Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

A review of the OSCARS

hugh-jackman-at-oscarsProducers Bill Condon and Larry Mark promised a complete overhaul to this year’s ceremony and that’s exactly what we got. No longer did we have a talk show comic as the host delivering a politically charged 15 minute opening monologue, instead we got Hugh Jackman who delivered a song and dance number that was actually pretty entertaining. There’s no disputing Jackman has talent and is extremely likable and charming. When he plucked Anne Hathaway out of the front row and brought her on stage to join in on the act I have to admit I was smiling from ear to ear. While I still like a good comic as the host, I accepted this change and think Jackman did a solid job.

One of the first different things of note was the absence of Jack Nicholson. As far back as I can remember, Jack has been in the front row of every Oscar ceremony I’ve ever watched. Clearly times are changing. Is old Hollywood now gone? Instead we get Philip Seymour Hoffman in the second row wearing what appeared to be a ski cap. I don’t get the fashion statement – maybe a cold front came through town. The next big change came with the first award for best supporting actress when five past winners in the category emerged to first salute and then hand out the golden statue. At first thought I had mixed feelings on the idea, but it quickly grew on me. The concept got better and better with the other three acting awards and it wound up being one of the night’s most inspired new changes.

The technical awards also moved by quicker as two or three would be announced by the same presenter which was another solid inspiration. The night also had its share of funny moments from presenter’s Steve Martin and Tina Fey who performed some humorous banter while handing out a screenwriting award. Fey said “We all know the importance of writing because every great movie begins with a great screenplay” to which Martin responded, “Or a very good idea for a poster, but usually a screenplay”.

A Judd Apatow directed pre-taped skit with Seth Rogan and James Franco as their Pineapple Express stoner characters was also pretty funny stuff. Ben Stiller showing up as the whacked out David Letterman version of Joaquin Phoenix was the night’s edgiest bit, and Bill Maher drew the nights ‘you could hear a pin drop moment’ when he took a hardcore shot at religion. While presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary Maher proclaimed, “I know it’s a touchy subject, but some day we will all have to confront the notion that our silly gods cost the world greatly.” I’m a fan of Mahers’ but this just seemed inappropriate after the late Heath Ledger’s Mother, Father and Sister just finished accepting the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight. The timing was all wrong. Particularly since the Ledger moment was one of the highlights of the night and a pretty moving experience.

As for speeches, the two best were Dustin Lance Black who won the best original screenplay award for his work on “Milk,” and Sean Penn who won for best actor for same film. Both touched on gay rights and they were eloquent and thought-provoking moments. While the award show was going on at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles there were anti-gay radicals outside protesting who also held up signs that said Heath Ledger is burning in hell. It’s sad to see these kinds of nut jobs around us in this day and age but, in retrospect, they gave these speeches even more power.

A few more things- I felt for Mickey Rourke when his name wasn’t called as Best Actor for his performance in The Wrestler. I have a feeling he wasn’t feeling too good inside given his track record at the other award shows. It was also no surprise that “Slumdog Millionaire” took home eight trophies including Best Picture – that big award almost felt anti-climatic after all of the awards and accolades it’s received. The night’s most surreal moment had to be front row attendees, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt laughing at a skit by Jack Black and Pitt’s ex-wife Jennifer Aniston who were literally ten feet away. Backstage, reportedly, there was dead silence from the media who was watching on TV. Camera’s panned down on the power couple twice during this segment. Overall for a 3 and a half hour telecast it was an enjoyable watch. At least good enough for me.

Advertisements

February 24, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews | ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: