Sunday, February 24, 2008

Initial Thoughts on the 80th Annual Academy Awards & Telecast

1. For starters, with my predictions I got 13 out of 24 nominees correct. Certainly not excellent, that's the same number I got right as last year. I did get 6 of the big 8 (picture, director, actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, & original screenplay).

2. I thought Jon Stewart did an excellent job with the award show, being funny, adaptive, timely, and relavent. In 2006 I made a comment about how I didn't think he was that great, I think Stewart was exceptional this year. Favorite Jon moment was probably when he accepted the baby on behalf of Angelina Jolie who was unable to attend because she couldn't get a baby-sitter.

3. I was in the Julie Christie camp pre-award show, but am excited that Marion Cotillard won. She was beautiful in her mermaid dress (somehow she pulled it off, unlike Bjork and the Swan Dress). I hope her career continues to blossom. Her speech and attitude from red carpet to stage was classy and touching.

4. I probably should have chosen Cottilard to win, after all I've been posting all year about how "Real (Reel) People win Oscars." And this year Cottilard and Blanchett were the only leads performing in bio-pics, so what was I doing predicting Julie Christie to win?

5. Bourne Ultimatum wins each of the 3 Oscars it was nominated that really threw off my predictions (I only had it down to win Editing). Pretty impressive feat since the first two films in the trilogy failed to even score a nod.

6. Who would have guessed Katherine Heigl would have been the most nervous person on stage? And she was just presenting the award for best makeup. Not only was her body and voice shaking, she apologizes to the audience for her nervousness and looked like she was about to cry.
7. I realize that Joel and Ethan Coen were co-nominated for 4 awards and have previously won an Oscar for their Fargo Screenplay...yet, I felt like their acceptance speechs were so lame and cocky, especially their writing award. Sure, they might have been confident about their opportunity to step up on stage again later in the evening, but at least take it seriously. Joel Coen did better during the award for best director with a fun anecdote, but come on act like you care.

8. Amy Adams did such an fantastic job singing "Happy Working Song" at the beginning of the telecast. No props, fancy sets, flashy costumes or lighting shows, just Amy singing the fun Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz song with all of the energy and talent that made Enchanted an exceptional film. I think the Academy really missed the boat by not nominating Adams for best lead Actress for her role.

9. Speaking of best song, it was really great that Markéta Irglová was able to come back on stage to give her great little speech upon winning the award with Glen Hansard for best Original Song for "Falling Slowly" from Once.

10. The most akward moment of the award show was when Oscar winner Diablo Cody (Original Screenplay, Juno) in her very unique Award-show-get-up ended her speech saying "I want to thank my parents for loving me just the way I am." And then in an emotional huff walks away from the microphone. It was an oddly personal moment that you just weren't sure how to react too.

11. I thought it was pretty neat when the soldiers where helping announce the documentary short awards. Yet, there was a really weird moment when Tom Hanks was reading and briefly describing the documentary feature nominees. Once he finally mentioned the fifth nominee (War Dance) he made a comment about it being a movie about hope, and then he says, "finally hope." I agree that between 2006's hopeless films and 2007's violent films, he's right to be thankful for films about hope, but this was just a strong added little comment that surprised me.

12. It was interesting how many non-American winners there truly were this year. Marion Cotillard (French), Javier Bardem (Spanish), Tilda Swinton (English), Sweeney Todd Art Director (Italian), Dario Marianelli (Italian), Hansard (Irish) & Irglova (Czech), etc.

13. I know I'm interested in having the opportunity to see the Oscar winning documentary (Taxi to the Dark Side) and foreign language film (Austria's The Counterfitters) as soon as they are made available to me. It's always too bad when these nominated films, especially the foreign films, do not have wide screenings prior to the awards telecast.

14. The funniest presenters were certainly Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan as they tried to decide who was most like Halle Berry and who would be left pretending to be Dame Judi Dench.


Anonymous said...

My favorite Jon Stewart moment was when he talked about Gaydolf Titler.

I loved that half the audience sat in awkward silence, while all the others laughed. I was one of the ones laughing.

Fox said...

Agreed on the Diablo Cody speech. Very awkward... and she left Harrison Ford in the dust. I also thought she looked trashy.

Agree also on Amy Adams. She was pretty much naked up there with no set around her. Love her.

Jeremy said...

I liked the Coen's speach, I didn't think they came off as cocky but were their usual quirky selves. I just don't think they are very limelight directors like Spielberg or Scorsese.

DimaK said...

Just to add to your foreign winners list, Daniel Day-Lewis is English as well.

Grete said...

Nice synopsis! I actually agree with your points. (I know, it's rare when the entertainment industry is involved.) :)

Brian Erickson said...

I love The Daily Show, and I loved Stewart's terribly underrated effort at the 2006 awards, but this year he just didn't have enough time to write good jokes. However, his (kinda) improvised bits were great. And he won over my respect for letting Marketa accept her Oscar.

As for Diablo Cody's end note...I thought it was sweet. Throughout the season, she's been introduced as "former stripper Diablo Cody", and it was nice to see that, underneath it all, she does love her family.

My favorite speech, however, would have to be Cotillard's, closely followed by Bardem's. Both were so grateful and seemed to actually realize what an honor it was to be there.

Darrell said...

I thought that Daniel Day Lewis was very good in There Will Be Blood, and I thought his acceptance speech was appropriately odd and confusing. (I was hoping he'd name all the other nominees and then say "I drink ALL your milkshakes! I drink them up!") I don't think anyone thought that Cottilard was going to win Best Actress, the Blanchett role was the kind of thing that the Academy just loves to make a big fuss about. And for a rare change I thought that the Best Picture award was actually awarded to the best picture I saw in 2007. I usually avoid the Oscars but my wife made me watch this year and I ended up mostly enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

I was so thrilled to see Swinton and Cotillard pull off wins. I fully expected Bardem and Day-Lewis to win, but it was still great so see them do so.

I think this was the best set of acting winners in years.