Monday, March 08, 2010

Oscar Observations

Last night I had some friends over to watch the 82nd Academy Awards. It was a fun night. As usual, I had a ballot for folks to fill out and a prize for the person who picked the most winners. (This year’s prize went to Greg!)

Above: The gang's all here! From left: John, Jairo, Bob, Gail, Kathleen,
Daniel, Freeman, Phil, Joey, Greg, Michael, Joe, Roman, and Greg.

Above: Bob, Jairo, and John complete their Oscar ballots.

Above: The host with the most!

Of the ten films nominated for Best Picture, I’d only seen three (Avatar, Up, and District 9). One thing I always appreciate about the Oscars is that they motivate me to actually go see various films that I’d missed in the past year. I particularly want to see Precious, The Hurt Locker, Crazy Heart, Bright Star, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The White Ribbon, and The Last Station.

As impressed by Avatar as I was, I was glad it didn’t win Best Picture. From everything I’ve read, it seems that The Hurt Locker was a worthy winner. Avatar certainly deserved the various special effects awards that it won, and I appreciate the important themes and issues that it raises – such as xenophobia, militarism, corporate greed, and environmentalism. But, to be honest, most of these are also present in District 9, but presented and explored with more grit and complexity. Basically, I just found a lot of Avatar to be distractingly simplistic.

Many in attendance at my Oscar Night Gathering were surprised by Sandra Bullock’s win for Best Actress in a Leading Role (for The Blind Side). I think most of us were thinking the award would go to Gabourey Sidibe for Precious. Only one person present had actually seen The Blind Side, and he considered Bullock a worthy winner.

I certainly thought her acceptance speech was one of the better ones of the evening, and especially liked it when she thanked her mother for “reminding her daughters that there’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love.”

I haven’t much else to say about this year’s Oscars – except that . . .

. . . Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number - complete with dancing girls and boys - was great, and a wonderful surprise. (The guy should’ve hosted the entire show!) As one critic observed: “It wouldn’t be an awards show at this point without NPH (who received rave reviews for his hosting gigs at both the Tonys and the Emmys). He got the Oscar crowd nice and warmed up for [hosts Steve] Martin and [Alec] Baldwin.”

. . . it’s always good to see Helen Mirren (right) and Meryl Streep – such classy women!

. . . oh, and that Jake Gyllenhaal is one beautiful man! Although he wasn’t nominated for anything this year, he did present the award for Best Adapted Screenplay to Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious.

Above: John, Jairo, Bob, Kathleen, and Dale.

Above: With my friend John.

Recommended Off-site Links:
2010 Oscars: Complete List of Winners
The Hurt Locker Earns Best Picture Academy Awards - Associated Press (March 8, 2010).
Out of Obscurity: The Hurt Locker is a Case in Study - Scott Bowles (USA Today, March 8, 2010).
The Story Behind the Oscar’s Weird “Lady Kayne” Moment - Lindsay Robertson (Yahoo News, March 8, 2010).
Top Five Best and Worst Oscar Moments - Mike Ryan (Yahoo News, March 8, 2010).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Oscar Observations (2009)
Five Oscar Highlights (2008)
A Gay Ol’ Time


crystal said...

I wished that Avatar had won, but I haven't seen The Hurt Locker or District 9 yet, so maybe that would change my mind. I do agree with you about Jake Gyllenhaal :)

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi, Crystal!

So good to hear from you.

I definitely recommend that you check out District 9. I think you'd appreciate and enjoy it.

And, yes, Jake's a cutey, to be sure. I also have a bit of a thing for Colin Farrell! And then, of course, there's Hans!