Grenade. Today, it is all about the 81st Academy Awards. The
Oscars have always been good for some great Blasts & Duds over the
years. Let’s see how this year stacks up:
1. The Academy Selections – I wrote my 2009
Oscar picks a couple of weeks ago, and many of picks came true.
The Academy did not really have a surprise in the bunch. Penelope Cruz
winning for Best Supporting Actress may have been the only winner that could
be classified as a surprise, but not a real big one in my eyes.
2. Kate Winslet – Boy, she made up from her
"so surprised to have won" routine at the Golden Globes. You
are a great actress, Kate, it’s ok, it is not a surprise anymore. I
thought she gave a very good speech, and was classy throughout. Brava!
3. The Presentation of the Acting Awards – Great call by
the Academy to bring back 5 winners from each acting category to present the
awards. You can’t beat seeing people like Robert DeNiro, Sophia Loren,
Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, and so many others was a true tribute to
the screen. I liked how they were able to talk a little about each
performance and it did not feel rushed.
4. India – The Slumdog from Mumbai, became a Hollywood
millionaire on Oscar night. Nominated for 10 Oscars, they took home 8.
And since, there were two nominees for Best Song, they went 8 for 9.
Danny Boyle took home Best Director and Christian Colson sealed the night
with the Best Picture Oscar. Indian music was rewarded with A. R.
Rahman winning for Best Musical Score and Best Song. Slumdog
Millionaire had a fairy tale finish not only on the screen, but on Oscar
5. Jerry Lewis – The Academy rightfully bestowed their
Humanitarian Award for him. While his health may not be at its finest,
his spirit felt strong. I am very glad that they finally got around to
doing this, while this legend of a person is still with us. I only
wish he was able to speak longer.
6. Hugh Jackman – I know people have gone back and
forth on this. I liked how his opening act was not political, but
reached out to just about everyone. While, he certainly was not
as good as Billy Crystal hosting, he did not take away from the awards.
Hugh is an Australian gem. He can host this show anytime, as far
as I am concerned.
7. The Camera Crew & The Stage – Alright, I
won’t be shy, I loved that the camera crew panned to Angelina Jolie &
Brad Pitt while Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black were presenting for
Best Animated Feature. +1 to the camera crew and directors from ABC.
The Stage looked amazing, with that Swarovski crystal curtain. Well
8. – Dustin Lance Black – A well deserved Oscar that was
followed up by a very inspirational speech. It was heartfelt and real.
You could tell he was very nervous, but it was something he needed to get
off his chest. It must have been quite an honor for him to have won
this award for Milk, and to see how Harvey Milk’s story inspired his
own life is very impressive and memorable.
9. – No Music Cut-offs – It was nice that people who won their
awards were not cutoff after 15 seconds of talking by the band.
There should be a time limit, but at least give them a minute or so, to
thank and describe their feelings on one of the biggest nights of their
1. Sean Penn – Ok, ok, we get it, you are America’s
Douchebag. If I ever met Sean Penn, I’d probably shake his hand with
my right hand and want to knock him out with my left hand. He is a
tremendous actor, and while I thought he would finish 2nd for Best Actor; I
was not upset that he was the winner. But, dude, can you leave
political crap at home. It has no place at the Awards.
Republicans are not the devil, and not everything you think is right,
actually is. You could taken a page from your screenwriter, Dustin
Lance Black, on how to give a speech that gives thanks and sends a message
with pride and dignity. Oh, and when you get a chance, could you
remember to thank Harvey Milk, he might have played a part in your victory.
That reminded me of Julia Roberts thanking 4 million people and not even
mentioning Erin Brockovich’s name in her speech.
2 – The Great Unknown – The question we all are left
with in our minds; what if Mickey Rourke had won? No one has any idea
what he would have done had he won Best Actor. We can only guess and
say what is on our minds, but it will always be one of the most unknown
questions in Oscar history.
3. – Ben Stiller – It does not help that I am not really
a big fan of his to begin with, but I did not really think his Joaquin
Phoenix impression was funny.
4. Anne Hathaway – Should be more like Anne
Go-away. First, she is not pretty. Maybe, I am in the minority
here, but I know I am not alone. She has eyebrows reminiscent of Bert
from Sesame Street, a big beak for a nose, and when I see those teeth, I
want to re-do the Go-go’s classic hit, "We’ve Got the Beat," to
"She’s Got Big Teeth." Second, I do not really think
she is that talented as an actress, either.
5. Eddie Murphy – He was not given the easiest
task, but he seemed to have some difficulty reading off the monitors.
I am hoping he is not into any drugs or something else.
6. Beyonce & Queen Latifah – I like both of
them. I just thought their choice of song were questionable. In
the movie Dreamgirls, Jamie Foxx’s character says to Beyonce’s
character, Deena, "You know why I chose you to sing lead? Because your
voice… has no personality. No depth. Except for what I put in there."
While it was just a movie line, there is some truth in it. Beyonce
could not resist throwing in a snip of "At Last". Please,
just leave that to Etta James. As for the Queen, a lovely voice, and
one with depth, but "I’ll Be Seeing You" just did not seem to fit
her, in my opinion.
7. Bill Maher – Straight from the Sean Penn school
of Douchebagness, Bill decided to put a smarmy little comment about his
documentary not being nominated and that people who believe in God are
responsible for the world’s ills. Sorry, Bill, but about 95% of the
people do believe in some form of a God around the world. We all DO
NOT think like you, so please, do not act like we do. I am sure
Bill was so upset that later that night he smoked 3 bowls worth of pot and
had 2 escorts to carry him through his lack of winning an Oscar.
8. In Memoriam Montage – We always like to see and
remember who passed away in the past year in film. The one problem was
that the way it was filmed by the cameras, you could not see some of the
people who died due to bad angles and long distance shots by the cameras.
My overall grade for the 81st Academy Awards is a B-plus. It was
more of a blast than a dud, and it did justice to a very good year in
movies. The ratings were up 13 per cent over last year.