Unless you live under a rock, you know that tonight was the 81st annual Academy Awards. The winner, as predicted (and deserved), was “Slumdog Millionaire.” “Slumdog” took home an astounding 7 Oscars. In addition it took home awards for director Danny Boyle, screenplay, sound, original song (“Jai Ho”), original score, editing, and cinematography.
All well deserved. I know that this season “Slumdog” turned into the little indie that could that soon became cool to rip on. But, I said it was the best film of the year, and I stand by it. Nothing captured my emotions like it in quite some time. I still consider my experience seeing “Slumdog” for the first time as one of the best movie going experiences I’ve ever had. I further fully condemn all of those in India who are protesting the film’s title as offensive. Like the film’s creators brought up in their speeches, this film is made for the people of India and not against them. Maybe if the protestors had actually seen the film and realized it contained a message of hope and progress they wouldn’t have protested it in the first place. The Academy is known sometimes for making mistakes but this year, in the Best Picture category, they made none.
As expected, Penelope Cruz won for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” It was an award well deserved. She brought a dark shade of passion, torture, and humor into Woody Allen’s film. Also expected as a winner was Heath Ledger. I may sound like a horrible person for saying this, but I still feel like Robert Downey Jr. was most deserving for his performance as “Tropic Thunder.” Nevertheless, Ledger was still a deserving winner, and the win was a much needed way to honor the tremendous actor who died too soon. He is without a doubt this generation’s James Dean.
One of the bigger wins was Kate Winslet (predicted that!). I didn’t see “The Reader” so can’t comment on whether she deserved it, but after so many nominations, it was time for a Winslet win already.
Unfortunately, Mickey Rourke didn’t get the Oscar he so badly deserved for his awe-inspiring turn in “The Wrestler.” While Sean Penn had archival footage to look back at, Rourke created Randy The Ram from scratch. Or really, from his own soul. I do hope Mickey gets his day someday soon, even if it wasn’t for his incredible comeback.
However, I was still satisfied with Penn’s win. He really captured Harvey Milk in a way few actors could. And he gave an acceptance speech like no other. Who knew the same Sean Penn that four years ago scolded Chris Rock for making a joke about Jude Law could be this funny? Him thanking the “gay commie loving Academy” was the line of the night.
The speech of the night went hands down to Dustin Lance Black, scribe of “Milk.” Black gave a tearful, totally non-phony speech. “Milk” tells the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk; Black himself is gay. Black gave a moving speech reassuring hope to the gay community (especially in the face of Prop 8).
“Most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours,” said Black.
The awards for “Milk” were certainly a representation of a growing backlash against Prop 8. And I hope that backlash spreads. Mike Huckabee and Pastor Rick Warren were probably not too thrilled by Black’s speech. And for some reason that makes me smile very, very much.
This is about movies, not politics, but just one more note. The loss for “Waltz with Bashir” may just show the spreading hatred against Israel amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in very liberal minded Hollywood. This, just makes me very sad.
But back to the show. Let’s discuss the show itself. How was Hugh Jackman as a host? Ehhhhhh. I saw promise in his highly entertaining opening number. It went downhill from there. That musical number he said to prove the musical was back did not. It was just minutes of my life I won’t get back, filler that should’ve been filled with something better. The Academy should never hire a “song-and-dance man” to host ever again. They should stick to comedians. Jon Stewart would’ve been fine for a second year in a row. But during this ceremony, I saw three different possibilities for the host of next year’s show. Those possibilities are a pairing of Tina Fey and Steve Martin for their witty banter on Scientology (Scientologists and Mormons were having a pretty crappy night), Ben Stiller for his brilliant Joaquin Phoenix impression, or a pairing of Seth Rogen and James Franco who all but stole the show with their short film (the Judd Apatow directed short further proves that he is God). Hugh, I’d rather see you in Wolverine claws. Hosting the Oscars just isn’t your thing.
Until now, see you next year (but keep reading this blog everyday!). What did you all think of the winners? Was Hugh Jackman actually a better host than I think?
A few notes from the after party:
-Robert Pattinson kind of looked like a creepy pedophile while on stage. I know every girl reading this hates me right now but, I speak the truth.
- Jonah Hill makes an E! reporter feel awkward on the Red Carpet. Awesome.
- No one will shutup about Sean Penn’s speech. No offense against his speech, but the real speech everyone should be talking about is Dustin Lance Black’s speech.
- Zac Efron says he hopes to return to the Oscars one day when he gets nominated. Zac Efron, I now hate you slightly more.
- You may have predicted all all of the winners correctly Ben Lyons, but you’re still the biggest hack in Hollywood.
- Cheers to Robert De Niro for being so funny during the Oscars. Your performances can make me cry, but I had no idea you could make me laugh.
- I usually hate children, but the sight of those adorable little Indian children from “Slumdog Millionaire” (or “slumpuppies,” as FilmDrunk calls them) are slightly making me change my mind. Or at least proving that little Asian children are cuter than little American children.
- Ben Lyons, I still hate you.