Monday, March 8, 2010

Big win, but no surprise

A couple thoughts about last nights 82nd Oscars.

It is amusing how predictable these can be. Newsweek ran a great piece a few weeks ago about how secretive the balloting is for Academy Awards. Yet, amazingly, Barbara Streisand was asked to present the Best Director award; when was the last time you saw her, or any of the “old guard,” even spotlighted for a second in the audience? I’m not suggesting that the “fix” was in, because Kathryn Bigelow (pictured here) surely deserved the honor, but the Academy had to be thrilled at the prospects of having a woman win in such a male-dominated field (as is cinematography).

I must say I predicted very well this year (not having seen all of the films). Was there a doubt that Sandra Bullock would win for playing the mother of a displaced black boy who under her tutelage would overcome his social limitations to realize his full potential? Or that Mo’Nique would take the Best Supporting Actress prize or that Geoffrey Fletcher would take home the Oscar for best adaptation—the book is part of the film’s title, oddly enough). The Academy loves to pat itself on its collective back for celebrating minorities, when it can. Jaded, I know, but true, I think. That said, both are incredibly deserving.

The only surprise (and my only miss among the big awards) was Best Picture. I was certain the Academy expanded that category to 10 to allow it to thank James Cameron (I guess now (ex) Mr. Bigelow) for making so much money. I didn’t think the film was worthy of winning (entertaining as it was…for a computer game), but I was surprised the Academy agreed.

One of the most competitive categories this year was Original Score. I know my friend Kaya is disappointed that Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes) didn’t take this category, again (nominated eight times now, he did win in 1994 for The Lion King—but should have won in 2000 for Gladiator). Winner Michael Giacchino’s score for Up was wonderful—sweet, lyrical, memorable. Zimmer’s score, though, was just so dynamic, and was the most outstanding, I thought, in the company of the other nominees presented during that wild dance number.

The Oscars, much like the Super Bowl, transcends its actual purpose. Sometime the best team wins the big game, and sometimes deserving artists get their public due.


  1. Thank you for your posting, SAL. I enjoyed reading it! I question the AA's secrecy, too. And thought it was in bad taste for Streisand to be chosen to present the Best Director Award to Ms. Bigelow. I don't remember the details from 20 or more years ago, but it was well known that Streisand tried to win that award again and again for the films she directed--and never did receive Best Director recognition. So, the only nod she gets now is to be the award PRESENTER to the first female director to win the Best Director Award! (Maybe that's why she didn't bother to put on her Oscar gown last night. LOL)
    On another AA topic, I was thinking, too, that the wins by The Hurt Locker are evidence that the independent film is now on equal footing (if not higher) with Hollywood blockbusters and those filmmakers who make them. I think the Academy sent out a message loud and clear: it's a new era; no longer does it take a zillion dollars and "the king of the world" to make a great film.

  2. Could you explain what you mean by lyrical when referencing the score to Up?????? Ha, I'm telling Aaron you used that word!