Slumdog Millionaire Takes Down Benjamin Button, Milk and The Reader:
This would have seemed astonishing a few months ago, but Slumdog
Millionaire picked up so much critical and popular momentum after
it swept the Golden Globes. No doubt, David Fincher is wondering what
happened... wasn't this supposed to be his year? And The Reader?
Between Hugh Jackman's opening song featuring a joke about not seeing
The Reader and the comedy sketch with James Franco and Seth Rogen
beside themselves with laughter while watching it (yes, Franco actually said that they were excited to see "young boys have sex with Nazis"), The Reader was kind
of a big, unexpected joke this year. What a strange Oscar turn of
Best Supporting Actress: Enough with all the talk about Marisa Tomei's nudity in The Wrestler. Enough already! I can't believe that the speech Tilda Swinton had to deliver about Marisa Tomei's performance highlighted Tomei's ability to show the "effortless physical expertise of a real working girl" and that she reminded all of us that a "stripper need never take off her dignity when she takes off her clothes." I also could not believe that Tim Gunn asked Amy Adams if she thought it was fair to be competing against Marissa Tomei, because Marisa Tomei got to be naked in The Wrestler while Amy Adams had to wear a habit in Doubt. Really?
Best Supporting Actor: Ah, Heath Ledger. It really was a brilliant performance, and his family payed a lovely tribute.
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black delivered a really moving speech about the personal and historic importance of Harvey Milk as well as (YES!) the future of gay rights. This was, I think, a really authentic and touching moment in a ceremony that is always so full of schmaltzy self-congratulation. I hope that the popularity and acclaim of Milk drives more people to see the wonderful documentary The Times of Harvey Milk for a more rich and complete portrait of the people and issues that are only touched on in Milk.
Romance in 2008: The romance film montage does a great job of reminding us how heteronormative Hollywood still is. I guess there's two clips of Milk in there, but I actually think that Milk gets more airtime during the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy schtick. It was all guys and dolls in 2008.
Action Movies in 2008: A few clips of Cate Blanchett from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the action movie montage but she's no action movie actress. It's all Angelina Jolie! This is one reason why I'm really bummed about the possibility that Jolie will be opting out of acting for the next few years: she's one of the few credible female action stars. What's more, she can actually carry an action movie. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need more women in action!
The Documentary Categories: Women filmmakers have much, much more representation in the documentary categories. I continue to find that a really interesting and telling trend. (Who let Bill Maher on stage?)
Jerry Lewis Gets the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: I guess the Academy felt like giving him a pass for all those homophobic comments he's made the past few years, right?
Best Actress: Kate Winslet was fiercely unmeltdowny tonight! I am so thrilled that Melissa Leo is now, officially, an Oscar nominated actress. Of course, most of America is asking, "Who is that woman?" And among those who recognized her, many probably wondered, "Wasn't she the actress who got kicked off of Homicide: Life on the Street because she wasn't hot enough?" Shirley MacLaine did deliver quite a personal speech to Anne Hathaway - I know that one made a whole lot of you Bitch readers happy!
Sean Penn Upsets Mickey Rourke: Who would have guessed I would be writing that a few years ago? Sean Penn called the Academy "commie, homo-loving sons of guns." Well, everyone in the Academy except Jerry Lewis, I guess.
Best Picture Nomination Montage: Did the Oscars just compare Milk to Braveheart? Hilarious!
So... what are your thoughts on the closing ceremonies of the 2008 awards season? And do you think the musical is really back?