Sunday, February 22, 2009
In what has now officially become a tradition (with this being the 2nd consecutive year!) the Bad Idea Oscar live blog is taking effect. Who will be the big winner tonight? Benjamin Button was tedious and boring despite outstanding effects. Milk and Frost/Nixon both took a couple HUGE flawed dramatic liberties in their scripts which cheapened the overall effect of each film. Slumdog Millionaire won the highly coveted title of "only best picture nominee I would watch more than one time," which means it is best picture by attrition. Criticism at it's finest! On with the grammar errors, misspellings, and the show...
7:30 Central Standard Time - Hugh Jackman is your host. While the Grammy Awards recently went without a central host, instead relying on younger commercially viable pop artists to appeal to the younger demographic, the Academy Awards have decided that their demographic is your mom, and believe me, by the time the show is done, your mom will shocked by how versatile and talented Hugh Jackman is!
Cue the opening dance number. And the economy jokes. Ugh. Hugh Jackman has the kind of smarmy musical shtick that makes you think, "He seems like a total hack, and yet I feel oddly persuaded to buy a monorail from him."
7:43 - We're 13 minutes into the show and we're already on our second standing ovation of the night. Keep this in mind later when some production designer is getting cut off 30 seconds into their speech.
One of the great things about the Oscars is that moment when you see someone in attendance and think "Holy Shit! He/she actually won an Oscar at some point!" Case in point: Whoopi Goldberg. What a career path. Could you imagine 15 years from now watching Cate Blanchett spend her days on a daytime talk show debating the economy with some reality-show burnout?
7:48 - Penelope Cruz is a trend setter. Making out with Scarlett Johansson=Oscar gold! Take note, actresses of Hollywood.
7:55 - Milk wins best original screenplay. I really liked this movie, with the huge exception of the implication that Josh Brolin's character was a closet case. Not only is there no basis for this being true, but it was the one aspect of the film that felt contrived and cheap, not to mention being completely unnecessary to make the script work. That said, the acceptance speech is nicely done.
8:01 - Is Benjamin Button the laziest screenplay to ever get nominated? Perhaps not, but it's in the conversation. It's almost as if that guy had already written the film years before... Luckily, Slumdog wins the bald man here.
8:09 - Did you have money on a Styx lyric being referenced during an acceptance speech? If so, thank the short animation winner for your glorious windfall.
8:19 - What is with the background music while the art and costume awards are being given out? Did this ceremony get moved from a theatre to a jazz club?
8:24 - Benjamin Button justifiably wins best makeup. What struck me most visually about this film is that the old wrinkled Brad Pitt looks impressively authentic - it's really only when Pitt gets young that he gets creepy and synthetic looking.
8:25 - Cue the "romance in movies" montage set to Coldplay. Let's face it, no other band would work here. This idea is great - the people who are putting together the Oscars have the same ambition and creativity as 14-year-old girls with iMovie who edit their own Gossip Girl montages for YouTube. OSCARZ 4EVER!!!
8:31 - You knew the Joaquin Phoenix joke was coming at some point. Fastball down the middle, Ben Stiller. "I just want to retire from being funny." I believe you just did. Booyah! To be honest, I'm probably just spoiled because a far funnier play on this aired during the Independent Spirit Awards over the weekend. When does the Christian Bale parody take place tonight?
8:39 - Jessica Biel refers to animator Ed Catmull as "God." He's not really God, although if he were a failed sci-fi writer as opposed to just an animator, a significant portion of the attendees would likely regard him as a God.
8:42 - I'm sorry, but I can't take Seth Rogen seriously as his Pineapple Express character when he's now half the size he was in the movie. Luckily, I could watch James Franco's character for hours so it evens out.
Rogen loses his shit when Franco can't spit out the German name of the live action short winner, and I can't figure out why I find this moment so hilarious. I just rewinded this three times to watch the giggles. I'd like to think that were I ever presenting an award, I would also use the occasion to laugh at my friends in front of millions.
8:51 - Hugh Jackman is wearing a tux, top hat, and Madonna-style face mic, which means more dancing. At this moment, he's one monocle away from playing Mr. Peanut.
Beyonce appears to minimal applause. Don't think she's just gonna let that shit slide, America. She will not be winning an Oscar for best lip-syncing tonight, but who cares - everyone is just waiting to get to the Abba section of the song.
9:05 - It's best supporting actor time, though there's no suspense over who's winning this. What is going on with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his knit hat? Is he preparing for some period piece set in Seattle circa 1991?
Back to the award. Remember when you first heard that the Joker was coming back as a character for The Dark Knight? It seemed baffling to re-create a character that had been portrayed in an iconic performance so recently, didn't it? The greatest testament to Heath Ledger is that he took a role that was already ingrained in so many people's psyche thanks to Jack Nicholson, and not only re-invented it, but in fact left Nicholson's performance in the dust. Stunning.
9:13 - Bill Maher plugs his own terrible documentary before giving out an award to an legitimately great doc, Man On Wire. If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out and you should fix this flaw as soon as possible. Philippe Petit is styling with a suit he apparently stole from the set of Life on Mars.
9:23 - The "action in movies" montage. There sure were a lot of cars wrecked and people punched in 2008. I only wish both had happened to Speilberg and Lucas before the Indiana Jones movie got made.
Will Smith has apparently taken over the show. He also just said "Boom goes the dynamite."
9:42 - Jerry Lewis gets the humanitarian award, and - WAIT! Again with the fucking Coldplay soundtrack on the Jerry Lewis tribute video?!? Did somebody put Gwyneth Paltrow in charge of music selection for this show?
9:54 - Slumdog keeps cleaning up, winning for both music score and original song. A.R. Rahman has to walk like 4 steps to get his second award, which seems like it should be a record for shortest acceptance walk.
HOLLYWOOD FUN FACT: Since it looks like Slumdog Millionaire is going to dominate the night, it seems appropriate to point out that this movie was scheduled to be a straight-to-DVD release when Warner Independent went under, and company execs thought it had no commercial viability. Amazing. I wish the dance numbers tonight went straight-to-DVD.
10:10 - It appears that the "In Memoriam" tribute is running with the audience applause microphones significantly lowered, even though the rumor earlier was that the applause was going to be muted completely from the telecast. But let's face it, we all knew Paul Newman was going to win running away. Nobody's touching Cool Hand Luke.
10:20 - Best director. Is there any filmmaker who seems more genuinely likable than Danny Boyle? The accent and dishevelled look play a huge part of course, as does the fact that he's responsible for the once of the greatest/most horrrific breakfast table scenes in modern cinema.
Here come the two heavyweight battles. Winslet vs Streep, and Penn vs Rourke. But first, more standing ovations for the presenters!
10:32 - Kate Winslet wins for a Holocaust movie, which means one thing: Ricky Gervais is a genius. As if you needed more proof. FACT:
HOLLYWOOD FUN FACT: The Wrestler was the best movie I saw all year. And in true industry fashion, Darren Aronofsky originally was only able to secure financing by replacing Mickey Rourke with Nicolas Cage. Nicolas Cage! Can you imagine such a debacle! And if Aronofsky hadn't held his ground (and subsequently lost all his funding), Nicolas Cage would have played the part! These are the problems the film industry should be focusing on rather than worrying about who's pirating copies of Tropic Thunder.
10:43 - Sean Penn edges out Rourke, which frankly bums me out. But he mentions Rourke in his speech, so he's back in my good graces. At least to an extent (my resentment of Sean Penn has very little to do with his political screeds, and much more with I Am Sam. Those woulds linger.)
10:52 - The coronation of Slumdog is complete with the best picture win. Disappointingly, the Oscar broadcast does not end with a stylized Bollywood dance sequence. But it does end with an oddly selected cover of Bob Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" performed by Beck. Interesting choice there. Was a Coldplay song unavailable?
Be here this time next year, and call Vegas as quickly as possible with your 2010 bets, while you still have good odds on Night at the Museum 2.