So by the end of the night, there were no major surprise, David had slew Goliath, and history was made as a woman finally (and deservedly) walked off with a Best Director trophy. It was a great night for the Hurt Locker, walking away with 6 Oscars including Picture, Director, and Screenplay. It also became the lowest grossing movie of all time to win the Award (or even be nominated) as it knocked off Avatar, the highest grossing movie ever made. It was definitely the moment of the evening when Kathryn Bigelow bested her ex-husband James Cameron to claim her Best Director award. Ben Stiller was a close second for moment of the night when he appeared to present dressed as an Avatar and briefly speaking the Na'vi language. Overall, I thought it was a great show. Here are some random thoughts I had during the show:
- Why open the show with all 10 lead acting nominees on stage. Thought that was unnecessary.
- I hate Neil Patrick Harris and his stupid song-and-dance introduction
- Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were hit-and-miss during their opening monologue. I was cracking up at the "Jew Hunter" joke though.
- Christoph Waltz gave a good speech and I really liked listening to the way he talks as I did watching him in Inglourious Basterds. Performance of the year, glad he won and kept the villains in the supporting actor category streak going.
- I liked the characters from the animated films bit before the best animated film was announced. It was a good year for that category. I had mixed feelings about nominating Up in that category and in Best Picture though.
- I liked limiting the nominated songs to a brief clip instead of 5 full performances. Those songs usually make the show drag. Nice to see the expected Crazy Heart song win.
- The John Hughes tribute was lame and even lamer were the has-been stars from his movies paying tribute to him. Why should he be the only person who died last year to get their own personal tribute.
- The Hurt Locker was not the best original screenplay, but it won anyway
- I liked how they made the shorts awards interesting by showing past winners and what wins did for their careers. I saw some of the shorts and thought the wrong ones won though, esp. Logorama
- Ben Stiller was hilarious as usual, one of the highlights of the night
- The Governor's Ball clip should not replace the Lifetime Acheivement Award
- Precious was not the best original screenplay (This should have been Up in the Air's category) but the winner, Geoffrey Fletcher seemed utterly surprised and it was a nice moment when he went blank during the thank-yous
- Why did Robin Williams present the Supporting Actress Award. I thought someone connected to Heath Ledger would present as he would have presented the award.
- I was pleased with Mo'Nique's tasteful acceptance speech and her thanking Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Oscar. I'm not sure I agree with her that her win was "based on the performance, not politics" though.
- I liked the presentations of clips from the 10 Best Picture nominees throughout the show.
- Baldwin and Martin's Paranormal Activity spoof skit was hilarious
- I couldn't figure out why they had the horror tribute, but I liked it anyway
- I liked Morgan Freeman explaining the sound effects and mixing. I really thought they did the lesser categories justice this year.
- Loved seeing James Taylor play The Beatles "In My Life" during the In Memory segment
- They brought back the street dancers to do their silly interpretive dancing to the Original Score nominees. It was nice hearing what the scores sound like. During this segment, I thought, man the Ennio Morricone score from Inglourious Basterds wasn't even nominated and was way better than the 5 nominated.
- Why is there always a surprise in the Foreign Language category. For example, in the past The Lives of Others beat Pan's Labyrinth and last year Departures beat the class and this year El Secreto de Sus Ojos beat the favored The White Ribbon. Maybe this is one of the few categories based on merit and not buzz or politics.
- I liked the clips for Best Actor/Actress followed by the nominees introduction by past collaborators.
- Loved seeing Jeff Bridges win, man, and give that totally great speech, dude, paying tribute to his mom and dad and stuff, man. Great moment and speech.
- Sandra shouldn't have won, but did and gave a very nice speech. I think I like her as a person, but not an actress.
- Barbara Streisand, WTF. In addition to not being able to stand her, it took away all the suspense from Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to win the Best Director. Still, after the award was handed over, and Streisand went out of view, Bigelow had the night's best moment as she graciously accepted and gave a humble speech.
- Tom Hanks awarded the Hurt Locker, which was nice to see the little film that could win, even though it probably didn't deserve it.
- Final thoughts: The Hurt Locker triumphed, while Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, and especially Up in the Air really got the shaft. No major surprises. The front runners all won in the major categories. I liked the hosts. I would have liked to do better in my polls as I don't think I won any of the contests I entered, but I still thought the Academy put on a great show this year.
Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air
Director: James Cameron, Avatar; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds; Lee Daniels, Precious; Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Lead Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, "Up in the Air"; Colin Firth, "A Single Man"; Morgan Freeman, Invictus; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Lead Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side; Helen Mirren, The Last Station; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, Invictus; Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Christopher Plummer, The Last Station; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Nine; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo'Nique, Precious
Animated Feature: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, Up
Art Direction: Avatar, The Imaginarius of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, Sherlock Holmes, The Young Victoria
Cinematography: Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The White Ribbon
Costume Design: Bright Star, Coco Before Chanel, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Nine, The Young Victoria
Documentary: Burma VJ, The Cove, Food Inc., The Most Dangerous Man in America, Which Way Home
Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Music by Prudence, Rabbit a la Berlin
Editing: Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious
Foreign Language Film: Ajami, The Milk of Sorrow, A Prophet, A Secret in their Eyes, The White Ribbon
Makeup: Il Divo, Star Trek, The Young Victoria
Musical Score: Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes, Up
Music (Song): "Almost There," The Princess and the Frog; "Down in New Orleans," The Princess and the Frog; "Loin de Paname," Paris 36,; "Take it All," Nine; "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart
Short (Animated): French Roast, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty. The Lady and The Reaper, Logorama, A Matter of Loaf and Death
Short (Live Action): The Door, Instead of Abracadabra, Kavi, Miracle Fish, The New Tenants
Sound Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up
Sound Mixing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Transformers 2
Visual Effects: Avatar, District 9, Star Trek
Writing (Adapted): District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious, Up in the Air
Writing (Original): The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Up
Oscar Tally: The Hurt Locker-6, Avatar-3, Crazy Heart-2, Precious-2, Up-2
Thanks to all who entered my poll for being good sports. No one beat me, two tied. I had 14/24 (58%) correct. Here are the poll results:
1. Tommy Sakenes 14/24 (58%) (won tie breaker)
2. Billy Kaiser 14/24 (58%)
3. Mo Kaiser 12/24 (50%) (won tie breaker)
4. Tommy Kaiser 12/24 (50%)
5. Chris Kaiser 10/24 (42%)
6. Andrea Altman 9/24 (38%) (same tie breaker)
6. Robin Altman 9/24 (38%) (same tie breaker)
8. Fe MacKinnon 8/24 (33%)
9. Brian Mahoney 7/24 (29%)
10. Jon Altman 6/24 (25%)