Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Recap

So last night's festivities had some interesting moments and a few boring patches but as always we can find something useful to learn. Hugh Jackman tried his best to be a great host, but was hampered by a poorly executed production. He is a throwback to vaudeville performers but he has the looks of a leading man and can pull off playing an action hero convincingly. The format of having the previous Best Actor/Actress Winners to flank the new winner gets a big thumbs up!! Next year they need to allow blogger access so we can have an insider take.

Kate Winslet for Best Actress:

Finally!! She is one my favorites and should have won for any number of roles. Everything is political in Hollywood. She's always marched to be the beat of her own inner drummer but has been allowed the space to shine. I always liked the fact she didn't look like a typical cookie cutter Hollywood star but I suspect she's felt like somewhat of an outsider for some reason. I always admired her ability to lay herself bare literally and figuratively on screen. 

Sean Penn For Best Actor:
I called it early and decisively. I know people were rooting for Mickey Rourke but he's won a slew of awards this season and now has his career back. In the year of Prop 8 I knew the Academy would give the nod to Penn. He is one of the best actors of his generation. I will always think of him fondly for going to NOLA and rescuing people when our own government couldn't be bothered. He also was very gracious in his win by acknowledging Rourke. Kudos to Penn! 
"For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support," Sean Penn said in his acceptance speech for actor in a leading role last night at the Oscars. "We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

They Didn't Win an Award But Hopefully Their Careers Will Continue to Soar:

Viola Davis & Taraji P. Hensen - They looked fabulous!
Of course some of that is up to us, the viewing public. Blacks make up more than 1/3 the movie ticket buying audience. If people voted with their dollars there wouldn't be a question about why Black actresses aren't getting enough work and the quality of films being made. I'm not necessarily advocating they have to be done with 100% Black participation either. We just need a variety of stories that also uplift as well as entertain instead of the coonery and idiocy we see. I'd go so far as to say a lot of the usual suspects who do get projects done right now are the very ones that need to be pushed to the side in favor of real diversity. No more Big Mommas/Madeas and their ilk!!!!!

The One Ray of Light and Class During the Ceremony
Queen Latifah singing the memorial tribute to those who've departed was a stroke of genius. She looked and sounded great. It was very tastefully done and such a contrast to the spectacle of the big music mash-up from earlier. 

The Comeback Guy
2009 is the year for Mickey Rourke career-wise. I hope he makes good use of this lightning in a bottle moment. Wouldn't we all just love a big second chance? I was watching the Barbara Walters Special afterwards and he spoke about abandonment and anger and how he allowed those hurts to take over his life. It pretty much ruined his career. Now after going to therapy and working through his issues he was able to move forward. He had a few people in his life who still believed in him and the therapist allowed him to seek treatment and pay him later. He took every opportunity that was available and pulled himself out of that pit he'd been in.

Young Starlet Has Career Highs and Personal Lows
Anne Hathaway surprised a lot of people during the ceremony with her lovely singing voice. Getting a nomination is practically a career win for most. She was on the verge of becoming tabloid fodder over the criminal activities of her ex-boyfriend. She too was interviewed by Walters and said she's learned that love is not only about giving...but receiving. Ah reciprocity. It's something we should all expect out of our relationships. 

The Little Movie That Could
Love it or hate it but Slumdog Millionaire had an Oscar sweep for a reason. I thought the child actors were absolutely adorable in the film, especially the youngest ones. Although some find the plot somewhat derogatory and paternalistic - and really who's going to argue against that perspective - I think triumph over adversity is a universal theme that always has mass appeal. And who doesn't love the idea of finding "true" love? Besides, it was much less contrived than Crash. Now some of those less fortunate have an opportunity to survive and thrive! I had my best moments reading messages on Twitter during the ceremony anyway. The children have been promised continued financial assistance. 

The Inevitable Low Notes
Did I already mention that horrid musical number? **Thank you Cuba Gooding Jr. for saying what many of us have felt about Ben Stiller's Blackface Film that Robert Downey Jr. got a nomination for - except he was of course specifically talking about roles being taken from Black males - but the sentiment was valid. Nice job Academy for ignoring Jerry Lewis' blatant homophobia by giving him an award, but everything in Hollywood is political!

photo credits: Getty
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