Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars 2009 – My Report.

Right, I have an 8.15 lecture tomorrow so my immune system is not going to be happy about me staying up to type up my report, but hey, I’m doped up on Red Bull and still riding the Oscar high, so, pah!

< - Brad and Angie looking lovely. Luke and I were expecting them to be oh-so-smug today, but they seemed geniunely down to earth and affable.

(If you missed em, the Oscar winners are identical to my predictions bar one - I predicted Rourke and Penn won. So, a copy & paste job:
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Original Screenplay: Milk
Best Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song: Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Costume: The Duchess
Best Make-Up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Best Foreign Film: Departures
Best Animated Feature: Wall-E
Best Documentary: Man on Wire )

So. 1.15 am, I was sat in my good friend Luke’s bed watching Claudia Winkleman and Gok Wan talking through the fashion of the Oscar guests. As neither of us gets Sky Cinema, we’ve opted to watch the Oscars on a 4-inch stream thanks to Justin. Tv, which we connect up to the plasma screen TVs we get in our rooms, so it actually looks rather good.

Anyway, to start, I had to endure a bit of endless prattle from the three guests that Winkleman had on Sky: Stephanie Beacham, a mediocre British actress who only appears in shite like Bad Girls, and two other people. It was really rather mortifying.

But still. The 81st Academy Awards are in full swing, to the sound of giddy orchestral strings. Hugh Jackman comes on, laid back and jovial. He gives his obligatory Australia joke: “I’m an Australian that played an Australian in a film called Australia”, he declares proudly. Next comes a song outlining some of the main movies of 2008: Slumdog Millionaire: “I’m only here so I can phone a friend.” Next, Milk (spelt MILIK) and The Dark Knight get mildly ribbed, before Jackman stands behind a screen with five gaps for heads as he mimics Brad Pitt’s character aging backward in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He then dons arm guards and does an impression of Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and everyone has a good laugh. Anne Hathaway joins in with Jackman, and she has a very good set of pipes on her, hitting the high note well, and giving room for the amusing idea of Frost/Nixon slash. The stage looks sparkly and expensive, albeit a little garish with the countless crystal chandeliers dangling about like grapes on a vine.

The first category to be presented is Best Supporting Actres. There is a montage of previous Best Supporting Actress winners, before five of the winners – Whoopi Goldberg, Tilda Swinton, Eva Marie Saint, Goldie Hawn and Angelica Huston come on to each speak about each five of the Oscar nominated performances. For Penelope Cruz’s performance as Maria Elena, it is said that “emotionally we understand everything.” Whoopi Goldberg evokes good ol’ memories when she jokes, “It’s not easy being a nun”. Tilda Swinton irritates me. A lot.

The winner is… Penelope Cruz!! “This is gonna be longer than 45 seconds”, she warns the audience, and we share an appreciative chuckle. Firstly, she thanks Pedro Almodovar; rightly so, he is the one who believed in and loved her more than anyone else did, and wrote roles especially for her. Her speech is nice and she refers to art as a form of unity, before the six women walk off, side by side, a bit like a geriatric Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants + 2. I'm so, so proud of and happy for Penelope Cruz though. My favourite female supporting performance of 2007, Saoirse Ronan in Atonement, didn't win. My favourite female supporting performance of 2006, Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada wasn't even bunging nominated. This is a redemption of that.

“No lights, no sets, just the imagination of the screenwriters” says Hugh Jackman, as Tina Fey and Steve Martin come on to present Best Original Screenplay. “I’m Steve Martin”, says Steve Martin, to mild applause. “And I’m Tina Fey”, says the current hot thing Tina Fey, and riotous applause breaks out. Determined not to be outdone, Steve Martin reminds us again that he’s Steve Martin. “To write is to live forever,” they say, and the award goes to Milk, the screenwriter of which looks rather sexy, but not as hot as Dan Futterman, who, for 2005’s Capote, has got to be the sexiest Oscar-nominated screenwriter.

They stay on stage to give the award to Adapted Screenplay, which goes to Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. Luke almost gave me a bunging heart attack, when Beaufoy’s name was announced, whilst I was in the middle of punching the air, he asked, “Oh, so Benjamin Button won then? Cool.” He say lulz in it, I needless to say, did not. Anyway, what I loved about this win was that we got a shot of Dev Patel going into Anwar mode from his seat, punching the air like a rowdy football fan, whilst Frieda Pinto tries to mimic him, and looking a bit awkward in the process.

Next up, it’s Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black, who present a montage of animated movies from 2008. Jack Black makes a rather tongue-in-cheek comment about how, despite him appearing in lotsa Dreamworks movies, it’s Pixar that’s worth putting the money on. “Creative seeds are sown in the oddest places” notes the winner, Wall-E director Andrew Stanton, who had been casted in Hello, Dolly! From a young age, hence stemming the appearance of the film in his animated film. Pure beauty, that.

The acoustics are woeful as Daniel Craig and Sarah Jessica Parker bung on. Art Direction goes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, standard. They proceed to Costume, which goes to The Duchess. So far there have been some rather decent presenters this year, and I do believe that is down to there being a cutdown in the number of presenters due to multiple presentations.

Robert Pattinson and Amanda Seyfried, the hotties of their movies in 2008, Twilight and Mamma Mia! respectively, come on to present a montage of romance in 2008. Between them, they relive the age-old plot involving complications of love, and I have a good whinge about the sorry state of my non-existent love life. The montage is quite lovely actually, it encompasses all the expected choices of Wall-E, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Australia, Sex and the City, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Milk, as well as some questionable choices: Revolutionary Road (romance? All they did was whine at each other), High School Musical 3 (puh-leaze) and the abomination that is 27 Dresses, but, mercifully, the montage ends on a shot of Wall-E and Eve, the couple of 2008 for me, their heads together, rendering it a worthy montage.

Cinematography next, and Natalie Portman comes on, wearing an OK pink number (I wasn’t particularly impressed but Luke practically bunged himself :P) and Ben Stiller sporting a greasy beard in a bizarre and not totally comprehensible Joaquin Phoenix guise. Natalie Portman looks awfully skinny. Slumdog Millionaire wins it, yay! The winner’s hair is a bit skanky. He thanks the Academy for Opening the door. Here is Stiller's Phoenix stint, btw, it's well random!

Jessica Biel comes on, which ends the run of the presenters all being A-listers. She self-importantly retells the mini-award show of Science and shite that she presented a few weeks ago and Luke and I tune out, choosing instead to bitch about the people in his flat.

After the break, we get Seth Rogen and James Franco sitting on a manky couch and watching some of the 2008 movies and lol’ing, thus marking the 2008 comedy montage. I am loving it, they laugh at all the parts from The Reader that I laughed at, as well as dubbing Robert Downey Jr in his Tropic Thunder guise as Barack Obama. They also laughed at Doubt. I do laughing at films that take themselves seriously. They also bastardise Take a Chance on Me when singing it, stoned, and mucking up the words, but it’s great fun. In a hilarious send up of the wrestling scenes from Thw Wrestler, Franco staples some dollar bills to Rogen’s face. Then, out of nowhere, the Saving Private Ryan cinematographer Janusz Kaminski pops up and joins them on the couch. Then we see the three of them on stage, as they present Best Live Action Short. At this point, the stream kept cutting in and out so I missed what was apparently Franco mis-prouncing the German directors name, and then laughing, but Stephanie Beacham bought it up later and had a right self-important go. Speaking of which, one of the two blokes on that Sky show comments how Philip Seymour Hoffman looks more and more like Alex Ferguson as his face reddens as the night goes on, and I feel rather disgusted that they would affiliate one of my favourite actors with my most despised football manager, even if they make a good point. But anyway, the moral of the story is that James Franco is beautiful, even more so in a black tux. I certainly would. Speaking of which, Dev Patel. Mmmm.

Hugh Jackman and Beyonce do a musical number. He’s got the swagger of a champion; think Richard Gere in Chicago meets Jim Broadbent in Moulin Rouge!. The two partake in a medley that encompasses songs ranging from You’re the One I Want, All that Jazz, Lady Marmalade, You Can’t Stop the Beat, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, Somewhere over the Rainbow and Mamma Mia!. In between, America’s sweethearts Zach Efron & Vanessa Hudgens and Dominic Cooper (Luke remarks how much he looks like a Ian Huntley with that minging beard) & Amanda Seyfried make an appearance, but they don’t really add to or detract from the spectacle; it’s Beyonce and Hugh’s show, and they do a marvellous job.


Christopher Walken, Chris Kline, Alan Arkin, someone else and Cuba Gooding Jr come onstage. I feel bad for Gooding Jr, it can’t be easy, standing there with four men that actually have careers. He talks about Downey Jr’s performance, “let’s talk about taking risks, shall we?”, leading to a blank expression from Dev Patel in the audience, particularly when a Shaft joke is made. Anyway, introductions are made and the biggest lock of the night is awarded: Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain. It’s a terribly poignant moment when his family walk up and accept the award for him, though I did feel it rather extravagant and insincere for the cameramen to show all the clips of people in the audience staring up, teary-eyed as if they knew Heath, when deep down they were probably thinking “when is it my turn to be on stage?” But the last word of his sister’s speech is “Matilda”, reminding the world of the sad fact that here is one girl that is going to grow up without a father.

As the montage of the Oscar nominated documentaries runs, we here Philip Glass’ haunting score to The Hours in the background. Shame he plagiarized himself from his work on Metamorphosis for that film. Man on Wire wins, and Philippe Petit, the subject is beyond adorable, as he takes his golden statue and makes it bow to the audience. Daww.

Action montage next, then Will Smith comes onstage. He claims he likes his action films; I really wouldn’t have guesed. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wins Visual Effects, as both me and Luke had predicted (so far, we are 100% on predictions). The Dark Knight then wins Best Sound Editing, marking the beginning of Luke getting one wrong and me getting one over him. About time too, I had my butt kicked by him when we predicted the BAFTAs. Smith then dubs the Sound Mixers: “the superheros of post-production”. If he sez so. Slumdog Millionaire wins, meaning I got both my Sound predictions right, and am still 100% right so far! Luke and I have a poncy discussion about the difference between Sound Editing and Sound and why The Dark Knight was right to win Sound Editing. And lastly, Will Smith presents the fourth award – Editing. A biggie, and Slumdog Millionaire gets it. Wey!

Halfway through Claudia Winkleman talking during the adverts of the Oscars, we cut to the Oscars again, this time, the Spanish guitar playing Moon River mellifluently as Hugh Jackman retells something Hepburn had said about the music to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Then, my favourite part of the night arrives – the orchestra plays excerpts from all five of the nominated scores. It’s done in alphabetical order: Daisy’s Ballet Career from Benjamin Button, summink insubstantial from Defiance, the theme from Milk, and Define Dancing from Wall-E. At this point I get confused; if it’s alphabetical, I ask Luke, why is Slumdog coming last? The orchestra answers my question: Bollywood instruments are gotten out and start playing; it makes sense to have that last. The audience plays Latika’s Theme and it just sounds beautiful, memories of the 2006 Oscars and Itzhak Perlman sitting up there, playing a medley of Oscar nominated scores, ending on Brokeback Mountain’s The Wings fill my mind and I feel all nostalgic, not to mention a bit fearsome about what would happen if Slumdog crashed like Brokeback did.

Not to worry, for now, Score is Slumdog’s, and Bollywood’s Man-of-the-Moment AR Rahman comes on stage to deliver a massively gracious and thankful speech. This was just after Zach Efron and some bitch come on. This girl makes an awful, awful impression to me: she refers to Desplat as Alejandro Desplat, which half makes me want to slap her and half makes me want to laugh. They stay on stage to announce the nominees for Best Original Song, though not before the girl mucks that bit up too; she calls it Best Original Score again. Um, we just had that category, dear. Keep up!

Anyway, the three best Song nominees get the poorest airing I’ve ever seen. Sub-par is an understatement; this downright sucks. The drumming for O Saya sounds really good and AR Rahman has more than enough stage presence to deliver a rousing intro, but M.I.A. not being there means we don’t get the middle chunk of the song, which contains the lyrics that are so relevant to Slumdog Millionaire’s story. We then go into a performance of Down to Earth, not with Peter Gabriel, who revolted (the performances of the songs got cut down to a minute each and he wasn’t having any of it), but John Legend, who is fine, but the Bollywood dancers who were previously in pink sahris and dancing around to O Saya suddenly try to sway to Down to Earth and it is almost as much of a fail as the 43% I got for my recent exam. Finally, Jai Ho, which sounds OK, but a bit half-hearted and thus not doing any justice to the power of the song, before AR Rahman and John Legend have a sing-off, Jai Ho vs. Down to Earth, which sounds awful. I am very upset by this.

Luckily, AR Rahman’s second prize of the night for Jai Ho redeems this, and he seems completely moved and lost for words, just rooted to the spot and speaking mildly. He is made of pure win!

Reese Witherspoon comes on in a jewel encrusted dress to present Best Director. As predicted, it goes to Danny Boyle, who comes on and talks quickly and in a lively manner. “I reckon every person in the UK jumped up when he one” opines Claudia Winkleman later on the Sky Cinema show. Um, me and Luke didn’t. But yeah. Delighted he won.

For Best Actress, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Shirley MacLaine and Halle Berry come on to the music of Gone with the Wind. Luke is more alert than me and notes that three of these women are in the upcoming Nine, which is directed by the director of this Oscar ceremony. Clever plugging! Furthermore, Nicole Kidman, being Luke’s favourite actress, nearly induces my dear friend to joygasm, whilst I just sit there, filing my nails. Shirley McLaine describes Anne Hathway’s performance, and puts a lovely smile on the face of Princess Mia. Sophia Loren looks a bit Jackie Stalloneesque. As everyone envisioned, Kate Winslet wins. She tells a cute story about how, when she was eight, she used to fantasize about winning the Oscar. “It’s not a shampoo bottle now!” she gushes, before telling Meryl Streep to suck on it. I wasn't paying attention to the rest of her speech (though she commendably managed to mention the fact that she's from Reading once), but I did like Angelina Jolie's green earrings a lot.

Immediately next is Best Actor. It’s a standing ovation for Michael Douglas, Robert de Niro, Adrian Brody, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley. All I can think about when I see the latter is his stunning performance as Don Logan in Sexy Beast and that hilarious “I’m sweatin’ like cunt!” line. Richard Jenkins’ performance is described as containing “simplicity”, which, interpreted in one way, could be calling him a thickie. But nah. Anyway, this is the only category I got wrong out of all my predictions, and, as both Luke and I expected Rourke to win, we were paying particular attention to him, and we say both Tina Fey and Dev Patel sitting behind him. But nah, Sean Penn wins, gives a great speech and everything, but all we were discussing was how absolutely gutted Rourke must have felt. The audience absolutely adore Penn, giving him a standing ovation, and he concedes "I make it hard to like me sometimes."

Steven Spielberg presents Best Film, and as he talks through each of the nominated films, Milk gets a massive cheer when mentioned, leading me to get fears about Slumdog getting screwed over last minute like BBM was. But no fear, it wins. Dev Patel gets his face on the screen. I smile contentedly, thinking how it was totally worth staying up tonight; to redeem myself against Luke for the thrashing I took last time we played predictions on the BAFTAs, to bitch about stars, to lol at various points of the ceremony, to view the spectacle, but most of all, see the lovely Slumdog Millionaire get the award it so deserves. As Kate Winslet told Meryl Streep, suck it, haters! Jai Ho, indeed.



Anonymous said...

I LOVED it when Kate Winslet's dad whistled.

Kayleigh said...

I loved the Slumdog Best Picture win, how adorable were those kids? And Sean won! He was looking surprisingly good there. He should smile more, it suits him. Rourke is friends with Sean so I don't think he was too upset, and I hope his career continues to grow. Stiller was a twunt, that joke was just beneath the Oscars (you can take the girl from the fandom...). I really liked the opening - "I didn't see The Reader" - but the other musical opening was a bit cringey, especially with the drag queen coupling of Efron and Hudgens. Overall I enjoyed the show and was glad that for once the people I wanted to win actually did, but less cheese next time!

Anonymous said...

Rprattz present? Photos pls.

anahit said...

I really really wanna see this ceremony damnit!! I saw the beginning dance number and I am hooked. Hugh Jackman was amazing, Anne can SING, and it just seemed really sweet and intimate, like a bunch of kids entertaining each other (but really really well).


vic said...

i loved this yrs awards.
the people i wanted to win, WON!
i really enjoyed the way the best actress/actor awards were presented; something differnet.
I also really loved the intimate feeling of the ceremony which i think was achieved from Jackmans friendliness and the gorgeous stage.
Things i didnt like:
-aniston and jack blacks presentation of an award...really lame jokes
-performance of 'down to earth'....was out of time and just bad :(

Things i really loved:
-kate winslets dad wistelling..made me teary lol
-Ledger's win
-Slumdog Millionaire kicking everyone butt
-Beyonce and Jackman's singing medally

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Anonymous said...

You're right Emma, Slumdog Millionaire deserves it. Haters can DIAF.