Thoughts on the Oscars

Basket! 20 points! Contrary to what so many others theorized, The Hurt Locker took home Best Picture AND Best Director for Katheryn Bigelow. Mo’Nique and Waltz were expected, and while I don’t wholeheartedly approve, Bullock and Bridges got their due. But let’s pass over some other obvious ones (Like Special Effects, Animated Feature, etc.), and dive into some surprises.

It seems as though the film that is generally expected to win Best Foreign Language Feature loses. Last year, it was Waltz with Bashir to Departures, and this year it was The White Ribbon to El Secreto de Sus Ojos. This is also true to the short films, which went to Logorama for Best Animated and The New Tenants for best Live-Action. While I didn’t see any of those films, the categories were just a few surprises in a night chock-full of them in bigger categories.

The Writing awards legitimately shocked me. Best Adapted went to Precious, and Best Original went to Hurt Locker. Those categories were expected (and should have) gone to Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds, respectively. Not to say that I didn’t like the screenplay for Precious, but Up in the Air had snappier, wittier dialogue, which usually wins the category if nominated. As for Hurt Locker, I don’t remember the screenplay standing out that much. Really, the performances carried that film. I guess I’d have to watch it again and see, but that was a big shocker.

Costume Design went to The Young Victoria. You know, here’s something that I really don’t understand. Why do these Victorian period pieces win this category year after year? Is it really so difficult to design an old-fashioned dress? To me, they really all look the same. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had really cool-looking, original, diverse costumes, and it deserved the category.

I now appreciate Tom Hanks a thousand times more. After that truly dull interpretive dance session to the Best Original Score nominees, and 5 people coming out and praising all of the acting nominees for 20 minutes, and Bridges and Bullock’s absurdly long acceptance speeches, I was ready for the worst for the Best Picture nominees. However, Hanks did something unexpected and incredible. He walked on, said that the last time the Academy had 10 nominees, Casablanca won, and then opened the envelope and read the winner.

In fact, the entire ceremony felt like that. Very streamlined and slick. Although very few of the jokes were funny (Ben Stiller stood out in his Na’vi costume), there were very few of them. They got to the good categories very quickly, and left the boring, technical ones to be quickly shuffled off in the last third of the broadcast. In fact, the Acting awards felt like padding, whereas usually that’s how the whole ceremony feels. Can we do it this way next year as well, please?

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Josh Rosenfield

Josh Rosenfield is a Film Media major at the University of Rhode Island. He has been writing Popcorn Culture since 2010.

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