Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gold Rush, Part IV


*Prior engagements have kept me from completing this post, and I've grossly neglected this site. Before I can add anything new in 2008, the Oscars must be addressed. Here we go...*

I sure hope that all six of you who read this blogspot didn't put too much money on my winner predictions, because with a shameful final count of 12 correct guesses out of 24, 2008 is officially the poorest year yet in my Oscar prognosticating track record. It's ironic, that fact, because the '07-'08 awards season has also been my most extensively covered to date. Something, clearly, is wrong with this picture.

In all honesty though, I couldn't be happier with my innaccuracy, as Oscar voters made some gallant last minute decisions to award some unexpected, yet equally deserving contenders. Trophies were distributed across a wide variety of titles, with each of the Best Picture nominees taking at least one little gold man home with them.

Viewers, bloggers, journalists and movie buffs alike have been complaining that the ceremony was one of the most boring in years. The ratings proved as much, with statistics showing that the telecast's audience was down to 32 million - the lowest it's been in over a decade. There was also an obvious lack of star presence. Presenters like Jessica Alba and The Rock stepped in for m.i.a. big names like Julia, Meryl and Brangelina; and don't even get me started on little Miley Cyrus.

However, those complainers should remind themselves that the Academy Awards came dangerously close to not taking place at all. When it comes to the Oscars, I'll take a comparitively lackluster show over no show any day of the week. For me, it is always a magical evening (shut up). Here are my highlights:

10. The Bourne Ultimatum's technical mini-sweep:
Given No Country for Old Men's restrained aural wizardy and Transformers' noisy bombast, I predicted either of those films to walk away with sound mixing and editing over Paul Greengrass' trilogy-capping globetrotter. But Bourne snuck up and nabbed both, along with the more obvious award for its lightning-paced editing. Fine with me - the action-packed hit was one of 2007's very best.

9. Robert Boyle's speech:
The 98-year-old Lifetime Achievment Award recipient was astonishingly articulate for his age, and managed to keep viewers' attention despite his intermittent pauses. Even when the camera panned across audience faces, not a one looked impatient. Way to go, Hollywood.

8. Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill:
Long gone are the monotonous days of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. These two deadpan goofballs twisted their cue cards to hilarious effect, playing off of a Judi Dench/Halle Berry joke that kept on rolling through two category presentations.

7. Amy Adams' "Happy Working Song" solo:
There's no arguing that Ms. Adams is a born star. I would've been delighted to see her spirited turn in Enchanted land a nomination for this year's Best Actress. As a consolation prize, I got to see the adorable redhead belt the film's silliest song on a stage all by herself. She nailed every note. It enchanted the hell out of me.

6. Dario Marianelli wins Best Original Score for Atonement:
If I had had my way, Atonement would've won Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design as well, but had the film not been recognized for its incredible music, heads would have certainly rolled. Aside from There Will Be Blood's chilling notes (sadly, ineligible), Marianelli's typewriter-infused score was an instantly classic work of art.

5. Troops present the award for Documentary Short via satellite from Iraq:
Even more touching than having those "fighting for us" taking part in the ceremony was the lone homo among them, who was likely dying inside knowing he missed E!'s Red Carpet coverage. Appropriately, he and his fellow soldiers bestowed the honor on a film dealing with lesbian issues.

4. "Falling Slowly" wins Best Song:
If you ask me, this win was one of the most well-deserved of the evening. Once was a beautiful film in all of its simplicity, and I'm thrilled that Oscar recognized it. Enchanted may have received three nods, but this heartfelt duet had more power than any other song to charm the ears of moviegoers last year.

3. The ladies in RED:
As any media outlet that covered Oscar fashions (are there any that didn't?) will concur, red was the color of more than just the carpet at the gala event. In addition to the ladies above, Ruby Dee, Helen Mirren and Miley Cyrus also rocked crimson shades. However, nobody wore it better than these three beauties.

2. Jon Stewart
While he's no Billy Crystal (or even Ellen Degeneres), Stewart's sophomore round as emcee pleasantly surprised me. In so tumultuous an election year, there couldn't have been a better choice to host the second most-watched (well, usually) annual telecast. He made me laugh repeatedly, but never more than with his "Gadolf Titler" remark. That's one for the time capsule.

1. Marion Cotillard's acceptance speech:
I had been hoping for a Julie Christie victory, so the fabulous veteran could deliver a repeat of her brilliant SAG thank-you's. In its place, I was given the adorable Ms. Cotillard, who was visibly more excited and touched than any other recipient. She is, in fact, the perfect Best Actress winner: she's young, beautiful, full of life, and truly grateful. She brought me to tears.

*For a complete list of all the winners, CLICK HERE.

...And so begins another year at the movies. What a relief...

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