8 March 2010

Welcome to Camp Victory- 2010 Oscars Postmortem

Ladies and gents, it's always nice to be wrong twice. Because when you have two choices, you can pass it off as "I was right all along!" The Academy Award winners now validate the original sentiment from my Avatar review that...

"It's probably not going to win an Oscar for Best Picture..."

... and we can utterly ignore my more recent assertion that...

"...Avatar will win Best Picture on March 7th. Not because it's the best film nominated, but because that's what the Academy's like."

It's really a good thing I didn't put any money on anything. It was a sweep for The Hurt Locker, which picked up Best Picture and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow. In the end Avatar picked up three awards, all in technical categories. Arguably as it should be, really.

The acting categories were all fairly predictable, with Christoph Waltz and Mo'Nique both being recognised for critically lauded turns and Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock receiving recognition for their hard work in their respective careers thus far. Yes, that Sandra Bullock, who is the only actor ever to win a Razzie (for All About Steve) and an Oscar (for The Blind Side) in the same year, and fair play to her too. She's immensely likable in even the most awful shit, and I daresay she deserves it more than Mo'Nique deserved hers.

I was also pleased to see Up make a strong showing, winning Best Animated Picture and Best Original Score, both very well deserved nods. And Up is the only nominee that might have deserved Best Picture more than The Hurt Locker. I was also gleeful that the make-up work on Star Trek was recognised too, along with a laugh-out-loud presentation from Ben Stiller in full Na'vi make-up.

However, I always have my bugbears with the Oscars, and this year, being the first where I've pulled an all-nighter and watched it live, is no exception. So after four hours of caffeine and speeches, here are the top 5 most annoying, silly and downright bizarre things about last night's ceremony.

5. The acting profiles
While nothing trumped the oddly erotic sound of Sir Ben Kingsley saying "Randy the Ram" last year, this year's ceremony saw an irksome return for the back-slapping profiles on the acting nominees before they got to who'd actually won the buggers. They were seemingly picked for the most tenuous of connections in a couple of cases, i.e. Forrest Whittaker reminding us that he directed Sandra Bullock in Hope Floats, which boded worse for her chances of winning than we actually should have anticipated. With that link, I'm surprised they didn't dredge Chris O'Donnell up to say "George was a fantastic Batman, and I feel another sequel would've really shown that..."

4. The Best Original Score dances
Sure to be the most lampooned aspect of the whole affair, a group of break-dancers took to the stage before the award for Best Original Score was presented. What followed was an interpretative dance routine to each of the nominees. While the tribal dances of Avatar were fairly appropriate, and I think actually imitated the final scene of the film itself, the others were just bizarre. I mean, you can imagine without me telling you how surreal a Hurt Locker dance was. And I don't know why the Married Life refrain from Up warranted a re-enactment of the clockwork musical number from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or why Sherlock Holmes just screams "the worm" to interpretative dancers.

3. The rude orchestra
The formidable Get Off The Stage song is feared by all, and maybe it was only because I've never seen it in use before, but I found the orchestra playing off speeches to be incredibly rude at certain points this year. Most unforgivably, Juan José Campanella was cut off in the midst of a rather marvellous speech after the surprise win by The Secret in their Eyes for Best Foreign Language Film. The guy seemed incredibly endearing and deserved his say as much as Mo'Nique. I for one wanna hear more of Juan José Campanella! Fuck off, you trombone-wielding cads!

2. Lack of love for Moon
And assorted other films that were sadly overlooked. OK, so it would have been more than just a minor upset if Moon had won an award despite not having been nominated for anything, but it should have got something, dammit. And so should The Lovely Bones and Me and Orson Welles, and even some of the films that were nominated but overlooked, like In The Loop or Up in the Air. But I'm always going to disagree with the choices on some level, so I'll be content to post my own picks in certain categories later in the week.

1. The Sky panel

Courtesy of Rupert Murdoch, the UK coverage of the event was chaperoned by a panel moderated by Claudia Winkleman. Said panel comprised David Baddiel, Ronni Ancona and Balls of Steel's Mark Dolan. Way to round up whoever was around the studio, Sky. Those lot obviously know nothing about film and yet minutely explained everything after each ad break. The absolute nadir of the show was a "bawdy" review of the In Memoriam sequence, in which potential Bizarro-Me (Dolan) said that dying was a great career move to get in that montage. At various points, I was moved to paraphrase Avatar. "The Sky Panel have sent us a message... that they will not shut the fuck up. We will send them a message... AND MUTE THE FUCKS!"

So it's over for another year, and it's been a particularly long night for me having watched the whole ceremony. As co-host Steve Martin said, the ceremony lasted so long that Avatar now takes place in the past. If you want to chart my all-nighter on Twitter, through all the suspense, ("I'd happily be declared a turkey fucker if the underdog here won...") from the dizzying highs, ("Oh my God, the Married Life song") to the crushing lows ("Michael Sheen's killed my video stream with awesomeness") then by all means, do so. I tweeted up a storm as a document to my struggle.

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, support your troops over the Smurfs.

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