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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Oscars

Sunday night marked this year’s Oscars, and I did not watch them live because I figured the outcome was predetermined, and the Hollywood elites would all go straight for the obvious favorite among the artsy types at every opportunity. I was wrong.

Looking over the results I was pleased to note that the truly deserving film did, in fact, win the award for Best Picture. Crash was easily the best, most deserving movie among the nominees, and the Academy surprised me by actually siding with me on this picture. To be fair, I must confess I did not watch Brokeback Mountain, and it was more than just the pro-homosexual theme, it was also the fact that the previews made it look like a sappy chick flick, only with the slightly nauseating twist of being made for homosexuals. Munich pissed me off by being sympathetic to terrorists while hinting at anti-Semitism, and the other two I never heard of.

Best Director went to Ang Lee for Brokeback mountain, and from all I have heard, including from people who hated the movie, he really did deserve it. I am happy Spielberg didn’t win for Munich. Still, Crash was so impressive I would have liked to see it win here as well.

Best Original Screenplay went to Crash, while Best Adapted Screenplay went to Brokeback Mountain. Truthfully, I have no idea what the difference is between an original and an adapted screenplay. Both are writing awards for the script, and neither of the winners was competing against the other in either category. However, since I choose class and tension over sappy any day of the week, I would have liked to see The Constant Gardener take the award for Adapted Screenplay, whatever that is.

The Best actress category had controversy because Felicity Huffman was nominated for her role in Transamerica, a movie about a transsexual that nobody outside of San Francisco apparently heard of before the Oscar nominees were announced. Fortunately, Reese Witherspoon deservedly won the award for her excellent performance in the biopic “Walk the Line”. Whether you are a Johnny Cash fan or not, I recommend you see this truly excellent movie about the life of a great American musician.

Cinematography went to Memoirs of a Geisha, as did Art Direction, and Costume design. Truthfully, this movie could have won Best Picture and Best Director as well as far I am concerned. It is a virtually flawless movie in every respect, but it was not nominated for those categories for some reason. Too bad.

The Chronicles of Narnia won Best Makeup, and while I love this movie, I really think Memoirs of A Geisha should have won this one.

King Kong swept every other technical award, and it really deserved it. The movie was a fantastical feast of special effects blended with a beefed up, expanded and improved story of King Kong.

Best Original Song, predictably, went to Hustle and Flow, a movie that, in my opinion, has as its greatest distinction the rare uplifting message of rising above street life. This is rare because it is a “ghetto” type movie, most of which portray an inescapable world of drugs and violence.

Best original score went to Brokeback Mountain. Okay . . . I never saw the movie, nor have I heard the soundtrack, although the fact that any movie could have beaten BOTH Memoirs of a Geisha and Pride and Prejudice is rather shocking to me. Both movies have truly great classical soundtracks.

Best Documentary went to March of the Penguins, which is surprising only in that the award actually went to a documentary people have heard of for once. Although it didn’t win, I do want to see Darwin’s Nightmare. I have never heard of it before, and the title may be misleading, but the title does pique my interest.

Everyone, including myself, were absolutely certain the acting awards were all going to go Brokeback Mountain, not just because the actors truly did a fine job by all accounts, but also because there are three ways for an actor virtually guarantee a win in an acting category. 1 – Play someone with cancer. 2 – Play a homosexual. 3 – Be real pretty, and play a role where you must be truly ugly. Heck, Charlize Theron combined 2 and 3 and won easily. Tom Hanks won his first Oscar, and a new career in drama for his role as a homosexual AIDS victim in Philadelphia. These 3 rules are true winners. Not this year. This year Rachel Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Constant Gardener. Best Supporting Actor went to George Clooney for Syriana. Best Actor went to Phillip Seymour Hofman for his role in Capote. And I have already discusses Best Actress earlier.

Finally, in a year of, mostly, disappointing animated films, Wallace and Grommit won an easy victory for Best Animated Film.

There are a few other awards for shorts, but since I don’t care about those awards I will not discuss them here.

In a way, I am very relieved that Brokeback Mountain did not sweep every award it was nominated for. The buzz of the nation was that it was a shoe-in for everything because it was such a pro-homosexual romance/drama, just what the Hollywood elites have been waiting for. Had it won so conclusively it would have demonstrated beyond all doubt what Hollywood stands for in the social and artistic sense. By going by actual merit rather than by favored theme the Academy has shown that it still has a way to go before it becomes a merely ideological foray into the art world. To me at least, it is a comforting thought. Also, now I feel like an idiot for missing out on seeing Jon Stewart host the awards. I really wanted to see that.

8 Comments:

  • An adapted screenplay is a moive script adapted from a novel or a play, while an original screenplay is just that- original.

    I'm glad Crash won too. i didn't see Brokeback Mountain and I could give a damn less. Not all people are into that crap. Crash was an amazing movie.

    While I was not a fan of The Constant Gardener, I'm glad Rachel Weisz won. She did an amazing job.

    Here's a movie question for you- are you against the release of The Da Vinci Code?

    By Blogger Unsigned, at 9:26 AM  

  • "Here's a movie question for you- are you against the release of The Da Vinci Code?"

    Againt it? Should I be? It's a popular book, and people will see the movie. Hollywood would have been retarded to NOT make it a movie.

    As for whether I will see it or not, I am unsure. The book is a work of fiction that claims to based on fact, and the supposed "facts" it is based on have been throughly discredited for centuries, and are condemned as heresy. It is for this combination that I have not read the book, and am inclined to forgo seeing the movie as well.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 9:57 AM  

  • Watching trained monkeys giving awards to other trained monkeys is a bizarre way to spend your time I think. If more people stopped watching award and celebrity gossip shows maybe we could go back to letting the performers entertain us, leave the stage and then keep their traps shut.

    By Blogger ScottG, at 11:15 AM  

  • An adapted screenplay is just what it says it is, as Brokeback Mountain and Constant Gardener were originally books before being adapted into screenplays. Unlike Crash which originated as a screenplay.

    And on the subject of Brokeback I won't bother chastising your lazy conservatism about the film (been there, done that) but I really hate the way that certain types of person will describe it as a 'pro-homosexual' movie. Those guys in the film have a miserable life because of their sexuality! Just because a film finally uses gay characters in a leading role it does not mean that the world has gone gay gay gay. One film, compare it to all the other films currently released that feature heterosexual protagonists. If we were being realistic there would be loads of gay characters in films just like there are in the real world, and these characters wouldn't exist just as tokens. They would be characters' brothers and fathers, postmen, cowboys, chefs, scientists, bank managers, dancers, actors, Catholic Priests (heh) and so on.

    Bored of the overreaction of narrow minded fools to one measley film!

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 11:24 AM  

  • Why would anyone be against the release of the DaVinci Code?

    I had seen a total of three of ALL the movies up for awards and those three were not in any of the major awards categories. I've got to get out more, I guess.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:04 PM  

  • Dan Trabue and I are in the same boat: I had only seen Star Wars and Walk the Line of all the movies nominated. I agree with you, Daniel, in that Walk the Line was a great movie. I went out and bought The Legend of Johnny Cash the next day and have been listening ever since.

    As to The DaVinci Code: interesting topic, pedestrian novel. I hate to criticize someone else's novel (as I've never written one) but The DaVinci Code was not well written.

    I actually asked a conservative Christian friend of mine (the one who wrote the Christmas speech I forwarded to you, Daniel) about the theological implications of Christ being married to Mary Magdalene. He said "I'm not sure but I just know it would not be a good thing." I found that comment to be very insightful into the conservative Christian mindset. As an atheist, I find the notion that Jesus may have been married comforting. It makes him more human and his teachings more extraordinary.

    By Blogger Samurai Sam, at 1:53 PM  

  • As the manager of a bookshop I can say that The Da Vinci Code is tripe but people like to read tripe.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 2:33 PM  

  • Well, I haven't seen any of the films! I'd like to see "Walk The Line", though. I'm glad Reese Witherspoon won best actress- I've seen her on CMT in the "Jackson" video, and she does great.

    But what irritated me was what won "best song".
    The song is "Hard to be a pimp these days" from the movie "Hustle and Flow" and features lovely lyrics like:

    North Memphis where I'm from, I'm 7th Street bound
    Where niggaz all the time end up lost and never found ...
    They come hopin every night, they don't end up bein dead
    Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
    You pay the right price and they'll both do you


    Well, ain't that nice?

    By Blogger Rebekah, at 6:04 PM  

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