Well, that was a disaster.
For some reason the Oscar Predictions website is down, so I can’t tell who won the pool, but I don’t suppose it matters because I got killed this year. I got 13 out of 24 categories, 7 less than I predicted, 2 less than last year, and barely more than half. Ick.
I’ll say this for the Oscars – they’re all about the awards. The Grammys goes on for four hours and gives away maybe seven awards during the broadcast, giving the rest away in pre-ceremonies and commercial breaks. The Oscars gives out every single award in primetime, including best editing, best documentary short, best live-action short, best animated short, and both sound awards, plus a presentation on the technical Oscars held the night before (and have you ever noticed they always send the hottest young actress they can convince to do that gig? It’s always a bunch of 70-year olds and some actress desperate for credibility. This year it was Jessica Alba, and a bunch senior citizen who looked like they hit the jackpot). Anyway, no other award show would dare to be so boring.
I enjoyed the Oscars, though, I love the whole bunch-of-actors-and-actresses-in-fancy-clothes-reading-off-teleprompters thing. Let’s cover the highs and lows.
1. Jon Stewart’s a great host, especially during an election year – you’ll notice he managed to do the black man/white woman running for President joke without walking all over it, Mr. Mencia. Still, he seemed a little nervous, and a couple times a joke just didn’t go over, and you could tell that he felt it. Still, some of his seemingly off-the-cuff bits were pretty good, including the Pregnancy Of The Year Award bit. I’d like to see him again.
2. I love people who really, really can’t believe they just won an Oscar. Marion Cotillard looked like she just woke up in Candyland, and that one lady who made “Freeheld” looked like she wasn’t gonna sleep for weeks. The best one was how Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova were just so humbled by winning, that was my favorite win of the night.
3. By the way, props to the Oscars for letting Irglova come back out and actually say her bit after they accidentally cut her off after winning. It took cajones to admit to that mistake, and I thought her speech was pretty inspiring, for an Oscar speech. I wish everyone would stop talking about how Once was shot in 17 days, though, this habit that filmmakers have gotten into about bragging about the length of the shoot is getting dull. Paris Hilton will be bragging about how her latest sex tape only took 38 minutes to shoot if this keeps up.
4. The musical numbers were all pretty good, with the exception of the August Rush song, which was middling at best (that little kid has pipes, though). I kind of wish Amy Adams had her fans wanted to see her do both. Everything was decent except for “Falling Slowly,” which was exceptional, the clear highlight of the whole show, especially that final shot where the camera swooped down from Hansard and Irglova to the orchestra, then up to the conductor as he finished, then finally up to audience. That’s television magic right there, I hope you saw it.
5. I really, truly, honestly wanted someone to just wipe out on that slick spot that everyone kept slipping on. I was really rooting for Eva Longoria or someone similarly unlikeable to end up absolutely taking out that podium.
6. As awkward as it always is, Peter Boyle’s long, wandering Honorary Oscar speech was nice. I like old guys looking back to the old days. Not many people thank Alfred Hitchcock when they get their Oscars anymore.
7. Of the 79 Best Picture winners they showed, there were at least five I had never heard of in any context. That worried me. I’m gonna go update my Netflix queue.
8. Transformers got swept, didn’t get a single win. I’m torn between feeling really bad for Kevin O’Connell and being thrilled Michael Bay is still Oscar-free.
9. I was 0 for 7 on predictions I announced aloud before the ballot was read. Next year, I’m not gonna get cocky like that, it never seems to go well for me.
10. And finally, is it just me, or do the Oscars seem to have a jollier, more welcoming, family feel than other award shows? The hosts and award recipients are always off-handedly pointing out members of the audience that they spot and they’d like to thank, or stopping on their way to shake hands with old friends, or getting hugs from their presenters. It just seems so much less staged and more honest than the Grammys. Maybe it’s got something to do with the way movies work, that these guys just know each other better.
And now, the results. There’s no avoiding this now, I’m afraid, I’ve got to go over my wins and losses from tonight. Let’s run it down. Normally I start with disappointments and move on to victories, but this year I’m too embarrassed after my confident predictions crumbled to dust, so I’ll start with what I got right:
What I Got Right:
Honestly, a lot. I got Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, both writing awards, plus seven more. I felt best about getting Best Song since I was so thrilled for Hansard and Irglova, who were both outrageously humbled by winning, and Best Score, which I thought was a solid guess on my part. Oh, and Best Editing, since I went with my gut, against the conventional wisdom, and got it right.
What I Got Wrong:
All of the smaller categories. Best Documentary Short, Animated Short, Live-Action Short, Documentary Feature, both Sound Awards (they both went to Bourne instead of both going to Transformers), plus Visual Effects, Costuming, Cinematography, and both Actress awards. I’m kicking myself over Best Actress and Costuming, both of which I think I should’ve seen coming, the rest I can deal with. I was surprised by Cinematography again, I thought that There Will Be Blood was more of an art direction/directing movie, but that was a tough category to pick. Oh, and on Documentary Short, I went with AIDS in Iraq and the winner was homosexual marriage in America. I’ll take note of that next year.
You know, looking back on it, I didn’t do so bad. I only missed two of the eight majors (I got Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Screenplay, and missed Actress and Supporting Actress), and overall had a solid showing. Sure, I might’ve shown myself to not be prescient, but I’ve clearly got my finger on the pulse of the Academy enough to get the big ones right. I think I did fine.
See you next year.