March 7, 2010

A first-hand look at the Oscars from Roger Ebert!

Rather than bore you with lists of winners (YAWWWWNNN) I thought it would be better to get a detailed look from Roger Ebert. Uncompromising, no holds barred ciritque, accolades, he says it best. I was so hoping to see a paradigm shifting film win best picture - it was not to be. BUT there was some awe-inspiring stuff - Streisand's announcement of Bigelow's best director win was one for the history books.

So here is the post from Mr. Ebert!

No pain for Bigelow, "Hurt Locker"

BY ROGER EBERT / March 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES — “The Hurt Locker,” a film that was made with little cash but limitless willpower, defeated the highest-grossing film in history and won the best picture Oscar and five others Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre. The director of the spine-chilling war drama, Kathryn Bigelow, also became the first woman to ever win the best director Oscar. James Cameron, director of “Avatar” and her ex-husband, cried all the way to the bank.

Bigelow did it, I believe, because she quite simply made the best film: The tension generated by the film was extraordinary. Yes, situations involving effusing bombs are common enough, but somehow Bigelow made the bomb scenes human, not technical. She has been a masterful action director from the get-go, with “The Loveless,” “Near Dark,” “Blue Steel” and “Point Break” between 1982 and 1991. Her career has been a triumph over preconceptions.

Sandra Bullock, an A-list star recently found in B-list roles, won the best actress Oscar for “The Blind Side.” It starred her as a Memphis real estate woman who invites a disadvantaged black kid into her family and sees him become a football star, which is expected, but also a decent student at the private school that recruited him. An improbable plot, if it weren't based on fact. It was a busy weekend for Bullock, who Saturday night accepted the Razzie Award as the year's worst actress for “All About Steve.”

Jeff Bridges raised a yell from the audience when he won as best actor for “Crazy Heart.” He was nominated for his first major feature role 38 years ago, “The Last Picture Show” (1972). Sunday night, he collected on the fifth. He paid tribute to his parents, especially his father Lloyd, “who taught me the panics of acting.”

The movie came out of nowhere in December to pick up all the major awards from critics' groups, and then steamrollered over early favorite George Clooney (“Up in the Air”) to win the gold. Somehow this was the time for Bridges, once described in a New York Times cover story as “the best unknown star in Hollywood.”

A mighty roar went up when Mo'Nique was named best supporting actress. She played the crude, abusive mother in “Precious.” She thanked the academy for proving “it can be about the performance and not about the politics.” And she also thanked Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar winner (for “Gone With the Wind”), “for enduring all she had to, so that I would not have to.” At that time, the Oscars were announced at an academy dinner, and McDaniel was required to sit at a table by herself.

Mo'Nique with her Oscar.
(AP photo)
(Enlarge Image)
Mo'Nique's win was almost universally expected, but popular because this was her first major role and she stunned audiences with her power. Portrayed throughout as a vile monster, she has a monologue in which she haltingly explains herself, and we realize we are looking at a victim of exactly the abuse she was passing on to her daughter.

Christoph Waltz was gobsmacked when he won best actor at Cannes in May 2009, and he was still astonished here when he won the supporting actor Oscar. It is his performance, more than any other, that distinguishes Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds,” and in effect, he's the leading man.

“Quentin with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took this ship across and brought it in with flying colors, and that's why I'm here,” Waltz said. “This is your welcoming embrace, and there's no way I can ever thank you enough.”

His timing in the early “glass of milk” scene takes pages of QT's dialogue and demonstrates how it must be performed. How many directors could get away with so much dialogue at the top? How many actors could so brilliantly allow him to? The more Waltz talks, so deliberately, the more we want to listen.

“The Hurt Locker” began its successful evening with its Oscar for original script, written by Mark Boal. Its construction was indeed original, depending as much on external suspense as on our tension about what the hero, the bomb disposal expert James, was capable of.

The adapted script Oscar went to Geoffrey Fletcher for “Precious,” in an upset, since Jason Reitman's “Up in the Air” was thought to be the front runner. In a highly emotional speech, Fletcher dedicated the Oscar, as the film was also dedicated, to “precious girls and boys everywhere.”

“Up,” a film so good it was also nominated for best picture, won for best animated film. Director Pete Docter of Pixar spread the credit in his acceptance specch, but he led the charge to change perceptions of animated films, and “Up” transcended categories to reach adults without kids as escorts.

“The Cove,” produced by actor and Chicago native won best documentary Oscar. A thriller in documentary format, it was about a dangerous attempt to film Japanese fishermen as they lured, entrapped and murdered countless dolphins. The film contained shocking information about the health hazards of the meat, and its misleading labeling.

From their opening monologue, co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were surprisingly unfunny. Their opening lines would have been funny delivered by one emcee, but having them do alternate reads from the prompter was a mistake. Nor did either one seem to really speaking in the first person.

One major drawback of having 10 BP nominees is that 10 film intros robbed us of five best song performances. There was an impressive live-and-film tribute to musical scores, on the big silver Art Deco stage of the Kodak Theatre.

Director John Hughes was too great a legend to be simply included in the traditional “In Memoriam” tribute. The clip package from his work stirred desires to see his films again. They seemed good at the time, and in these dreary days, they seem miraculous. As the stars he made — his “children” —strode forward, it became one of the greatest moments in Academy Award history.

The traditional memorial montage was well accompanied by pop-music veteran James Taylor. Every year they forget someone. This year it was a very big someone: Farrah Fawcett.

“Crazy Heart” won for best song, to nobody's surprise. It's a rare song written for a movie that actually sounds as if it could have been a big hit years ago in the hero's career. T Bone Burnett, a tall drink of water in dark shades, strode on stage with co-writer Ryan Bingham, but to general disappointment, I suspect, didn't say anything. A guy named T Bone wins an Oscar, you wanna hear him talk.

In the craft categories, “Avatar” won for its art direction and production design, which was only right, since its designers essentially designed a new world and everything in it. “James Cameron,” co-winner Rick Carter said, “this Oscar sees you.” Cameron oversaw the exhaustive detail work on the creation and even the biology of that world.

“Avatar” also won for visual effects — a foregone conclusion —over “District 9” and “Star Trek.” The category also encompassed the film's 3-D presentation, which was central to its success.

Lastly, “Avatar” won for cinematography, a choice I'm conflicted about. Wasn't much of the image creation done inside computers with CGI? Yes, the cinematographer had to fill needless scenes of actors before green screens, but the cinematography in “Inglourious Basterds” and “The White Ribbon” was so much more impressive.

“Star Trek” won for makeup, in a category that also included only “The Young Victoria” and “Il Divo” — the latter a film in which you weren't supposed to notice the makeup.

Read the rest HERE


Pardesi said...

The 10 funniest Oscar Tweets!


Here are 10 of the funniest Oscar tweets. Think of them as notes from the peanut gallery.

- "Shhhh. I'm live tweeting from directly under Sandra Bullocks chair." - Rainn Wilson (rainnwilson), actor.

- "Charlize Theron would like to thank R. Crumb and my 16-year-old id for designing her outfit tonight." - David Itzkoff (ditzkoff), New York Times reporter.

- "Just got lost for a minute, sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah... Zach Effron's (Zac Efron) eyes!" - Rob Corddry (robcorddr), comedian.

- "Looks like a Young Victoria sweep." - David Wain (davidwain), comedian.

- "Shortest Oscar story in history: ( ! > $ )" - Roger Ebert (ebertchicago), film critic.

- "Jeff Bridges is quickly closing in on Matthew McConaughey for 'best actor who has become a character from an early movie."' - Bill Simmons (sportsguy33), ESPN columnist.

- "Oscars Fun Fact - Samuel L Jackson spends 40% of his yearly income on Kangol hats..." - Eric Stangel (EricStangel), Late Show With David Letterman writer-producer.

- "Oh, Sam Worthington, your glasses make me think you're imperfect and therefore accessible." - Mindy Kaling (mindykaling), actor-writer.

- "Oprah's about to tell everyone in the audience there's an Oscar under their seat." - Foster Kamer (weareyourfek), blogger.

- "James Cameron is going into his own hurt locker right now." - Paul Scheer (paulscheer), comedian.

Pardesi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pardesi said...

And Raja Sen at his acerbic best on the OSCARS
The SAG awards, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs were all more fun, and it's no exaggeration that the Filmfare Awards [ Images ] this year -- yes, that over-rehearsed, over-long show that rewarded, exclusively and moronically, the wrong winners in each category -- that was rerunning on TV twelve hours before the Oscarcast, was more watchable. Stupid, but watchable.

Ben Stiller's [ Images ] Na'vi routine was the funniest moment all night, and it wasn't even particularly clever. But god bless ya, Bluelander.

The awards were an utter sham. A patently unwatchable film called The Blind Side was among the Best Picture nominees, and its title could be applied to the Academy members this year as they left out such obvious glories as The White Ribbon for Best Cinematography, Inglourious Basterds [ Images ] for Best Original Screenplay, In The Loop for Best Adapted Screenplay and gave everything to 'that great war film made by a woman', which, while solid, wasn't as Relevant as Up In The Air, as Spectacular as Avatar, or as Good as Inglourious Basterds.

The Hurt Locker [ Images ]'s biggest merit for the Academy was not the fact that it was gripping and smart and gritty -- lets forgive it the last twenty minutes -- but that it was Safe. And that a chick made it. How conveniently wonderful for the headlines. (Here's more on that. Sigh. Tarantino really should have burnt down the Kodak..."with gasoline!")

Sure, there was some good, almost inevitably: Christoph Waltz [ Images ] calling the fact that he got his Best Supporting Actor award from the ravishing Penelope Cruz [ Images ] an 'uber-bingo,' Quentin Tarantino [ Images ] and Pedro Almodovar sharing a stage together, Michelle Pfeiffer [ Images ] lovingly recounting her time making The Fabulous Baker Boys with Jeff Bridges [ Images ], and Bridges' own heartfelt, seriously groovy winning speech, man.

Yet the handsomest, coolest, single most charming man in the room sat under a scowl and made like us as the Oscars went on: George Clooney [ Images ] was bored stiff, and didn't bother pretending otherwise. Now that's a star.

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