Regarding the Oscars

I look forward to the Oscars every year with unabashed vehemence. It’s a little sickening, actually. Every other day of the year, I abhor self-congratulatory, celebrity-celebrating events like this, but the Oscars (okay, and the Emmys) are the exception. I think it’s because it can be so much fun—if you watch enough of the nominated movies, you become invested in them as art and you want to see them recognized. Also, pretty dresses and pretty people.

I had optimistic hopes for this year’s ceremony. While I had always been a fan of the mostly old-ish white hosts of days past (Steve Martin and Billy Crystal are gods), I thought it was neat that the Academy was going for something different this year. It was a risk to have young, attractive, and trendy people host this year, but at least they went for it. You’ve gotta give them props for that.

It’s just too bad that the two of them had absolutely no chemistry whatsoever. Their promotional ads were really promising, what with the slapstick and the fun they seemed to be having in rehearsal. But once they got up there on that hallowed stage, everything went to shit. James Franco, as my father so accurately pointed out, didn’t even look Anne Hathaway in the face the entire time they were hosting. It’s like he was thinking about—wait for it—his next class at Yale. (In case you did not already know from the 500 or so times he’s mentioned it in every interview for the past year, James Franco is doing a graduate program at Yale, as well as every other job ever in the world right now.) He looked so distracted that he was actually uncomfortable to watch, and that’s saying a lot considering how downright gorgeous he is. Hathaway, therefore, overcompensated for his ambivalence by being essentially a nerdy fangirl, shouting “Woo!” every time a new presenter entered the stage. But at least she tried.

They weren’t the only aspect of the show that was fishing for a younger audience, either. A lot of the jokes had to do with auto-tuning and Banksy and Twitter and Charlie Sheen and things that older generations would be less likely (though still able!) to pick up on quickly. What was most ironic, however, was that when Billy Crystal came out to present an award, the ceremony gained new, hip life.

For the first time in my life, I decided to try the Twitter thing. I’m not really sure how it worked out; if you follow me, let me know what you thought. In any case, though, it’s an interesting way to watch a show like the Oscars, with real-time and sometimes-snarky commentary in your hands, at your disposal, under your control. This is new media, folks, and believe it or not, I think it enhanced the experience. I just wish Hathaway and Franco had done the same with their gleaming smiles.

Onto the awards: I had low expectations, and by that, I mean that I expected Inception to get royally shafted by The King’s Speech, pun intended. To my surprise, this didn’t completely happen—Inception got the four geek Oscars it rightfully deserved. THe King’s Speech, however, still managed to piss me off by receiving both Best Picture and Best Director. I was hoping that The Social Network might receive one of those nods, considering how much work had been put into it and how current the story is to our social fabric. But I do think that Colin Firth deserved Best Actor. Actually, all of the acting awards went to the right people, even if they were super predictable. I also decided that I might go back and watch Alice in Wonderland.

I think the highlight of the whole ceremony came in the first twenty minutes, though, and if you were watching, you know what I’m talking about. Kirk Douglas should have been on the stage the entire night.

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My Picks for the Oscars

Everyone else is doing it. Why not? Who cares if I’m obsessed with Inception and The Social Network?

(I’ll report back after I’ve seen True Grit.)

Picture – Inception or The Social Network
Actor – TOTALLY UNFAIR DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE
Supporting Actor – Christian Bale
Actress – Natalie Portman
Supporting Actress – EHHHH. Don’t know.
Art Direction – Inception
Cinematography – Inception or Black Swan
Costume Design – The King’s Speech
Director – CHRIS NOLAN GOT ROBBED.
Film Editing – The Fighter
Music – Inception or The Social Network
Sound Editing – Inception
Sound Mixing – Inception
Visual Effects – HOW WAS THE SOCIAL NETWORK NOT NOMINATED?
Writing (Adapted) – The Social Network
Writing (Original) – Inception or The King’s Speech

Inception

For the past month or so, I was really pissed at basically the whole world for building up this movie. Every comment I heard used every synonym for “brilliant” and “mindblowing” and “Oscar-worthy” and I hated everyone who said this because I knew I was going to like it but didn’t want it to fall short of all these overdone expectations! I don’t sound like I’m complaining, right? I think it’s a valid point. There’s nothing worse (pop-culture wise, anyway) than being super stoked to watch something (another case in point for me: Freaks and Geeks) and then be grossly disappointed by its mediocrity.

Well, let me grab my dead horse and beat it a few times, because SHIT this movie was good.

All the IMDb forums are dead-on, at least the few I’ve perused. Numerous users venture to say that it’s a perfect movie, and it really is. Of course, no work of art is without its faults (because everything is imperfect, duh)—the big one for me is that I wish the other actors (like that snappy British guy) had gotten a bit more dialogue so they could stretch their acting chops. But that’s my only qualm with the movie, really. It was absolutely riveting. The premise stays with you, forces you to think about your own dreams and motivations and desires and secrets and everything, and it makes you question reality (kind of like when you watched The Truman Show, that movie did it for me, though it isn’t on the same level as this one). I actually don’t want to say too much about the premise because I think the less you know, the more you’re inclined to pay attention to the details and actually absorb the whole movie. It’s not quite as confusing as everyone says it is, though I know I’d benefit from a second or third viewing. But it’s just so engrossing! It’s science fiction without all the nerdy vocab and monsters and shit. It’s just… a great story.

Leo DiCaprio was, of course, fantastic. He’s so subtle and believable (except as a father, that babyface of his will haunt him for the rest of his life) and definitely deserves an Oscar nom for the literal layers that he gave to Dom Cobb. And I was so pleased to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page given roles in a non-quirky-indie-comedy way. They have serious sides to them, too, and they deserve to exercise ’em. And Ken Watanabe… I just really like typing his name, okay?

The biggest props, though, go to director/genius Chris Nolan, who created this whole thing. The man is brilliant. He got ME into Batman movies (well, just the one) and he knows how to write one hell of an intriguing mindfuck of a story (have you seen Memento? I still don’t know what happened, but in the best way) Anyway, this movie is probably going to win Best Picture and for once, I’m not jaded about it. It’s the best movie of the year so far (not that I’ve seen many) and it deserves the accolades it’s receiving. Fancy that!