Well, it's that time of year again, and I know all five of my readers are just dying to know my thoughts on tonight's Oscar ceremony.
First of all, a little logistics. I correctly guessed 14 of the 24 categories. Also, there were four categories for which I predicted Avatar would win but went to The Hurt Locker instead, or vice versa. This was not my best record by a long shot, but I also went in much less educated on some of the lesser known categories than in previous years.
--The "conceited" interplay between hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was fun, though they did very little once they got the shared opening monologue out of the way.
--I liked that the nominated scores got a good showing, and the dance routines that accompanied each selection were fun.
--I do think it's cool that a woman has finally won Best Director, and like even better that she did it with a movie that isn't a "woman's movie" (something like Sex and the City).
--I was happy to see that the narratively mediocre Avatar failed to win both Best Picture and Best Director. Of course, now I really need to see The Hurt Locker. It may be my favorite movie from last year that I haven't seen yet.
--I am happy that the Academy has recognized Michael Giacchino for his score for Up. Now they just need to give one to Thomas Newman.
--There was no dry, boring, and excessively long speech from the president of the Academy that always brings the show to a screeching halt. Even the members of the Academy sitting in the audience always seem to find it tedious.
--What is up with the wall of lamp shades backdrop they used off and on throughout the evening?
--I actually haven't seen very many of the nominees or winners, with The Hurt Locker, Ing. Bas., The Blind Side, and Precious: BotNPbS being the most glaring omissions, so there are very few awards that I actually feel strongly about one way or another.
--Yes, Up got Best Animated Feature and was actually nominated for Best Picture (only the second animated film to do that) but would the academy really suffer a major hemorrhage if an animated film won Best Picture? Or even a screenwriting award?
--The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus transported me into a world of wonder far more effectively than Avatar did, so I was very disappointed (though not terribly surprised) that Avatar won Best Art Direction. I also preferred District 9's gritty, realistic visual effects to Avatar's over-polished, unreal, cartoonish visuals.
--With Roger Corman getting an honorary Oscar, I was hoping to be treated to a string of b-movie clips (complete with endless shots of rock climbing), but unfortunately they presented the honorary awards in a ceremony yesterday, giving us only an extremely brief summary of it.
--Once again they took ten minutes to personally gush over the nominees for Best Actor and Actress, and yet hardly showing any clips of the performances that actually got them in the auditorium in the first place. I have always felt that the most important Oscar is Best Picture, the second-most important one is Best Director, and then there is a 22-way tie for third place. Doing this puts far too much emphasis on the actors. At least they didn't do it with the supporting performances like they did last year.
Overall I think this will go down as a rather unmemorable show. Nothing incredibly great happened (like Return of the King going 11 for 11), nothing wonderfully silly happened (like Whoopie Goldberg's parade of costumes), and nothing outrageously awful happened (like Happy Feet taking Best Animated Feature).