I'm interested in these awards, not because of who wins or why. Sure we
all have our favorites, but the more we celebrate when someone we value
is recognized, the more we endorse this notion of a competition. A
competition in the arts?
No, I'm interested because I study introspection in film, and there is
no more obvious and consistent event than this show about shows, this
story about storymaking and the people involved. The entrance of the
players has become a sort of performance in itself, only the actual
awards seem to have escaped as we must suffer through each recipient's
list of people they are obligated to mention. Its a puzzling phenomenon
why this occurs: the persons judged by the world as the most able to
convey stories that matter and we end up with such dreary speeches,
But its the show, right? Well, this show really was something unusual.
As Jackman said is more "Show" than "Business." I'm sure he was
parroting a decision made by the Academy based on their plummeting
ratings. Regardless of the reason, the retread was welcome by me.
There were three notable elements, four if you count the pretty
wonderful Busby Berkeley inspired production number that Jackman led.
Two of them had to do with the stage, the physical stage itself. Since
spending time in the Globe and discovering the magic of stage geometry
all over again, I appreciated these and am a bit in wonder at the
sophistication of the designer, who I understand is Joe Celli.
He designed a massive halo curtain of glittering crystals. I have no
idea what something like this costs and what happens to the crystals.
It must have been really impressive in the physical space because of
the multispectral quality of refracted light. Elsewhere, I've written
of the quality of snow and early theater screens. They have this
presentation of scintillating colors that appears white but has an
inner life, an inner texture. I would have traveled to LA just to
experience this, which probably was better without the celebrities.
The other thing they did spatially was to design a stage that
repurposes the performance geometry on which the Globe theater was
based, the "Globe" of religious performance that Michelangelo created
in Saint Peter's Square (where the Pope does his celebrity performance
in fact this is also the origin of the red carpet).
There's a yet to be appreciated pentagonal quasicrystral structure
there, something that is tied deeply to notions of presence and being.
I'm certain that they did not integrate this design into other elements
of the show except as mentioned below. But its a pretty extraordinary
Where they did integrate this five-fold symmetry was in the most
extraordinary design change in the actual award presentations. For each
of the five nominees for important statues, they presented five
previous winners, each of whom "presented" the nominee. They were
placed on this floor-stage design in ALMOST a significant way. I think
perhaps the designer had them where it mattered. But they were
relocated so that the five large screens behind them could be captured
better in the focal frame of the three sailing cameras. Something of
shame. But the intent is amazingly, wonderfully, intelligently clear.
Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Australians! What else is there?
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching..
A different approach to the Oscars. Milk edges out the ram, Kate finally brings home gold, and the rags to riches story wins top prize!
"The 81st Annual Academy Awards" was certainly one of the first Oscars
that was done in a different style and direction. Unlike some of the
past ones the show was more a performance style than a laugh fest. As
evidenced by the host, as in the past when we laughed to the jokes and
skits of Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Ellen, or John Stewart well this
year the academy went a different route. A performer hosted that being
actor Hugh Jackman and he displayed his talent very well mostly in the
form of singing and performing well done skits and displays of the
nominated films. Jackman not only a talented actor, but a stage
performer you can tell his talent rubbed off well as his voice lit up
the Oscar stage well. Also the awards categories when presented were
handed out by at least five previous winners from the past of that
particular category a first that I saw. The most moving and touching
moment was the win of the late Heath Ledger as best supporting actor
for his wicked performance of the Joker in the "Dark Knight" as his
family mother, father, and sister accepting the award brought tears to
everyone. And finally long overdue was the win of Kate Winslet for best
actress the streak is over as her performance in the "Reader" broke her
losing streak. And in the hot contested race of best actor Sean Penn's
lifelike performance of gay politician Harvey Milk edged out the
comeback kid Mickey Rourke as Mickey's turn in "The Wrestler" had all
of us hoping for an underdog win. As in the best picture race as
expected Hollywood loves a fairy tale as expected the rags to riches
tale "Slumdog Millionaire" took best picture and it scooped up a total
of eight wins. Overall one of the more recent better Oscars as with the
hosting the show was less funny yet the talent and performance display
was moving even though the shows pace ran a little bit over. Yet this
81st edition is most memorable for having one of the best and closest
best actor races in years and it shows Hollywood always has a big heart
for a rags to riches picture and as Kate proves just keep trying. But
most of all history was made with Ledger's win as he became the first
posthumous Oscar winner since Peter Finch who won for 1976's "Network".
So overall one of the better award shows in recent years. Yet one last
question where was Jack Nicholson?.