Post Oscar Haze

8 March 2010

It is sad that one of the few highlights of last night’s Oscarcast was the opening number by the extremely talented Neil Patrick Harris, and he wasn’t even hosting. NPH’s song and dance was legen – wait for it –

The hosting duties fell to Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. On paper it looked like a great pairing; in reality it like a sandbag falling from the rafters. This year 10 movies were nominated and because of that the usual Original Song number was cut but they kept the interpretive dance number to keep the Hollywood gays watching. As for the winners it went mostly as expected with few surprises. As for my bold predictions, the irony is that I am now a writer and missed the writing categories. At least I got the best supporting actress category, which I always miss.

The show as usual, was long and boring. The hosts were tame and provided no spark. The opening monologue was a giant reach around to those nominated. There was a time when the monologue was more like a roast but apparently those in Hollywood have fragile egos and don’t like to be made fun of in front of their peers. Let them get real jobs where bosses berate employees on a daily basis and there is nothing they can do about it.

The ten nominated pictures meant ten re-caps which took up too much time and eliminated the original song performances. Too bad, this usually the only time in the show that the artists nominated can actually show their talents. Who can forget Isaac Hayes playing the “Theme from Shaft” or Neil Young singing “Streets of Philadelphia”? Too bad, I would have liked to see Dr. John or T-Bone Burnett sing their nominated songs.

The highlight of the night was the moving tribute to writer/director John Hughes. No one in the last century captured what it is like to be a teenager better than Hughes. His movies are monuments that all should be required to visit. When I watch his movies I feel that he was in my high school taking notes. I didn’t go to school with any Ferris Buellers but there were more than a few John Benders, Brian Johnsons, Claire Standishes, Duckies, Steffs and Gary & Wyatts. Sadly, there were not enough Lisas to be found.  Though, I don’t have the girth of John Candy, to my nieces and nephews I am the embodiment of Uncle Buck, for good or ill.

On the flip side, the low point, other than the monologue was the interpretive dance number. Look, I know the dancers are talented but they don’t belong on the Oscar telecast. One has to wonder if there is a contract signed in blood that there has to be a dance number. What a colossal waste of time.

Speaking of waste, every movie advertised as coming out in the next month looks atrocious, especially the one with Miley Cyrus. And why was she on the show? She is big with the under 13-year-old set but not with the Hollywood elite. What was she wearing? She looked like a prom date with little class. She’s only 17-years-old, please dress like it.

The “In Memoriam” segment seemed to be missing two actresses: Bea Arthur and Farrah Fawcett. Though both are primarily known for television, they did have significant film careers. Apparently, the segment was running long so they had to cut out two people. Note to Hollywood folks, don’t die and you won’t be cut out of the segment.

My picks were actually spot on, except for the ones I missed, the writing categories. How can a writer miss those? I am not proud of it. My niece Margaret got the best animated feature category correct again and thus earns the right to come back next year.

As for the winners, most were deserved, except Sandra Bullock who won a Razzie earlier in the weekend for worst actress in “All about Steve.” I thought everything she did last night was calculated and contrived.  Jeff Bridges win as best actor was the culmination of a great career. Earlier in the weekend he won the Independent Spirit Award and ended his speech by saying, “this award really ties the room together,” a nod to his most famous role in “The Big Lebowski.” I would have liked to see him do something similar last night but I guess it would have been too hip for the room. I thought Mo’nique’s win was well-earned but her little jibe about performance over politics seems out of place considering The Oprah’ was campaigning for her.

The big winner was the small movie “The Hurt Locker.” It is the lowest grossing film to win best picture ($14 million), beating out this highest grossing film of all-time, “Avatar” ($720 million). The back story of director Kathryn Bigelow, and her ex-husband James Cameron added to the tension. Even better, Bigelow was seated in front of Cameron – awkward. Rather than a movie that was pro- or anti-war, “The Hurt Locker” focuses on one individual, an adrenalin junkie, who thrives on the pressure of diffusing IED’s. Not many people saw it which is too bad. One would think that with this award the movie will either be re-released or the DVD sales and rentals will be huge.

Much has been said and written about Hollywood rewarding small movies over big and popular ones. A lot of this criticism comes from the folks who think Glenn Beck is a moderate. I understand their criticism but wish to counter with this, find the smaller movies and judge them for yourself. “The Hurt Locker” and “Precious” were in limited release but they were released. If your market doesn’t get them, talk to the manager of the multiplex and ask him why? Surely they can book an indie film into one screen of the 24 that they have. Not all screens need to show “Did You Hear about the Morgans?”

So that’s a wrap. I need to return the tux before I incur a late fee.

– dary! (Go back and re-read the post, it’ll make sense.)

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