Monday, February 23, 2009


So, the 81st Academy Awards were on last night, and for once, they hit it out of the park. Triple-threat Hugh Jackman did a great job as the emcee, the show was fun to look at and flowed well, and it was worth watching just for Steve Martin and Tina Fey's presentation of the writing awards.

Having five award-winning actors or actresses come on stage and explain why each nominee for a best award deserved to be there was brilliant. Win or lose, listening to one of your fellows extolling your virtues that way had to make you feel pretty good.

Best show since Billy Crystal squared off against Jack Palance. (Palance, who won for supporting actor, dropped to the floor and did one-armed push ups, to show he was fit enough to work. And offered the immortal line: "Billy Crystal? Hah. I crap bigger than him.")

No major upsets last night, and if you watch the news at all, you already know who won what: Slumdog, Sean Penn, Kate Winslett, the late Heath Ledger. Phillipe Petit, the high-wire walker, did a coin trick during the acceptance for Man on Wire. Sean Penn even made public peace with Mickey Rourke. Or pulled his chain, depending on how you took it.

But Wolverine ruled ...


Todd Erven said...

I enjoyed the Oscars quite a bit. Slumdog was one of my favorite movies last year and I'm very glad it did so well.

Jackman was great; he brought some class to the show.

Phillipe Petit is one of the most interesting and entertaining people I have ever seen. I highly recommend Man on Wire if you haven't seen it yet.

Michael B. said...

I saw Slumdog but to be honest it just wasn't my cup of tea...It was a good movie but in all honesty from my vantage point it lacked in comparison to Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon..If it were up to me I thought Frost/Nixon was far and away the best. Best actor...please don't say Sean "PHOTO OP" Penn...while talented I hate his neck talking...lord he irritates me like a rash..once again I was hoping for Mickey was by far the best performance I have seen by anyone in a long, long time. People will never forget that roll...where as harvey Milk..hmmm I am not to sure people are hustling and bustling over that choice with any gradious ooohs or aahhs. So it was a good show..Jackman was great..etc...but those two awards above ruined it for me....LOL

Steve Perry said...

I was less concerned about who won what than how they did the show this time. I thought they kept it moving fairly well, and most of the presenters did better than usual.

Actors vote for actors, writers for writers, etc., everybody gets to vote for best picture, and people are not immune to the Asshole Effect. Penn can get feisty, but Rourke killed his career because he was totally out-of-control, in-your-face kiss-my-ass for years. Lot of people think The Wrestler wasn't any test of his acting skill at all, he was just playing himself, beat-for-beat.

Actors don't like to play weak or gay, but they admire other actors who can pull it off. Go back and look for a best actor award in recent years where the winner was for somebody playing a normal, nice guy -- ain't any.

Daniel Day Lewis, Forest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jamie Foxx, Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, they all won for playing bastards -- psychopaths, dope fiends, murderers, gladiators.

Go back further -- Spacey, Benigi, Nicholson, Rush, Cage, Hanks, Hopkins, Irons, Hoffman, Douglas -- their wins were for more loons and losers and bad men.

Actors love watching other actors chew scenery, losing themselves in meaty roles. When's the last time an actor won Best Actor in an outright comedy? Richard Dreyfuss, The Goodbye Girl, in 1977, and before that, Lee Marvin, in Cat Ballou, 1965.