All of the entertainment blogs and shows have been telling us that this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, despite less-than-impressive viewership last year: the 2009 Academy Awards winners have been announced amid a lot of pomp, circumstance, champagne, and chiffon.
Before the show, host Hugh Jackman told E! News that he’d already had three drinks, so it looked like things were going to be interesting. There was no Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston showdown on the red carpet, sorry, but there were a lot of gorgeous dresses, even if there was a surplus of white and cream (I was even impressed by what Miley Cyrus was wearing).
Before the show started, the adorable kids from ‘Slumdog, Millionaire’ won the award for the most appreciative of being there, although Ryan Seacrest degraded them somewhat by not attempting to pronounce all of their names and holding up an unreadable sheet of paper with all of them listed on it.
Actress Frieda Pinto and Dev Patel from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ also talked to Ryan Seacrest, and there did seem to be a lot of chemistry between the two (it’s been reported, by E! News, as a matter of fact, that Frieda dumped her not-so-hot hubby after she gained so much fame from being in the film). But regardless, I don’t think there’s anything serious going on with them.
Mickey Rourke wins the award for the most tear-jerking red carpet moment, when he reveals that he is wearing his deceased dog Loki’s dog tags and that he’d had a tux made for Loki, who was going to be his date.
Angelina Jolie was dressed in a very boring black dress, and I can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever realize that she won her only Oscar because she portrayed a crazy character that was basically who she was at that point in her life. To win again, she’d probably have to revisit that part of herself. She and Brad might get there someday; but this just wasn’t their night. The couple dissed Tim Gunn before the show (they probably didn’t realize he’s actually a nice gentleman who is only interested in fashion and not one of the dorky, intrusive entertainment reporters).
Tim Gunn did get in a good line when speaking to Marisa Tomei, telling her he was glad to see her with her clothes on.
The opening of the show was one of the best I’ve ever seen (can you believe that was Wolverine?) Seriously, someone needs to cast Hugh Jackman in an Oscar-worthy role in a musical! He’s a real one-man show. The beginning was scaled down, but so much more creative. There were doubters, but Hugh Jackman ended up being a perfect choice for host.
But now to the important part. Without further ado, here are the Academy Award winners:
Best Supporting Actress – I’m glad Penelope Cruz won, because we actually got to hear a good, heartfelt, original acceptance speech. Woody Allen has been providing women with Academy Award-winning films for years, and I’m glad he gave Penelope such an amazing, sexy role. Sure she got paid for doing something many people would pay to do (making out with Scarlett Johansson), but she definitely deserved the award. She thanked Pedro Almodovar for getting to take part in his adventures, said she came from a place where winning an Oscar was an impossibility, and said something that was probably really moving in Spanish. Two thumbs up for her speech!
Oh yeah, the big surprise of the awards presentations was having ex-winners come out and sing the praises of this year’s nominees. All of the actresses nominated were having a very tough time keeping their mascara from running.
Best Original Screenplay – I wasn’t too surprised that Dustin Lance Black snagged this one for ‘Milk’ (it’s hard to believe it was his first screenplay). He gave a great inspirational speech focused towards gay youth and equal rights. Two thumbs up for his speech!
Best Adapted Screenplay – ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ picked up its first award win of the night. Simon Beaufoy thanked his high school drama teacher for casting him in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (Awww). One thumb up for his speech.
Yikes! Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black? Although Jack Black does make a great joke about doing voices for Dreamworks films and betting the money he makes for it on Pixar movies at the Oscars.
Best Animated Film – Even though Wall-E’s style is an obvious ripoff of Johnny 5, this little robot touched audiences more than the Best Picture Winner. I guess optimism has just really been in this year.
I loved the speech for Best Animated short, ‘La Maison en Petits Cubes’. The guy said “Thank You” twenty times and ended with “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.”
Art Direction goes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Duchess wins for Costume Design.
Makeup goes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (of course, it’s a tough job making Brad Pitt look ugly!). The guy accepting isn’t too happy about winning. He just reads off a list of names.
OMG! It’s Robert Pattinson! And a romantic montage aimed at women viewers! Estrogen overload!
Ben Stiller does his best Joaquin Phoenix impersonation (the Spirit Awards already did it!) with a pretty in pink Natalie Portman. He says he wants to retire from being the funny guy and get into cinematography, and then wanders around the stage John McCain-ishly as Natalie reads off the nominees for best cinematography. And Slumdog Millionaire picks up its second win of the night.
Hot girl Jessica Biel talks about the technical awards to make them seem not so boring (but doesn’t succeed).
Next up is a nice ‘Pineapple Express’ skit starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, and a D.P. (I have never heard that term used until this year, and now I hear it all the time). Franco gets Barack Obama and Robert Downey, Jr. confused, and the two laugh at inappropriate moments during ‘Doubt’ and ‘The Reader’. Then they share a bromantic moment while watching Franco and Penn make out in ‘Milk’ and talk about making a pipe out of an Oscar (Genius!)
The guy who wins for Live Action Short says it took him four years to create a 14-minute film. (it went to ‘Spielzeugland’, which Franco completely butchered the name of.)
Hugh Jackman does another musical number with Beyonce, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Amanda Seyfried, and Dominic Cooper (really trying to appeal to the youth demographic, I see). It’s a musical mash-up of great songs from past popular films, and Hugh Jackman declares that the musical is back at the end of it (I wish it really was, because I think he’d rather sing and dance than be a superhero).
Best Supporting Actor – It was no big surprise that this award went to Heath Ledger, even though I really thought the Academy would shy away from posthumously honoring someone (they’ve done this quite often in the past). James Franco got the only shot of another actor at winning the award in this category at the Independent Spirit Awards, and he wasn’t even nominated for the Academy Awards. I’m not sure if Heath would have won had he stayed alive, but his family gave moving speeches that brought the crowd to tears. And at least Heath Ledger’s daughter Matilda will have a great memento.
Best Documentary – It’s no surprise that Man on a Wire gets this one. It’s hard to beat a man walking on a tightrope between the twin towers, after all. Bill Maher presents the award in front of a tearful audience and brings up the subject of religion (he didn’t get nominated for his film taking on the tough subject), and you can feel the tension in the audience through the television. The actual subject of the documentary, Philippe Petit, sprints on stage, does a magic trick, and balances the Oscar on his chin. Two thumbs up for that acceptance speech and lightening the mood!
Documentary Short goes to Smile Pinki, which sounds like a film on an important subject. It’s just too bad no one will get to see it.
An unviewable action movie montage (everything flies by so fast it’s impossible to tell what’s going on) + Will Smith = everyone who hasn’t seen any of the other films of the night being temporarily entertained (well, in theory).
Visual effects goes to ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, and ‘The Dark Knight’ snags Sound Editing, giving Slumdog it’s first loss of the night. But it then racks up Sound Mixing and Editing, so it’s on it’s way to a pretty big sweep.
The King of Telethons wins the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The camera has to show a perturbed-looking Sean Penn (it’s a gay thing), and we get a classic Jerry face at the end of his short but sweet speech (I can’t believe Jerry Lewis hasn’t already won this!) His poor granddaughter looks just like him.
Now we get to hear selections from the scores for the Jon Williams- I mean, the Best Score Award. Hmmm… seems like I heard these last year. It’s amazing how well they all blend together! OMG! It’s Zac Efron again! And ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ wins yet another little gold man.
Yay! It’s more ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ dancing! Somewhere Ellen is shaking her groove thang. (Dev Patel loves it!) And the Best Song Award goes to… ‘Slumdog Millionaire’! Oh wait, there were two songs from the movie. ‘Jai Ho’ (the one with the dancing!) wins.
Foreign Language Film – This is one of the few surprises of the night. ‘Departures’, the tale of a classical musician who ends up working at a mortuary (which is by far the most intriguing-sounding of the nominees) wins. And everyone chuckles at the foreigners stumbling over English words.
Why are we only seeing Queen Latifah in the ‘In Memoriam’ segment? Finally! The camera guys get it right. And now I’m depressed over seeing all the people who died that I was unaware of.
But the President of the Academy tries to cheer everyone up with a going away gift: not giving a speech.
Best Director goes to Danny Boyle for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and he does some bizarre jumping thing (his kids are big Tigger fans, apparently). Everyone’s been doing well with their acceptance speeches, but wait! What’s this travesty? He didn’t mention the choreographer in the credits? Give that award back! (One thumb down!)
Sophia Loren refuses to age and owns the stage when the best actress nominees are announced, but Shirley MacLaine looks great, too. She praises Anne Hathaway’s singing, so look for her next role to be in a musical. And all of these actresses talking about actresses sure seem to induce watery eyes! The Great Kate wins (surprise, surprise); Anne Hathaway pretends she’s thrilled; and Kate is breathing like her girdle is just a little too tight. Her speech is rather boring, but she does get her dad to whistle loudly.
And now for the only big moment of the night: Mickey Rourke vs. Milk. Robert DeNiro can’t believe Sean Penn has been playing a straight guy all these years, and the applause for Penn’s praise is uproarious (things look bad for Mickey Rourke). Mickey Rourke doesn’t get the same amount of applause, although it looks like Robert Pattinson is strategically lurking behind him to give all the gals one last thrill. And since gay is the new black in Hollywood, Sean Penn wins. He reminds people why they should hate him, then does something useful and expresses his support for gay marriage to a standing ovation. He also graciously mentions Mickey Rourke, who probably would have won if Hollywood had forgiven him and if Prop 8 didn’t exist. Sean Penn makes sure that we all know he’s proud to be an American, because we can elect an “elegant” President (guess the side effects of his role haven’t worn off yet). Anyway, I hope his win does help with the gay rights movement, and I’ll give it two thumbs up for effort.
And for the most predictable moment of the night: Best Picture. I think everyone knew this was going to be ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. It seems that it’s only real competition was ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, according to critics, and since that film was not much more than a ‘Forrest Gump’ redo, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ had it pretty easy. However, I’d like to point out that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is incredibly similar to ‘City of God’, which wasn’t nominated in the Best Picture or even Best Foreign Picture category at the Academy Awards in 2004. Basically, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is the same story set in a different country with a Hollywood twist and a M.I.A. music video starring some very talented, underpaid children. This wasn’t the best year for films, however, so I think it deserves the win. I’m just saying that it’s not as original as everyone has been saying it is, but it’s a great feel-good film with a story that people in America seem to be in the mindset for right now. Oh, the acceptance speech was boring.
Now for my favorite part: the disclaimer about how the awards are handled and the results absolutely cannot be leaked, you gullible Internet addicts!