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The Dullest Oscars I Can Remember February 22, 2009

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies.
Tags: ,

“More production numbers! That’s what the Oscars need!”

I can hear them in the planning sessions uh-huhing that particular piece of anti-genius when they understandably wanted to exploit host Hugh Jackman’s song & dance capability – but those numbers go on FOREVER, have NOTHING to do with why we love FILM, and only serve to make the show BORING.

Jackman wasn’t bad as a host – he certainly worked hard & never lost his charm. But the overall show was a snoozefest – not only because of the utter predictability of the vast majority of the awards (the only real horse race was Best Actor), but because the production itself was so half-assed in parts.

The Good:

•Steve Martin & Tina Fey. Why couldn’t they have hosted the entire thing?
•Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix
•The James Franco/Seth Rogen bit
•The simple dignity of Heath Ledger’s family
•The acceptance speeches were all pretty good – no embarassments or posturing, though Sean Penn came close – he saved himself by acknowledging what a difficult fellow he can be.
•Jerry Lewis’ simple and gracious acceptance speech
•The “panel” presentations of acting awards kinda grew on me as the evening went on, since it was nice to see actors acknowledging each other’s work in a more serious way than what we usually get at these things, though it too dragged on.

The Bad:

•The usual atrocious banter between presenters
•The “iPod shuffle” motif used in the Best Song mash-up, as well as in the free-association film clip fests for Best Picture and the montages of romantic & action films. It was ready-made for the ADD generation, but it took away from the actual nominees.
•A production number about movie musicals instead of actually showing clips of great (and perhaps Oscar-winning) movie musicals. Once again, Motion Picture Academy: WE DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT PRODUCTION NUMBERS.
•The CRIMINAL framing of the memorial reel, with the camera swinging all around monitors IN THE DISTANCE, more focused on Queen Latifah while clips of the greats who died were far distant in the background – some of them going by so fast you couldn’t even identify them. Just f-ing horrible – AND they left off Patrick McGoohan & Rudy Ray Moore, those MOFOs. Not quite as bad as leaving off DeForest Kelly to make room for Leni Riefenstahl, but a close second. I realize Moore is a sentimental pick for me, and they DID include Vampira on the thing, but McGoohan was in tons of movies, including a Best Picture winner. How could they forget that?

The Ugly:

•Bill Maher presenting.
•Bill Maher, period.

It’s getting harder and harder to give a crap about these things with every passing year. I only saw one of the picture noms this year and don’t go to the movies anywhere near as often as I used to. The preview reel of what’s coming up for 2009 they ran over the closing credits didn’t look likely to change that. I’m feeling bad about missing bowling for this, though it’s one of the few times your gracious blogging curmudgeon invites people over.

I suppose it could be worse. Bill Maher could have come over. Perhaps I should be grateful.



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