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4:25 pm - Sun 2.22.2009
The 2009 Oscars

The 2009 Oscars

Well, I'm actually kind of surprised (and disappointed, to be honest) that I'm here - I assumed I'd be at Jen and Molly's tonite, doing the usual Sunday dinner thing, with an "Oscar" twist.

I mean, we're actors, after all - We're going to get together every Sunday...except on Oscar night?

But I was on Facebook earlier, chatting with Meaghan (A fellow Sunday night dinner regular), and she got a text from Jen while we were chatting saying nothing was happening tonite (I assume they opted to relax from their usual Sunday night hosting duties to attend someone else's Oscar party).

So, I'm a little disappointed to be watching by myself...but, it's better than how I've spent many Oscar telecasts, when I was at work (First at Borders, then at ArcLight) while the rest of the world tuned in to the show.

I'm debating what to do next here...

I guess I'll try "blogging" about the show. At least see if I have anything vaguely interesting or funny to say about the proceedings.

(Almost time for the show...)

Watching the red-carpet stuff, I was really struck by what a high-pressure situation this has to be for the women, having the whole world passing judgment on your "fashion sense" (Or lack of same).


I thought Hugh Jackman got off to a good start; I'm really okay with them not going with a straight-on comedian as host, but instead, with a multi-talented theater actor.

Liked having former "Supporting Actress" winners introducing this year's nominees.

(I'm totally cool with Penelope Cruz winning for Vicky Christina Barcelone, cause was she great...though it means I'm getting off to a bad start on JS's "Pick Your Oscar Favorites" contest, for the prize of a Blu-Ray dvd player; I picked Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.)


Funny intro for the screenwriting awards (I'm assuming penned by Martin).

(I haven't seen Frozen River OR Happy-Go-Lucky...OR In Bruges...but I did see Milk...and Wall-E.)

Did I vote for Milk...? I hope so...or I'm pretty sure I'm already out of the running for the DVD player (Nice acceptance speech by...Good grief - I didn't even catch the guy's name...! But I totally agree with his sentiments).

Simon Beaufoy winning "Adapted Screenplay" for Slumdog Millionaire. I'm down with that (Why didn't I make a copy of my nominations...?) - I imagine it bodes pretty well for "Slumdog" winning "Best Picture", and maybe Danny Boyle for "Best Director" as well.

(Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black - the first presenter thing that hasn't really "worked", IMO.)

I didn't see many animated films this year - Wall-E and Horton Hears A Who were pretty much it (Though that said, I have to say that Wall-E was one of my favorite movie experiences of 2008).

...and Wall-E wins! Yay!

"Best Animated Short Film"...short of film festivals, who sees these? The only one I saw was Presto, which I think aired before Wall-E.



Damn, that Hugh Jackman is a good-looking fella...!

"Art Direction"...I think I just voted for Dark Knight for all the technical awards, because what do I know about technical awards?

(But I think Dark Knight might get a lot of tech awards, to make up for its "Best Picture" snub.)

Except for this award...which just went to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Which I hope I voted for for "Best Makeup" at least).

"Costume" - The Duchess.

I'm kicking myself for not going with this one - how could you not? - but again, I can't even remember what I did vote for ("A movie that was not 'The Duchess'", basically).

"Makeup" -I think it'll be "Benjamin Button", but I think it should be Hellboy II.

...and "Benjamin Button" it is.

(Which made me nervous with some of its makeup effects - We're getting closer and closer to Hollywood being able to synthesize actors entirely.)

...and I'm missing what award Amanda Seyfriend and Robert Pattinson are presenting.

The "romantic movie" montage isn't really working for me - they're doing too many films too quickly, so nothing is having an impact.

Natalie Portman and Ben Jaochin (sp?) Phoenix beard from "Letterman" (Not really working for me, but they seem to be enjoying it "in the room").

"Best Cinematography"...Slumdog Millionaire.

(Okay, now I'm sure I'm not winning the Blu-Ray dvd player...but that's okay. Those Blu-Ray discs are expensive!)

Clearly it's going to be a "Slumdog" kind-of-night, and I'm fine with that - "Slumdog" was one of the highlights of my movie year, for sure.

Jessica Biel announcing that Edgar Katmo (sp?) won a special Oscar technical award for his work in motion-capture technology.

My response? "That Jessica Biel sure is pretty..." (Imagine a "Goofy"-esque voice, and you've pretty much there).


James Franco and Seth Rogan doing their Pineapple Express characters, in a "tribute" to the movies that didn't get Oscar noms - meh.

"Best Live Short" - I wish it was like "in the old days", when you'd go to the movies and there'd be a cartoon and a short subject before the feature; again, I'm wondering who, outside of film festivals, ends up seeing these "short subject" films. And that's kind of a shame. But anyway...

...I think I actually voted for the winner, oddly enough ("Toyland"). If so, I think it's my first "win" of the evening.


Great number with Hugh Jackman and Beyonce...! Though again, it had a bit of an A.D.D. feel to me (But maybe that's just me being old). I'm really approving of Hugh Jackman as host, keeping the lame jokes to a minimum, but having the chops to actually perform on stage.

"Best Supporting Actor"

I like having the former "Best Supporting" winners introducing the nominees.

(Oh, That's Michael Shannon - I keep seeing the name in print, and didn't realize I knew who he was...)

Gotta assume Heath Ledger will win this one...

...and he does.

It really was a fantastically entertaining piece of work (I'm a "Batman" fan, and it was, in my mind, a "Joker" for the ages); I liked what he did in Brokeback Mountain quite a bit, but hadn't really given him that much thought as an actor. But after "Dark Knight", I really did feel a terrible sadness, that we're never going to get to see what else Ledger might have done, the performance was just that good.


The bit on documentaries just made me think "Why didn't I see more documentaries this year...?". It may sound corny, but I almost feel a responsibility, to support this kind of filmmaking, but also to "expand my mind" more.

...and the winner? Man On Wire, one of only two documentaries I did see this year (And one I heartily recommend, to anyone with a dream).

(Nice theatrics from Philip Petit during his "thank you" speech...)

"Smile Pinki", the documentary "short subject" winner, is about "The Smile Train", doctors who do cleft palate surgeries in poor countries; it's a charity I'll be happy to donate generously to, as soon I quit being one step from a charity case myself.


Damn, Hugh Jackman is good-looking...! If he didn't seem like a pretty cool guy, it would kind of piss me off.

The "action movie" montage left me a little cold for some reason.

"Visual Effects"..."Benjamin Button".

(Damn...looks like "Dark Knight" is going to get shut out entirely, save for Heath Ledger.)

"Sound Editing" - My friend Tim F. makes a good argument for Wall-E, since much of the story is told without dialogue.

...but Dark Knight wins its second Oscar of the evening.

"Sound Mixing"...I can't really explain to you how this differs from "Sound Editing", though I'm guessing you "mix" first, then edit the result.

...and another win for "Slumdog". Wasn't really expecting a lot of wins for "Slumdog" beyond "Best Picture" and "Best Director". Which shows you how much I know about anything.

I think Hollywood just has a really good feeling about "Slumdog" this year.

"Editing"...I don't know..."Slumdog"?

...and "Slumdog" it is.

I bet editing is like acting - It's the showy stuff that wins prizes, while the stuff that doesn't draw attention to itself, and is seamless, makes it all look too easy...and thus, gets ignored.


Eddie Murphy presenting the Jean Hersholt "Humanitarian Award" to Jerry Lewis.

Never been a Jerry Lewis fan - It's just not my kind of humor - and I became even less of one when I realized what an unpleasant person he is (Though he's done a lot of good, certainly more than I ever have. Gotta give him that).

Kind of surprised he hasn't won this award earlier, to be honest.


Zac Ephron and Alicia Keys presenting "Best Score" makes me feel really old-fogeyish...

...and "Slumdog" wins again.

(I've always sucked at picking "Oscar" winners, for some reason - It's just hard to know how to "handicap" them, or whether I should try, or just "go with my gut"; Usually I split the difference...and someone else wins the pool...or this year, the dvd player.)

Watching the "Best Song" performances...coming late to the "Bollywood Musical" party, but every since they did a "Bollywood" number on So You Think You Can Dance, seeing a couple YouTube videos, and now with "Slumdog", I have to say, it's really entertaining stuff.

(Alicia Keys is gorgeous...!)

...and "Slumdog" wins again, for "Jai Ho" (Which was really catchy).

While I think this has been a pretty decent telecast - not a lot of clunky "comedy bits", and some really nice musical numbers - I haven't really enjoyed the montages (In the past, I've often been genuinely moved by them - to the point where it made me proud to want to do what I want to do - but this year, not so much).

But it's hard for this not to come off as something of a slog, no matter how well-paced it is; there's just too much to get through, and frankly, who cares about most of the awards?


"Foreign Film" (I haven't seen a single one, which makes me feel guilty and provincial - I should be more of a "student" of world film than I am).

...and the winner is Departure from Japan, which means nothing to me.


Queen Latifah, singing "I'll be seeing you", accompanying the "In Memorial" montage...

Roy Scheider, Charlton Heston, Sydney Pollack, Paul Newman...where was George Carlin?

(I hated the graphics - I'm watching on a regular-sized tv, and I couldn't read who half the people were; if we're really honoring these people, their names should be front-and-center. But anyway...)

Reese Witherspoon announcing "Best Director"...I like her. And I'm glad we're onto the "big" awards.

...and Danny Boyle for "Slumdog".

I'm okay with that. I'm no more of an "expert" than anyone else, but it did seem like he accomplished a pretty gargantuan task with corralling all the disparate elements that make up "Slumdog" into a coherent, and moving, whole.

"Best Actress"...I'd like to see Anne Hathaway win, but I don't think that's gonna happen - I think it's Kate Winslett's year (For the record, I haven't seen The Reader...or Frozen River...or Changling. What did I see this year...?)

...and, not shockingly, Kate Winslet wins. It seems to have been agreed upon that it's "her time".

I like her quite a bit, but even with that being the case (And understanding that there's a lot of nudity in the film), the movie just sounds not-that-good to me.

The "Best Actor" past winners just came out - Man, I'd really like to join that club!

(I wonder - how did they decide which "Best Actor" got which nominee? Did they get to pick? Did they draw names out of a hat? Did they even see the film in question? I'm just curious...)

...and Sean Penn wins for Milk.

I'm pleased for him - I like Sean Penn - and pleased that it provides a moral counterpoint to recent real-life events.

"Best Picture"...Slumdog Millionaire.

Like I said before, I really enjoyed "Slumdog".

I think the very first appeal of movies to me was that they depicted a world where, despite whatever went wrong, however far the gulf between where you were and where you wanted to be, things would "work out" in the end.

Life, and movies, may have gotten more complicated in the intervening years, but I'm still powerfully attracted to the idea that things "work out", that if you're a good person and you stick it out and do your best and never give up hope, a "happy ending" is possible.

Just like in the movies.

So, while I don't know if "Slumdog" really is the "Best Picture" of the year - how do you judge such things, really? - I'm happy that it won, because it reminded me why I fell in love with movies (And acting) in the first place.


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