going ot win I was still hopeful.

John Glenn Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Glenn Taylor said...

In particular, the In Memorium piece was messed up. You had to squint to see Cyd Charisse's tribute, and the entire presentation seemed to have been created to entertain the 1000 people in the Kodak Theater, not the millions watching at home.

You said it, brother! My girlfriend and I both thought the same thing. It looked to me like the cameraman was trying to emulate the movements of a disembodied spirit at his own memorial service.