Monday, February 23, 2009

Show of Shows (Oscar Reactions)

Now that's how you do a show people!

Could it be the best Oscars ever? Certainly in my memory.

Started off slow, took a bit to warm up to Hugh Jackman and the musical number had me worried at the beginning, but I came around with the “how come comic book movies never get nominated?" number. A funny tacky mess, hard to hate.

(Anne Hathaway kissing Jackman but playing Nixon with the cheek jowl shake...great)

The producers of the show did what they promised. It had the nightclub feel. They used the legacy of awards as a strength. Calling on old winners to handout awards. Even the fact that the front row was closer to the stage meant you had a more intimate experience. If you’re like me and you watched it in HD, you could see the stars in the front rows reacting to the show on stage, tearing up as they were introduced.

The concept of having Oscar winners handing out awards was brilliant. Nice to see the star power on stage, and it made the proceedings feel more personal. When the former winners introduced the nominees it felt as if they were speaking from the heart, from actor to actor. Also interesting to see who spoke to who. Christoper Walken introducing Michael Shannon…one intense actor to an other.

The idea of illustrating the film process was a good one but they didn’t all gell.
Screenwriting was great, made the point and was funny with Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Some others like Set Design or Editing were flat…but it’s hard to be perfect.

Was the show perfect? No, still there’s a noticeable dip in the energy level around the one hour mark. Small awards like short documentary feature and animated short don’t help either.

But again, although the show was quite theatrical it was the strength of film that came shining through. This was film on film. Using clips of movies to illustrate clips from other movies. Call them meta-montages. Documentaries on documentaries. In most cases the montages worked…and were fun to watch. Also in the montages of 2008 weren’t elitist. Rambo and Mummy 3 and Indiana Jones 4 and more.


  • Phililippe Petit racing down for the “Man on Wire” best doc award and his “believe in magic line”.
  • Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix spoof.
  • The short animated film winner Kunio Kato “Sank You Academy” “Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto"
  • Danny Boyle’s “Tigger” happy hop. He looked like a mad professor and seemed so happy for everyone the entire evening. Great last line about Mumbai “You dwarf even this guy”

The “musicals are back” number with Beyonce and Hugh…sounded like my ipod having a seizure. That was a bridge too far for Hugh. And if musicals are back then why did a bunch of decades-old classics make up most of the songs?

But Still...
All in all, from the homemade musical to the Judd Apatow/Seth Rogan skit …there was a refreshing feel of relevance about the Oscars.
It was about celebrating the best..but also celebrating film in all it's tacky buttery popcorn glory. This was not a snob story. It was a night to have a party about movies, and get people watching them.

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