Home > Film Selection, Random Film Discussion, Uncategorized > 3/7/2010 Sunday Screening #16: Oscar Night

3/7/2010 Sunday Screening #16: Oscar Night

Paul and I decided last minute to discuss the Oscars this Sunday, so I just threw the video together last minute.  Admittedly, this is more than either he or I have done for Umberto D or Magnolia (way to go Becky and Allen for keeping the video alive!).  I won’t be able to comment during the actual ceremony because I’m volunteering for an Oscar Party at the Hollywood Theatre, but I invite all of you to comment along during the night.  I hope you all enjoy!

  1. LMM
    March 3, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I will be hosting a party, so I might not comment as much as I would like to. However, I’m sure I’ll have lots to say the day after.

  2. March 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    Can’t wait to hear what you think. I’m probably going to Live Tweet the event, much like I did last year…well…I might be snarkier. http://www.twitter.com/placeslost

  3. March 4, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    I also have Oscar plans, but I will definitely post my reactions the day after.

    Predictions: Hurt Locker gets six awards (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound Editing) and Avatar gets three (Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing). Not much research behind any of those; pretty much just gut feelings or guesses. Anyone else?

  4. March 7, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    I finally watched Hurt Locker yesterday, it was enjoyable, but I don’t know if I’d say it was the Best Picture of the year. I think my Best Picture vote would have gone for Precious or Inglourious Basterds. Avatar will probably take the majority of the tech awards and rightfully so.

    • March 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

      The Hurt Locker has some amazing scenes, but I don’t really think holds up on the whole, especially towards the end (the running off-base stuff).

  5. LMM
    March 8, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    To start this Oscar discussion, I have to acknowledge what the majority of women comment on….the dresses. I wasn’t that impressed this year. There were too many Flamenco style dresses. I did think Sandy’s dress was pretty, but wasn’t a big fan of her lipstick. Helen Miren and Meryl….they also look amazing so they don’t count. Charlize Theron looked like she was wearing a “Tune in Tokyo” dress. And the men…granted, they pretty much are wearing the same thing, but the hot ones definitely looked hotter! I will refrain from spilling all my Hollywood crushes….for the moment.

    Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts weren’t that bad. My favorite of recent years has been Jon Stewart, but you know. I liked how they had a more comical element to the show, making fun of people and side jokes. I don’t know what was behind the George Clooney silence, but it was funny. Some of the presenters (aka Miley Cyrus) shouldn’t of been there, in my opinion, but you know, it’s all about promotion. The montage to Horror films was interesting. Some of the greats were shown, but they still missed Vertigo (which is one of my favorite Hitchcock films), and I really don’t think Twilight should of been there, even if the actors presented it. The tribute to John Hughes was touching. His movies have a special place in my heart, so it was nice that the Academy acknowledged that that is the same for many Americans. Can’t forget Ben Stiller as an Avatar. Hilarious. Wonder if that’s what Sasha Baron Cohen was going to do.

    The Thank You Cam? Was that even really necessary? I didn’t notice a change in the speeches. The best speech by far was Sandra Bullocks. It was touching and comical. Oh, and I totally missed the beginning of the ambush speech. Does anyone know that was about? or what I’m talking about?

    Now, on to the awards.

    I also am at a loss for the Documentary Feature and Short along with the Short Film–Live Action and Animated categories. I’m not a big docu fan, and don’t have access to the short films.

    I totally think Randy Newman is the Meryl Steep of film music. It’s always nominated. Which, he deserves cause he’s awesome, but pass the torch. I also don’t think it’s fair to have multiple songs from the same movie up for the same award. While I loved the song “Take It All” from Nine, and think it was the best song from that movie, I’m happy with “Crazy Heart”‘s win. As for score, again, your going up against the master known as Disney, but thought the others (minus THL) could of won and I would of been happy.

    I know that there is the discussion on whether CGI actors should be nominated for acting awards, which I think they should. You really can’t get any better than Gollum. For me, this question should be brought up in reference to Art Direction and Cinematography for CGI movies. Having to create a world out of tangible items and create physical sets, or play around with lighting and camera movement around those items is completely different than doing that through computer technology. I think they should be two different categories. Not to say I wasn’t happy with Avatar’s wins in both. That movie was absolutely beautiful. The world he created was so rich and wonderful. George Lucas should take note.

    I totally forgot about my second favorite speech; the costume win for The Young Victoria. I appreciated the fact that she gave a shot out to all the costumers who work on film. It is a given that a period piece will win, but it was nice that she expressed the hard work done by all. Out of the three movies I saw in this category (TYV, Nine, and Imaginarium), I really loved Imaginarium, but also loved Victoria so I’m happy with that win.

    Make-up…a given. The only real choice. I’m a little upset Star Trek didn’t get nominated for more. That movie was amazing.
    Visual Effects…so a given.

    I’m okay with THL winning for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. War movies or action are always hard to do, and it made it seem real.
    I thought District 9 should of won instead of THL for Editing. I LOVE that movie, and the way it was edited was brilliant.

    Animated: how can a movie be nominated for both Animated and Feature? This also, was a given (and a given it wasn’t going to win Feature).
    Foreign: I want Pedro Almodovar to always win when he has a movie out (even though he wasn’t nominated….tear). I do need to see White Ribbon, and hear it’s a wonderful film…obviously.

    Screenplay. Again, I loved District 9, but think Precious was a good pick. As for THL, not so much. This is where I start to get on my soap box. THL is based on a journalist that was imbedded in an EOD unit. He based his screenplay off what he learned and saw. It’s not really original. I guess it is since what that movie is about and the characters are SO not real. But, it’s a movie, a Hollywood military movie, so I can’t be too upset.

    I guess I should explain my soap box moment with THL, since it will come up again.
    My brother is an EOD soldier, he is an EOD team leader like Renner’s character, and he has served in Iraq twice. Basically, my brother is Renner. Yes, my brother wears the 70 lb kevlar suit, cuts the red wire, and searches for bombs at extreme risk to himself (and personal stress for his family). I understand that “What is heroic in life in not heroic in film” but it’s hard not to be a bit personal with this movie. I’m glad that this movie is bringing awareness to EOD and what they do, but EOD members aren’t reckless, they will focus on their team and other soldiers before themselves, and aren’t mentally disturbed. This is my BIGGEST issue with Hollywood military movies. Yes, some soldiers come back with difficulties, that is a fact. What also is a fact is that not everyone does. My brother, sadly, has seen some very unpleasant (to put lightly) things during his 2 tours, but when you talk to him about it, he’s okay. He is fighting for the people, fighting for our country, and is very proud of what he does. (Politics doesn’t play a part in this argument.) He’s a family man, still goofs off with his friends, and hasn’t really changed. He very well might be dealing with personal demons, but he doesn’t mess up his relationships with others. Besides, we’ve seen this character before.
    I do think THL is a good movie, as a Hollywood movie. I don’t think it’s what it could of been, what it should of been, but the people involved weren’t involved with EOD (The tech advisor didn’t have any combat experience or EOD training). My personal opinions aside, it shouldn’t of on Best Picture. That should of been Avatar.

    Actor and Actress, Supporting as well; very happy with. The only one I wish would of been the surprise winner is Stanley Tucci in Lovely Bones. He was amazing! I like the book, and thought he did a good representation, minus the fact he was CREEPY as hell.

    Director: I’m happy a woman won, I’m happy it was for a military movie since that’s not common, but I’m not happy it was for THL. Again, it should of been Cameron.

    Even though Avatar isn’t a new story. The battle between indigenous and military/modern/newcomers has been done from Fern Gully to A New World/Pocahontas. However, the world he created, the details to this old story, the technology was absolutely amazing. Beautiful movie. The way the 3D was used to bring you into the world instead of gimmicky elements (Um…Pirahana 3D??) made the movie even better. This is the one I was hoping to win. (Minus the under dogs like District 9 or Reitman).

    Hope I didn’t offend anyone with my soapbox moment. It’s hard not to get personal when my brother’s life is essentially on screen.

    • March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM

      I think Vertigo had to get bumped to make room for the much more important clip from the Horror cornerstone Beetlejuice…

      Was the “Thank you Cam” the backstage thing where they would actually get to make a speech rather then have 2 seconds before getting played off the stage? Maybe I should have spent more time watching that?

      I was in bed sleeping by the time Sandy won her award, what did she say?

      I think Nate’s link should give you a good idea at the Kanye moment of the night. This is probably a pretty good example of why the Producer gets the award for Best Picture, I kind of thought that it was the same for the Short Subject films as well. Not that I agree with her hi-jacking, it sounds like she walked away from the project pretty early on and didn’t deserve any of the spotlight.

      Not to be so Male, but I really think that most of the Sci-Tech awards should get the broadcast time before the Costume award. How hard is it to pull an old clothes out of a warehouse and say “wear this”? (I’m 1/2 kidding).

      Still haven’t seen District 9, but it, Avatar, or any number of movies are more deserving of the Sound awards over Hurt Locker. Like I said below, Hurt Locker might have got more sound design for it’s dollar, but it wasn’t really good. How hard is it to take the same “war” sound effects and layer them over the movie?

      I’d have voted Up above Hurt Lock for best picture…but not as the winner.

      I appreciate your brother’s service to our country. I don’t think I could do the same, which makes me appreciate his dedication that much more.

      I actually am looking forward to the 3D zaniness of Pirahana 3D, but I also regret that I missed the recent screening of Birdemic (see http://www.chronologicalsnobbery.com/2010/03/guest-post-league-of-melbotis.html ).

      • March 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM

        I think Vertigo was rightly left off. It’s not a horror film, but a suspense film. There’s nothing in it that’s going to keep you up at night. There were a lot of films that didn’t deserve to be in that montage, which was kind of disappointing, but then, a lot of people don’t like scary movies.

        As far as 3-D, I think horror films are the perfect place to showcase the technology. I don’t feel any more involved in a film that is 3-D or 2-D. Yes, gimmicks can be used artfully, but it’s still just a gimmick. What better use than for a genre that is largely exploitative to begin with? It makes total sense and can turn a horrible movie (My Bloody Valentine 3-D) into something fun to see (but it’s still horrible).

        Perhaps this isn’t the space for it, but there are so many parallels between the 50s, when screens were getting wider, stereo sound showed up, and 3-D (and all of the William Castle gimmicks started) because studios were afraid of TV, and today, with the resurgence of 3-D and the fear of home theaters, that I find it hard to believe 3-D is anything more than a fad (if you can follow that run-on sentence).

        • March 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM

          The parallel is definitely there (50s and Today). I’m only a little bit surprised that the Studios aren’t strong arming the electronics companies to keep 3D out of the household. But then again, Hollywood has pretty much the same problem that all Capitalists have, they are always in it for the fast buck, no matter what that means for the buck they might give up on in the long run.

          I am also stunned at the absence of the Romantic Thriller (TM) Birdemic from the montage.

        • LMM
          March 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM

          I definitely think 3D is a fad…a fad that brings in tons of money. Using 3D for horror I interesting, and makes more sense then changing a movie to 3D to get more money, like Clash of the Titans.

          True, Vertigo isn’t a horror film, it’s suspense. I felt there were a lot of suspense movies in that montage.

          • March 8, 2010 at 2:25 PM

            Definitely were, and as a horror fan, I was disappointed with the Academy montage makers for not digging deeper into the vaults in lieu of presenting not really horror films in their horror montage.

          • LMM
            March 8, 2010 at 3:14 PM

            There should of been Suspira…that movie was creepy scary! The barbed wire scene…..

          • March 8, 2010 at 5:13 PM

            It is weird, the retrofitting of 2-D films to 3-D. From all I’ve heard, it works, but barely. It’s like the billing of slightly larger theater screens as “IMAX” screens. Anything to get more money…

      • LMM
        March 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM

        I was confused on the Thank You Cam. Doubt it’ll be there next year.

        Sandy was just sweet about admiring the other noms, except Meryl who’s she had a fake feud with; thanked the people involved in the movie including the actual people; thanked her husband; and then thanked all the mothers who adopt and her own mother, which was teary since her mom passed.

        There is truth to your statement about military sounds, but I thought this movie did really well with making it more realistic. It was blown (pun not intended) out of proportion or made to sounds like 12 city blocks exploded.
        Thanks for your appreciation of my brother. It is definitely something to admire.

  6. March 8, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Not sure how many people followed my Live-Tweeting, which as Nate mention on Twitter, I was late to start and early to leave. I just couldn’t stomach any more stupid “entertaining” bits at the expense of letting the award winners speak their mind. I really don’t see the point in having the presenters, or the “comedy” bits at the expense of speeches by the winners. I’m glad that Giacchino’s speech touched on his childhood and playing around with his fathers 8mm camera. But I thought most of the other speeches were lacking and uninteresting.

    Ted Hope has a theory that the wins by Independent films will cause the studios to work harder to snuff out Independent cinema, I hope he’s wrong, but I can see it coming to be.

    I didn’t HATE The Hurt Locker, but of the 5 Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen, it was my least favourite (I’ve seen Up, Avatar, Inglourious Basters, and Precious as well). I also felt that Hurt Locker’s sound wasn’t worthy of award, unless you somehow qualify the award by including budget numbers. When you take into account that Hurt Locker was made with an estimated 16 million dollar budget, yeah, they stretched their dollar futher then Avatar did, but did they REALLY create the best soundtrack of the nominated films? I think not. I thought the film was enjoyable, but not memorable. Definitely not deserving of any of the awards it was presented, but possibly worthy of some of the nominations.

    I also strongly disagreed with Avatar winning Best Cinematography. How much of the actual movie was shot by the Cinematographer? Of the nominees I’d have to give the award to Inglourious Basterds, although I have yet to see Harry Potter or The White Ribbon, so that could change.

    One of the few awards categories that I really am interested in is Best Editing, and I feel that Hurt Locker was the wrong choice there. How hard is it to take footage that looks like it was shot by someone having a seizure and cut it together? Not very hard. The audience is unable to create reference points, because the camera is jerking around the whole time, so any cut can work. To me Inglourious Basterds was the best nominee in this category. Can you imagine how hard it is to cut for Quentin? I also felt that Precious brought a lot to this category, but seeing that most of it was a re-tread of edits that were first introduced years ago in Requiem for a Dream, I felt that Sally should have taken the gold home.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I don’t think I will EVER understand the push to make the Oscars about mainstream America. That’s not what the awards are about, and trying to shoehorn them to that mean is just idiotic. The Oscars are about the film community voting for what they perceive as the film that was the best in each of the categories. Editors choose which film they thought had the greatest editing, Actors choose who did the best job bringing the character to life. Expanding the Best Picture nominee list to 10 for the sake of being able to squeeze in a few of the more mainstream films is just going to let down the every-man viewer more then engage them in the telecast. Quit trying to make it an event for everyone, and focus on what it should be. Important and groundbreaking filmmakers being recognized for what they have brought to the field of filmmaking. Sandra Bullock will NEVER bring a character to life to the point that she should be awarded for her work, and by giving her the award to pacify the masses cheapens the work of actresses who are more deserving.

    Since I missed the opening/red carpet stuff, who was best dressed?

    • LMM
      March 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM

      I’m very biased on Harry Potter, and think that they did a beautiful job with that movie. Sure, it’s not the book, but for me it was the opening to the 7th and 8th movies (CAN NOT WAIT). I would of loved for it to win DP, but then I’m conflicted on my HP geekiness or actual good DP work.

      As much as I love watching the Oscars, and seeing the movies, I’m not a fan of them. I think in making them mainstream is trying to make normal people seem like they are apart of something bigger, that Hollywood isn’t the elite, which it totally is.
      I actually see a different view with the 10 noms. I thought it brought in the smaller films, like An Education or A Serious Man into the lime light. Maybe people would search them out more because they were noms. However, that goes to the fact that the majority of the noms are bigger films, and not necessarily the better films.

      I haven’t checked the Best Dressed list, but Sandy’s my favorite.

      And I don’t have a twitter account. Though, have been thinking about it just to follow Simon Pegg and crew.

  7. March 8, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    There is a lot to cover in your two posts, but I’ll first start with some prelim thoughts.

    Steve Martin was, by far, my favorite Oscar host in years, but I was quite underwhelmed by his performance with Alec Baldwin. It played like the start of a variety show (which I guess the Oscars kind of are). All of the jokes were incredible obvious. Some were funny, but I was hoping for some classic Steve Martin silliness, which only cropped up in diluted form. I will say that at least they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

    Overall, the awards were really dull. Almost all of the major awards played out as one would have though. And most things were between either The Hurt Locker and Avatar. There really was no point in expanding Best Picture since eight of those ten films had no chance and, in the past, a maximum of three of five had a shot. It’s just silly.

    As far as the montages go… the horror montage was decent, but they didn’t exactly dig deep. I was happy to see a brief Evil Dead II clip, but that was about as obscure as it got. Plus, there was a serious lack of older (pre-68)/international horror films. Still, glad to see them acknowledged. Less glad about the Twilight kids introducing it. Also, Jaws isn’t exactly the first movie I think of when I hear “horror,” so leading with it felt strange to me.

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the Hughes montage. I don’t love his films like others and felt he could have been relegated to the In Memorium section with all the rest (many of them have had a far bigger impact on film, but don’t have the pop culture appeal — see Paul? The Hughes montage was more pandering to the mainstream, and I know you hate that). I thought it was overkill to have actors in his movie to come out and say a sentence each about him. Also, Judd Nelson looked like a vampire.

    I was cooking dinner during the In Memorium montage, but James Taylor doesn’t have a song of his own he could have sung for it?

    Unlike LMM, I find Ben Stiller’s schtick to be pretty tiresome. I agree with Paul about letting the winners talk and minimizing the rest. To let him go on for that long really makes the award about him (though I was amused by his comment about moving away to not diminish their win). I think if you let the winners speak for longer, the speeches would become far more interesting. They wouldn’t have to be an endless stream of names anymore.

    LMM — Here’s both sides of the story about the interrupted speech, right from the horses’ mouths: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/2010/03/07/music_by_prudence_burkett

    As for the nominees — I always take them with a grain of salt. I rarely agree and find most performances to be suitable, but I have a hard time to say who is doing well. That said, I think it’s a crime that Sam Rockwell wasn’t nominated for Moon. Now… I am pretty upset about the Bullock win, though it was not unexpected. From everyone I respect, I’ve heard the film is terrible and Bullock is not very good. Plus, The Blind Side seems to be little more than another “white person redeems black person” story.

    Wasn’t The Young Victoria woman the one who started out the speech saying “I already have two of these?” I kind of hated her. She seemed almost made to be up there.

    Not to nitpick about The Hurt Locker, but it was actually made outside of the Hollywood system, although it does have a lot of Hollywood talent involved in it.
    And original just means it wasn’t based on prior material, like a short film or a book.

    LMM — I can totally see why you might take issue with The Hurt Locker. One of my issues with the film was how irresponsible Renner’s character is. Having a sibling who does that job, I can see your concern since it makes every EOD seem reckless.

    I’ve said this before, but I don’t even think Avatar should have been nominated for Best Picture. I haven’t seen it, so my opinion means a bit less, but the vast majority of reviews have read as follows: “stunning visuals, but the story is cliched and lacking.” To me, that says it’s an imperfect film. Even half of a film. Of course, the Oscars aren’t really about awarding the best films (Crash, anyone?), but Avatar was awarded for its technical advances. Hell, even give it a special Oscar for pushing the special effects further, but nominate it for best picture? Nah.

    I was totally pulling for Up or District 9, incidentally.

    I agree with almost everything Paul says except the Oscars being about voting for the best. Certainly, there was a time when the best films were also the most popular, but in the age of the blockbuster, that’s just not true anymore. So the Oscars, which have always been about self-promotion anyway, have to find a way to get the public interested. If it was really about the films, there would be no need to have a huge television event.

    Anyway, once again, the Academy Awards were pretty much what they always are: three hours of waiting for it to be over.

    • March 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

      I missed the opening, so I only saw the seconds awarded to the hosts between pointless bits, and wasn’t impressed. The whole ‘put popular people in as presenters/whatever’ thing really has to go…or else just dump the “host” duties and let those people act as the hosts.

      Totally agree on the Best Picture expansion. I am all for expanding the number of nominees if it’s necessary, but this year it wasn’t.

      I thought the Horror montage was ok, I think the decision to start with Jaws was decent, true it’s probably not the first thing you’d think of, but it does a pretty job of setting the mood for what was to come. That said, there were tons of clips in there that had no business. It did primarily focus on movies from the past 30-40 years, which was a bit of a shame.

      I still think the Hughes segment was called for, he never really got much recognition when he was working, and to celebrate him after his death was a touching tribute to a man who touched so many people through film. That said, i didn’t need to see the Brat Pack. I didn’t think this was a much pandering to the mainstream as giving someone like Ben Stiller time on stage. I’d recommend that they limit the people onstage to past nominees or winners…but then they’d just nominate more crappy people for more crappy movies…Sandra Bullock fomces to mind.

      I stand by my Tweet regarding the musician who played during the In Memorium, which was my Dad http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v130/242/42/592262143/n592262143_220933_1890.jpg who hasn’t written any songs, but enjoys The Beatles.

      I disagree with you take on Avatar, I think people who complain about the story aspect are just nitpicking, the story was good. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it wasn’t a borefest. A lot has been said about how the movie was primarily the visuals, but I know that I was engaged in the story as much as the visuals…and I tend to be a bit critical. The story was as good as The Hurt Locker’s (which wasn’t really anything new), and the movie was much stronger in my opinion. I agree with you that a movie has to be more then just visuals. It is a whole number of things, that have to combine in a way that makes the whole greater then it’s parts. I thought Avatar was pretty good at that, but I wouldn’t call it the Best Picture of last year.

      • March 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM

        I’d give a little lee-way if Avatar was an hour and a half (and I probably would have seen it had that been the case), but if you’re film is 2.5 hours, it damn-well better be worth telling for that duration. You probably still haven’t finished it, but I don’t feel that any second of Lawrence of Arabia is unwarranted. Plus, James Cameron had 10 years to rewrite his script into something more than what it is. The fact that he didn’t tells me that it wasn’t a priority.

        • March 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM

          Yeah, it probably could have been shorter, but it didn’t need to be. There was very little dragging or times I felt like I didn’t care and wanted them to get to the point.

          Hurt Locker’s only real plot was the guys leaving Iraq, and that wasn’t really much of an arc. I felt it was much weaker story wise.

          Just go see Avatar…then we can argue about it.

          • March 8, 2010 at 1:54 PM

            Sorry buddy, but nothing I’ve heard about it makes me want to see it. It’s not even the type of action movie I like. I’m trying to make it a point not to put money into films-styles that I don’t want to see more of. Sort of an empty gesture, since Avatar is the highest grossing film ever, but a gesture nonetheless.

            I completely agree that The Hurt Locker has no real plot and even that goes off the rails towards the end. The only reason I don’t hate that it won is because it has two (in my opinion, obviously) legitimately great scenes and I love Point Break more than anything James Cameron has done.

            But really, THL is a meh film.

          • March 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM

            Not even with reviews like “Saw this morning with my 10 year old daughter, who absolutely loved this movie and was distraught that it didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture last night. Visually stunning…”

            I really am thinking about Fandangoing tickets to Avatar in Portland for you every day until you break down and go see it. Is the Regal Lloyd 10, Centruy 16 Eastport, Centruy 16 Cedar Hills, Century Clackamas, Or Oak Grove 8 closer to you?

          • March 8, 2010 at 2:20 PM

            Well… if Anonymous Reviewer’s 10 year old dug it…

            Nah. I want you to buy me a ticket every day until I break down. And oddly, none of those is the theater closest to me.

          • March 8, 2010 at 3:23 PM

            When has a 10 year old been wrong about a movie that predominantly stars giant blue beasts?

          • Becky
            March 9, 2010 at 11:26 PM

            I love Kate and she did look beautiful as well… such a classy dame. 🙂

      • LMM
        March 8, 2010 at 2:56 PM

        I should of expanded on my story element. The story was nothing spectacular compared to the visuals and the technology. Sure we’ve seen it before, but at this place in film history it’s hard to find something that hasn’t been done before.

        I guess I did become nitpicky, but that was fault to, if I’m correct, the AV Club. I think it was there that I saw a plot for Pocahontas that was crossed out at pointed and replaced with Avatar names and places.

        It wasn’t a bore, and I loved watching it. It kept you involved, even though it was long it didn’t feel that way.

        I also agree that it wasn’t the best in the last year, mine was actually Star Trek (not including the movies I saw during 2009, which most of them were in last years Oscars…in that case it would of been Rachel Getting Married.)

        • March 8, 2010 at 2:58 PM

          I HATED Rachel Getting Married the first time I watched it, but I rewatched a couple days later, not sure why, and actually liked it. I don’t know about best picture, but it was definitely good.

          • LMM
            March 8, 2010 at 3:12 PM

            What I loved about it was how you felt awkward and uncomfortable with the long shots and the scenes the took too long. You understood where Rachel was coming from. Not everyone of us has gone through what she did, yet you sympathized with her.

    • LMM
      March 8, 2010 at 2:50 PM

      Well, shet. That outburst totally makes sense now. Thanks for the link.

      I can see your point about Stiller. It was a bit long, and in the wrong place, but I like how they made a point of making fun of people. Though, it did seem different for the Oscars. More like something you’d see in at the Globes which are just more fun.

      I think they will have subdued hosts from now on. Steward did his thing, was hilarious, but no one got it. Gervais did his thing at the Globes and no one got it either. Guess that’s why Cohen was denied.

      Touche on Sam Rockwell. I do love him.
      And with Bullocks win, I totally understand. She hasn’t had the greatest of rolls in her career, but I think she’s one of the most down to earth person in the industry, I was happy to see her win. Not that anyone needs to tell Meryl she’s amazing, but she was fantastic as Julia Childs. So, maybe I’m just lying to myself about the win and wanted Meryl to win, even though I do think they just nominate her because it’s her sometimes.

      The Young Victoria speech was very bitchy, but she turned it around, sort of. At least the little people were acknowledged.

      I know THL wasn’t Hollywood Hollywood, but I meant by the Hollywood mindset that War is Bad…Soldiers are Disturbed. At least the explosions sort of resembled reality. My brother’s favorite part, however, was the dirt coming off the car when it exploded. And at least Bruckheimer didn’t direct it.

  8. March 8, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Something to mull: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/03/the-hurt-locker-and-the-oscars-contd.html

    I take issue with his final point, because comedies can have the same effect, but I doubt he’d argue they deserve a nomination, too.

  9. LMM
    March 8, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I don’t like that article. Again, military brat over here….
    I can understand that feeling with people who join up to get their college paid for or who join the Army and Marines because that’s those are the ‘badass’ branches. EOD training, which EVERYONE in the unit/team has to go through to be in the convoy, is a year of school (with Navy it includes Dive School) (remember the round bombs in Finding Nemo…). EOD school and training is not easy. You are well prepared for what you might encounter and have a very strong mind to handle pressure and situations before, during and after your tours.
    For my brother, and most people who are true soldiers (that sounds mean, but I’m going to use it anyway) do tend to want to be back at war when their tour is over…but not because it’s a drug and they like putting their lives at risk. It’s because they know they can make a difference and then want to be alongside their fellow soldiers and friends. Band of Brothers.

    Alright ncapp24!!! You really do need to see Avatar, in the theater, and in 3D.
    I don’t think of this movie as a film style. I think Cameron wanted to see if he could use technology to create this world, this tangible world, and he succeeded. (That’s why, in my opinion, Episode 1, 2, and 3 sucked! and 4, 5 and 6 were awesome.)

    As I mentioned before, pretty much every movie is “this movie meets that movie.” Even HP is The Worst Witch. But what makes them different is the elements. The whole other full world. Cameron did that. In wanting to be a part of this world, you are interested in the characters, the ones who live it and the ones you want to be who are learning it.

    I’m the last one that’s going to do something just because it’s popular (which is why I won’t see Clash is 3D, it wasn’t made to be seen that way) (correct, since it’s been pushed back to transfer it into 3D?). This movie brings something new into film history. Just like when Easy Rider or Raging Bull or Bonnie and Clyde did; it’s the first step in film evolution. Whether it’s in the right direction or not is to be debated, but as a film fan/historian/novice, shouldn’t seeing this film for pure knowledge of the expansion of film be a good reason?

    • March 8, 2010 at 5:34 PM

      I really need another party here that can voice a dissenting and knowledgeable Avatar opinion. You guys have the unenviable task of trying to convince someone who can be very stubborn to relinquish a position that’s been held for months. Good luck!

      Another thought on the technology: I don’t think I’m missing out on anything regarding the visuals. The technology exists now, so other films will be able to use it. Just like early sound films were set back years because they could no longer move the camera around and the microphones were clunky, eventually people will apply this technology to something I deem worthwhile. I just have to wait a little longer.

      And I’m still a practical effects sort of fella. I like knowing that there are scale monsters sitting around in studios and old warehouses waiting to be rediscovered. It’s kind of like the painting of Vigo from Ghostbusters 2 is sitting in the background of a very early scene of the Oscar-winning The Cove. That was my favorite part of the film.

      The difference in your examples of “bringing something new to cinema” is that the films you listed changed things on a primarily story-telling front (with some editing and directorial changes, too). Avatar’s big change is more “realistic” (maybe hyper-realistic) CG and motion capture technology, which, in my stodgy opinion, doesn’t have nearly as much to do with filmmaking on the whole as it does with representation, if that makes sense. From what I can tell, Avatar is still “classical” filmmaking, just with better technology. It’s more akin to the development of the zoom lens in my mind (which, don’t get me wrong, without the zoom lens, there’s no track-zoom and Vertigo isn’t quite the same).

      I think one of the big hurdles for us in the discussion is that I’m very much on the side of film being essentially a storytelling medium and that you can make a great movie with mediocre cinematography, et al, but you cannot make a great film without a great script. Obviously, I have exceptions to this, but it’s largely the way I approach movie watching.

      And I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I judge you for enjoying Avatar. I’m just enjoying the back and forth, which is why I still pursue this line of thought (though it must be frustrating for you guys to know I haven’t seen it. I think this approach is a little broader, now).

      • LMM
        March 9, 2010 at 9:53 AM

        This little back and forth is sort of enjoyable.
        But I completely understand being stubborn and set in your ways about seeing film.

        I am the same way. There are certain movies I won’t see because of the actors (though, Cage is coming up in some movies I want to see, which makes me mad cause that means I’m breaking my rule), or plot, or big budget monsters.

        True, the examples I used were more storytelling aspects, which brought much richer and deeper meaning films into our culture. It’s still something that ushered a few format, be it story or visual.

        I love old school special effects too, I think it’s more tangible and real. It’s art, it’s being creative and solving problems based on what you physically have then throwing it all in a computer to solve it that way.

        Totally get it.
        I just think Avatar is a beautiful movie that should be seen.
        It’s just gonna suck when you finally do catch it, on like TNT one Sunday years from now, and realize, “Damn, I should of seen this in the theater.”

        I’ll try to refrain from saying, “Told you.”

        • March 11, 2010 at 10:00 PM

          I’m not a fan of Nic Cage, either, though I can’t wait to see “Bad Lieutenant” and I kind of love “The Wicker Man” remake (totally an intentional comedy).

          I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam’s films have been incredibly uneven since moving away from practical effects. It gives something for the performer to work with and it really reigns in the director.

          And should the day come where I catch Avatar on the TV and say “Damn, I should’ve seen this in the theater,” you will be the first to know.

          • LMM
            March 12, 2010 at 8:09 AM


            With Nic Cage, I’m looking forward to Kick Ass and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I do love fantasy, and Jay Baruchel.

  10. March 8, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Lots to respond to, but here is a link to another interesting discussion, care of the AVClub: http://www.avclub.com/articles/breaking-down-the-2010-oscar-ceremony,38931/

  11. March 8, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    Well, I think you three have covered the Awards pretty well, so I’ll just say that, for me, it went pretty much as expected. Probably the biggest surprise was Up In The Air not getting Best Adapted Screenplay. Out of the 24 categories, I just got 16 right…not that great for my standards. But at least I only got one award wrong each for The Hurt Locker and Avatar, so I can pat myself on the back for that.

    Also, this Awards ceremony had to be one of the least funniest in Oscar history. In my paltry 13 years of watching the Awards, it was definitely the least funniest in recent memory. Don’t get me wrong – Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are great, but their jokes and stage presence were thoroughly underwhelming.

    In day-old retrospect, I’m glad The Hurt Locker won Best Picture, because, of all the Best Picture winners of the 2000s, I think it’s the most deserving of the award. This does nothing to address all the films that were nominated that should have won, or the countless films that should have been nominated, but hey, if an organization nominates drivel such as Crash or Million Dollar Baby as Best Picture, I’ll take what I can get here. The Hurt Locker does have its issues, yes, but I thought it was a compelling and effective character study. And I’m happy that Bigelow won, too.

    LMM, I can’t even begin to imagine the high degree of skill and selflessness that goes into every minute of your brother working as an EOD soldier.

    The highlight of the ceremony for me was the horror film montage. Yes, the selection of films showed pretty clearly that the montage makers were not very knowledgeable about horror film history, but it was still a horror film montage at the Oscars! And they showed a clip from Evil Dead II! At the Oscars! I couldn’t help cheering when I saw that.

    Also was a fan of the John Hughes montage. It’s cool to see films we grew up on appear more frequently in montages (a sure sign that we are on our way to getting older…).

    And regarding the Avatar discussion, I saw the film and thought it was neither great nor awful, just OK. Great action and visuals, barely passable storytelling and characterizations (hey, just like Titanic!). Definitely not Best Picture material. I think all the hoopla about the motion-capture and 3D technology is mostly flash-in-the-pan type stuff. Also, I got a moderate headache from being subjected to IMAX 3D for two-and-a-half hours when I saw Avatar, so I don’t plan on seeing movies in that format again.

    • LMM
      March 9, 2010 at 9:59 AM

      The more I think about it, I do become less annoyed with THL winning. I really wish it was District 9, but what can you do. This movie does bring awareness to the job and what they have to do on a daily basis, and it was a huge move towards non-blockbustery blow-them-up military movies. Not to mention all of this was done by a woman. I appreciate what it was trying to do.

      You know, you did bring up a good point on Titanic. I don’t like that movie. I’ve seen it once, and will never see it again, and I love Leo and Kate. The story was okay, and the drama was okay, and the special effects annoyed me.
      But I at least saw it. ; )

      The difference, for me, with Avatar was that it was suppose to be special effects heavy, it was made that way. I was interested in the way of life of these people, even though it was similar to the Native Americas.

      I never saw it at the IMAX, but in Real 3D, and it was fine. Better than say, Journey to the Center of the Earth (I took my niece and nephew…).

      With the Hughes montage, it made me realize my favorite film definitely is Ferris Buller’s Day Off.

    • March 11, 2010 at 10:13 PM

      As far as most deserving to win, I think The Hurt Locker had major script issues and was held together by a few GREAT scenes. The more I think about it and as much as I love Up, I think District 9 was the most deserving. It really is a pretty remarkable twist on the expectation of a film. I had no idea the film was going to be like that, and as good as it was, too. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded seeing the lead actor (whose name I’m not inclined to look up right now) get a best actor nod.

      And John, I’m glad I can count on you to support my Avatar abstinence.

      • March 12, 2010 at 12:09 AM

        I thought Hurt Locker was good, but it was pretty far from the best.

        As far as Avatar goes…way to the NOT S-Mart…

        • March 12, 2010 at 1:14 AM

          I don’t think I get “way to the NOT S-mart.” It has to be an Army of Darkness reference, but I can’t think of context for it.

  12. Becky
    March 9, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Well, I think mostly everything has been covered in this here Oscar debate. After sitting through three hours of television, I sort of wish I had just went to bed and read these great posts today. I would have found out everything, and I wouldn’t have had to sit through that disturbing dance bit that gave me nightmares.

    Seriously though, as anyone who knows me can attest to, I am a total fashion whore, so that’s always something I’m excited about. I haven’t seen that many of the movies this year, so many of the reviews I’ve read about movies such as The Hurt Locker and Avatar have been very strong toward either loving the movie or hating it… not much in between. I have to say, I usually love Steve Martin and even tolerate cheesy Oscar moments (see Billy Crystal) more than most, but I was pretty bored this year. I thought Steve Martin was funny, but I agree that although he and Alec Baldwin did seem to be having fun, I sort of just looked up, smiled, and went back to playing online Scrabble. I did laugh at the Snuggie shot, though, because Snuggies are hilarious.

    In terms of the awards themselves, there has to be a way to cut down on air time. I think it was Paul who suggested there be more time for speeches. I always think that. Sometimes they may not be the most interesting thing to watch, but it is an awards show about movie-making and it shouldn’t be edited down for a commercial audience. If I won a gold statue, I’d want to be able to have my moment. I must say I was surprised that Avatar didn’t win for Best Picture, but I didn’t really feel passionate about any movie or category this year. I was happy to see Sandy win, though. I know many people said she gave a lackluster performance in The Blind Side, and I didn’t see the movie, but I really like her. Her speech was elegant, funny, and sincere, and was one of the few things that pulled me away from my computer screen. I also thoroughly enjoyed Paul and Nate’s live Sunday Screenings Tweets.

    Finally, I’ll end my Oscar notes with some of my favorite and least favorite fashion choices and a thought I have for the Academy.

    Best Dressed: As I said, I’m a Sandy fan. She looked amazing in a gold beaded Marchesa gown, which had a very old Hollywood/’20s feel to it. She said she didn’t pick it out until the day before, and her oldest stepdaughter actually chose it. The flowing hair and red lipstick completed the look perfectly, and she definitely looked the part of an Oscar-winning actress.

    I also loved Elizabeth Banks’ Versace dress. The silver dress was form fitting and textured at the top and flowy at the bottom, so she looked like a princess. I love classic, pulled-back up-dos, and that combined with the tiny diamond headband are definitely something I would rock, should I ever make it to Hollywood for the event in question. Tina Fey and Anna Kendrick looked beautiful as well.

    For the guys, my vote for best dressed has to go to Jake Gyllenhaal in a Burberry tuxedo. It was clean, classic, and simple, and he looked amazing and cool without looking like he was going to a wedding.

    Worse-Dressed: I’ve heard Charlize Theron and Sarah Jessica Parker, but the worst-dressed for me was easily Miley Cyrus. The designer was Jenny Packham, and the dress looked like something Madonna would have worn during a performance of “Like a Virgin” in the ’80s… and not in a good way. Sweetheart necklines are totally in, but this dress pushed the limits of sweetheart and ended up looking more like a bra top. Aside from not even being sure why Miley Cyrus was there, I think someone as young as she is should have worn something more fun and original.

    And then there was Jim Cameron. The fact that his wife was wearing a bright blue dress for Avatar and he had a matching pocket square sort of made me want to vomit. I love coordinating, but I hate anything that’s too matchy-matchy, and this was SO matchy-matchy. Also, he looked like he just rolled out of bed, and I felt the need to text my niece, who was in Hollywood at the time, to find the man and straighten his flipping tie.

    Final thought: Dear Academy, You could have cut at least an hour off your show if you just said “Precious” instead of “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.”

    The End.

    • LMM
      March 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM

      I agree with you on Sandy’s dress. I also loved Banks, and she just looked amazing. I love Zoe Saldana, and thought she was beautiful, but I wish they would of cut back on the ruffles. That was my biggest issue this year. It was all Flamenco dresses. I’m not sure if you had that salsa commercial during the ceremony that was the Flamenco girl cutting up ingredients for Tostito’s Salsa…but I kept seeing that when I looked at the dresses.

      And you are so right about Jake Gyllenhaal. He was looking damn good. So was Sam Worthington. We all got quiet when he was on stage, granted it was to hear is accent, but still. I also loved RDJ’s bowtie. It was something different.

      I don’t understand why Miley Cyrus keeps showing up at these things. I try to ignore her when I see her.
      Cameron’s wife looked HORRIBLE! She was way to skinny, she looked in the face like she hadn’t slept in a week, and the dress didn’t fit her well.

      The one person that has not been mentioned, another of my girls and favorite actresses, Kate Winslet. She looked classic and beautiful and amazing.

    • March 11, 2010 at 10:15 PM

      Not much to say about style except Sarah Jessica Parker looked horrible. I can’t believe anyone ever thought of her as a fashion icon.

      • LMM
        March 12, 2010 at 8:06 AM

        You and me both.

  13. March 14, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    A quote from Josh Becker’s Q and A on his website (beckerfilms.com) regarding the Oscars:

    “And while we’re on the subject, I thought the actual Oscar telecast was TERRIBLE! The folks who put that show on have absolutely no clue what they’re doing. What was that pathetic opening number with Neil Patrick Harris? A bad song poorly staged to set up the fact that Steve Martin is going to have a sidekick he totally doesn’t need. Utterly useless, and a waste of time that came back to bite them on the ass at the end when they had no time left to give Best Picture. And an awful eight minute break dance number set to the best score nominees? Absolute garbage and a total waste of time. It was great honoring horror movies, but the montage was twice as long as it needed to be. And having a live performer during the memorial montage is a mistake, not to mention they forgot Farrah Fawcett and Gene Barry. But they start off in a wide shot to include James Taylor (whom I like very much), and you miss the names of the first five people on screen. I don’t need to hear James Taylor or anyone else performing during this serious, moving homage — just show me the clips! And to not let Lauren Bacall or Roger Corman speak was a crime. The Oscars are the oldest and most important of all the silly award shows and need to be handled with a bit of gravity — not a lot, but some. It’s not a fucking variety show!”

    For those who don’t know, Josh Becker grew up making films with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell in Michigan and worked on The Evil Dead with them. He’s an independent director with a… unique… point of view on modern film.

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