Hey everyone. Well, I screwed up. I stand by my picks as logical predictions, but as Julia pointed out in her most recent posting I lost our Oscar wager a staggering 19-11. This is, incidentally, the worst showing I’ve ever had at predicting the Academy Awards. I look forward to taking my public lashings from the clearly more talented Julia Rhodes. In the meantime, let’s see where I screwed up, shall we?
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – UP
Up is a wonderful film that made me bawl like a baby repeatedly. I have absolutely no animosity whatsoever for Oscar recipient Pete Docter, who I personally believe was screwed out of a previous Oscar for the somewhat underrated Monsters, Inc. I also admittedly bet against the grain in this category, in part because I genuinely prefer Wes Anderson’s delightfully quirky Fantastic Mr. Fox, albeit slightly, and in part because I thought Up might split its vote with its Best Picture nomination. Clearly I was wrong.
BEST ART DIRECTION – AVATAR
I disagree with this award, and perhaps wrongfully thought the Academy would be on my side in this debate. Avatar was certainly a sumptuous visual feast, but if you looked at the artwork presented at the Academy Awards as representative of the recipients’ work, it consisted of practical locations that were all essentially grey office buildings much akin to a typical “Star Trek: The Next Generation” set, or incredible visual wonderlands that were entirely computer generated, an accomplishment which was already rewarded in the Visual Effects category. I overestimated the Academy, although I was touched by the recipients’ acceptance speech.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – AVATAR
Once again, I thought the Academy would be on my side here, seeing as how the Director of Photography here shot the live-action scenes and helped direct the lighting for the CGI elements of the film entirely in post. He did a marvelous job, but I was under the impression that this wasn’t really the same accomplishment as shooting a film practically. The other cinematographers who were nominated had to compensate for practical considerations like, for example, sunlight. The cinematographer of Avatar had the luxury of saying, “That sun’s too bright, and can we move it?”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN – THE YOUNG VICTORIA
Yeah, I should have just bet on the period piece. It was also a good idea to just bet on Sandy Powell, even if her acceptance speech – in which she pointed out that she had two already – ultimately seemed less amusing, which she seemed to be going for, than it did outright ungrateful.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – MUSIC BY PRUDENCE
Well how the hell was I supposed to know?! The director’s acceptance speech – which was hijacked by the film’s producer, with whom he has been involved in a legal battle – was one of the highlights of the evening.
BEST FILM EDITING – THE HURT LOCKER
I’m actually happy that I lost this one, since the more deserving candidate won (I was under the impression that Avatar might take it in a sweep). It’s funny that I lost because I underestimated the Academy.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS
Again, not having seen the nominees I went into this one blind. Best Foreign Language Film is always a tricky one to predict.
BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) – LOGORAMA
Didn’t see the nominees, still a bit surprised that Nick Park actually lost an Oscar. Oh well.
BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE-ACTION) – THE NEW TENANTS
Fair enough. I’m sure it was great.
BEST SOUND EDITING/BEST SOUND MIXING – THE HURT LOCKER
These two really shocked me, as not only do these two awards usually go to bigger productions, but they also usually go to the film the Academy just happens to like the best… which I was under the impression would be Avatar. When I saw The Hurt Locker pick up both sound awards, I knew the Best Picture Oscar was in the bag.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE
First and foremost, I am very upset that when they read the nominees they did not say, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, based on the novel Push by Sapphire.” That would have been awesome. I didn’t think Geoffrey Fletcher’s screenplay for Precious was the most deserving nominee, but it was still fine work and I congratulate him on his win.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – THE HURT LOCKER
I’m actually not a fan of Mark Boal’s screenplay for The Hurt Locker. I appreciate it for its many fine qualities, but I think it’s episodic enough that the pacing lags, I think Jeremy Renner’s protagonist makes enough questionable choices in the second half of the film that it becomes difficult to follow him on his journey, and I think that the end of the film – which goes a long way towards explaining his inexplicable behavior – diminished his character instead of illuminating him. A fine film resulted from his work, and it was indeed a “good” screenplay, but I’m a little bummed by this particular win.
MY OTHER THOUGHTS:
~ Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were fine hosts, funny without ever pandering or insulting either the audience or the people being honored at the Awards. (“That damn Helen Mirren” is probably the funniest gag of the evening.) Class act all around.
~ Neil Patrick Harris’s opening number was, if the rumors are any indication, supposed to be a duet with Martin Short who had to pull out at the last minute. As a result, the solo song about having a partner played a little funny, and not in the ha-ha way.
~ It was damned hypocritical to eliminate the Best Song performances but leave the God Awful interpretive dance medley to all the original scores. All of the dances seemed to have been choreographed in a vacuum, as if the people behind the production number had never seen any of the nominees. In poor taste, and easily the low point of the evening.
~ I appreciated the Oscar’s long overdue tribute to horror cinema, even if Twilight was included. (It’s not horror.) While I was also okay with Jason Voorhees appearing in the montage, using a clip from Friday the 13th 3D was pretty embarrassing, as it’s easily the worst film in the entire franchise.
~ What was up with all the clips showing scenes from the end of their respective movies? Christoph Waltz’s Oscar clip for Best Supporting Actor included a plot point from the last scene in the entire film.
~ I’m elated that Kathryn Bigelow won (although Barbara Streisand appearing to present the award did give the surprise away a bit). She looked like she was going to faint when she won the Best Picture Oscar, and did you see James Cameron shaking his head during one of her acceptance speeches? Classic…
I am a very strong, virile and attractive heterosexual male, but even I have an opinion on the best dressed of the evening. Congratulations to our three way tie of Kate Winslet, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Queen Latifah…!
Whom… I cannot seem to find good pictures of. So instead here’s are pictures of the usually lovely Vera Farmiga, presented here in a dress that looks like an explosion at a napkin factory…
…and of Sarah Jessica Parker in a dress that looks completely normal except for the bustline, which is clearly the designer’s interpretation of the T-1000 getting shot:
I just don’t understand fashion…
William Bibbiani is a highly opinionated film, TV and videogame critic living in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his work at the “California Literary Review” William also contributes articles and criticism to “Geekscape” and “Ranker” and has won multiple awards for co-hosting the weekly Geekscape podcast and for his series of Safe-For-Work satirical pornographic film critiques, “Geekscape After Dark.” He also writes screenplays and, when coerced with sweet, sweet nothings, occasionally acts in such internet series as “Bus Pirates” and “Heads Up with Nar Williams.” A graduate of the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media, William sometimes regrets not pursuing a career in what he refers to as “lawyering” so that he could afford luxuries like food and shoes.
William can be found on both the Xbox Live and Playstation Network as GuyGardner2814, and on Twitter as – surprisingly – WilliamBibbiani.