Monday, February 23, 2009


Another generally ho-hum Oscar ceremony has come and gone. This year's recession special edition seemed even less memorable than most. There were no major surprises nor any really enduring moments from the participants. Out of my 12 predictions, I got a commendable 8, however I went a miserable 1 for 4 in the major acting categories (that's what I get for following my heart). In a way, I sort of mirrored "Slumdog Millionaire"'s performance, racking up all the major non-acting awards.

Probably the most memorable thing to take from the 81st Oscars was the whole bizarro "random past winners giving a monologue of the nominees" gimmick they did for all the major acting categories. While at times actually generating genuinely compelling sentiments, the shtick as a whole felt like an awkward and weird circle jerk of empty praise. It reminded me of creative writing classes in college where we all had to first go around and say something positive about a highlighted work. Also the fact that all the presenters, in reading their pre-scripted Oscar back patting praise, kept referring to the specific nominee they were lauding by their full name, didn't help to create a sense of authenticity. It felt like some sort of grand tribunal, where the past members of Oscardom passed judgement on their fellow Oscarless actors (of course that image is slightly altered when referring to a past winning nominee like Meryl Streep or Sean Penn). Was I the only one who thought the whole thing was eerily similar to the beginning of Superman II where the Kryptonians pass sentance on General Zod ("For your transgressions Mickey Rourke, we the five Oscars, sentence you to an eternity in the Phantom Zone")?

Despite how borderline creepy it came off, the whole thing was insane enough that I kind of want them to do it again next year, with even more random presenters. I mean when was I ever going to see Joel Grey on a prime time telecast? Maybe they'll extend it out to directors. I wouldn't mind seeing how John G. Avildsen and Milos Forman are holding up.

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