I know, I know, I recently did a post questioning the value of awards. But I must admit to being sucked in anyway. And so yes, I did watch (most) of the 81st Annual Academy Awards last night. Here's a few scattered thoughts about the show.
Since I didn't see all (or many, actually) of the nominated films, I'm not in a real position to debate about the rightness of who won or lost. I did feel a little sad that WALL-E didn't do better (and didn't Will Smith sound funny saying the title? He has kids, didn't he see the movie?) but overall I didn't care much about the outcomes one way or another outside of how it would leave me in the LAMB Oscar pool. (One year I won a contest run through the local newspaper for Oscar picks. Well, I tied for first. But because I had a relative working at the paper, they gave the big prize to the other guy. I got a hat.)
As far as the entertainment value of the show itself, I thought it didn't seem to drag quite so much as past years. (Although I've long been in the habit of doing other things with the show on in the background, which definitely helps.)
I thought Hugh Jackman was not a bad host, although we didn't see much of him outside of his song and dance numbers. I liked him admitting (pretending?) he hadn't seen The Reader. I didn't especially like the bit with him and Anne Hathaway, but then, I find her strangely irritating most of the time. And while I agree with the sentiment of being happy to see more new musicals out, it was during that number that I decided I don't really like Hugh's singing style.
Some random cattiness: I thought I was in favor of Kate Winslet winning, but I liked her less during her incoherent speech than in any movie I've ever seen her in (although I did like her looking for her dad). Didn't Reese Witherspoon seem strangely asymmetrical? And sorry again, Anne Hathaway, but your thank you speech from your seat professing your love for Shirley MacLaine was rather embarrassing to watch. As was an outclassed Jennifer Aniston presenting on a night with Brad and Angelina both up for awards.
What I did like: Having past winners coming out to talk about the current nominees was a cool idea, and it was interesting to see who got paired up. I also liked the montages of movie genres (like Romance in 2008). Tina Fey and Steve Martin were great. Philippe Petit doing a magic trick and balancing the Oscar on his chin was rather amusing, and made me wish I had liked his movie more. There were other little moments of enjoyment (funny bits, real emotion from folks, etc.) but not much seemed really, really memorable. Maybe because there weren't a lot of surprises?
When Slumdog won and the whole entourage of people started filling the stage, I found myself thinking it would be a great chance for some random person to jump up there just for kicks. Who would notice? I also wanted to see them all break into a choreographed dance number to the film's Oscar-winning song. That would have been a great way to end the night.
That's all I've got. Did you watch? What did you think?
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