Hugh Jackman had a great time as host of this year's Academy awards,
and so did we. His joy was infectious. The staging and set up is
probably one of the best I've seen in all my years of watching these
shows. The pre-show done by Jackman and Anne Hathaway was passable, but
the whole production came across as so real and human, it astounded us.
This actually was very well done. The set up for the presentations were
beautiful, reminiscent, reflective, and sweetly genuine. This moved us
tremendously, and it helped us know how deep some of the relationships
go inside Hollywood. This was most excellent, and I cannot wait until
next year's show. I am already starting to wonder who will host, what
movies will make it, and how the stage will be set up. Yeah, I'mma
I have to say that Ben Stiller's parody of Joaquin Phoenix was the
funniest moment in the show. I also loved Heath Ledger's family and
what they had to say, promising and accepting Heath's posthumous Oscar
to "his sweet Mathilda." I loved the new way they set up and presented
each Oscar. I loved the new "tribute" portion, Queen Latifah sang "I'll
be seeing you" magnificently. I was moved by Jerry Lewis and the
Academy's acknowledgment for all his hard work and dedication...coming
out there on stage as he did, unaided by cane or friend (they're all
gone now), seeing him standing there in sweet sweet reverie while his
peers greet him with a "standing O" was so touching ... and so fitting.
I won't bore you with who won what. Everyone else will do that. I just
wanted to let you know what you missed, as this was the greatest Oscars
show I can remember having seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I LOVE the
changes they made to the presentation style. WOW!
I give it 8/10 for great presentation and indefatigable style...
the Fiend :..
Best Oscar Ceremony in Years!!
I'm really impressed with this year's Oscars ceremony. I scored a
whopping 2.5 GPA in Hollywire's own Oscars contest, but even though my
predictions were generally not exactly on the mark, I still found the
ceremony to be more interesting and well-planned than previous years.
Hugh Jackman took on hosting duties for the first time, but it was the
overall outline of the entire show that makes it stand apart from some
less impressive previous ceremonies. I wasn't thrilled with Joh Stewart
as the host, mostly because his style of humor makes it impossible for
him to congratulate someone on their achievement without sounding
sarcastic. Jackman is a tremendous talent, but I think the best thing
about his hosting performance is that he disappeared periodically. Even
with such a great screen presence, there's no reason to have one person
monopolizing the entire show, right?
And by the way, I was highly impressed with the two musical numbers
that Hugh performed. He starts with an amusing comment on the global
financial crisis by performing an amazingly well-rehearsed song and
dance using props made out of cardboard and other household supplies,
explaining that due to budget cuts he had to plan the whole thing in
his garage. I also loved the new way of introducing the nominees, by
having five previous winners walk to the center of the stage and each
one introduce one of this year's nominees. The introductory speeches,
most importantly of all, have begun to lose that wooden sound that they
have had so often in the past. I could never understand how they could
take some of the most talented people in the industry and have them
come out and make some stupid joke before introducing their category.
I'm glad to see that we're moving past that!
Queen Latifah sang a beautiful song during the In Memoriam sequence,
where we pay tribute to all of the people in show business that passed
away in the last year. I was surprised at how many people we lost -
from Charleton Heston and James Whitmore (who died earlier this month)
to Anthony Minghella, Syndey Pollack and Paul Newman.
You may have noticed, however, the preposterous omission of Heath
Ledger. How did that happen? He was one of the most talked about
celebrities involved in this year's ceremony and he wasn't even
included in the In Memoriam part of the show! What the hell happened? I
realize he was included in last year's Oscar ceremony because he died
before the show was broadcast, but he won an Academy Award for his
performance in 2008! Doesn't that merit being remembered again?
Also noticeable was the lack of any overly long or politically touchy
acceptance speeches. I was amazed at how gracious and classy every
acceptance speech was. No one spoke for too long, no one had to be
rushed off the stage by that damned orchestra, and no one used the
opportunity to go into any kind of political tirade. It's clear that
some people are going to be offended by some of the things that Sean
Penn said in his acceptance speech for Best Actor, but he was talking
about the intolerance of homosexuality that is all around us in modern
American culture. It's political, yes, but at least that was what his
entire performance was all about. Oh, and Bill Maher couldn't resist
using the spotlight to try to sell his own unsuccessful documentary and
make a political statement, but I guess we can't really expect anything
different from him, right?
There were some surprises and some not so surprising wins. It was
pretty much well-known that Slumdog Millionaire would win the Best
Picture Oscar for some weeks before the show, due in no small part to
its successes in other awards ceremonies, although it was for the same
reason that Mickey Rourke was expected to receive the Best Actor Oscar,
which instead went to Sean Penn for his performance in Milk.
I watched the Oscars assuming that The Reader was not as widely seen as
many of the other nominees, so I wasn't expecting Kate Winslet to be
recognized for her incredible performance in it. I put Angelina Jolie
and Meryl Streep ahead of her, although like so many other categories
this year, it was an extremely difficult choice. Whatever your choices
were for the winners in any category, based on the overall selection of
nominees this year, it seems pretty clear to me that movies are getting
better and better every year.
We had overtly political movies like Milk and Frost/Nixon that never
generated any political disagreements or tasteless speeches, a Best
Picture winner that won our hearts despite focusing on the poorest
segment of a very foreign culture, a sadly overlooked analysis of our
immigration policies and national security infrastructure in both The
Visitor and Frozen River, and some wonderful but unconventional
nominations in Robert Downey Jr. for his outstanding work in Tropic
Thunder and a richly deserved Make-Up nomination for Hellboy II. The
tribute to Jerry Lewis was also well-deserved and deeply moving.
Overall, the Oscars were just a huge success this year. The set was as
stunning as ever, the performances were entertaining and meaningful,
and the introductions were uniformly respectful and well-written. In
particular, Robert DeNiro offered a particularly memorable introduction
of Sean Penn near the end of the show. But more than anything else, the
ceremony concentrated on our deep love of the movies, the power that
they have on our lives in so many ways from simply entertaining us to
generating meaningful soul-searching, and paying respect and tribute to
the men and women of the entertainment industry for their performances
past and present..