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Friday, March 02, 2007

Thoughts on Oscars 2007

Right, I'm a couple of days late, sorry about the lack of updates. I've been busy playing Final Fantasy 12 like a possessed madman, weeping like a Taiwanesehousewife while watching the dorama version of Ima ai ni yukimasu and falling asleep on the sofa trying to reignite my artistic fire, thus I hadn't had the time to post that much, hence asking my sister to post a few more of her kiddie pictures as distraction.

One reason why I didn't come up with my Oscar predictions this year is, well, I didn't manage to watch most of the nominated films, and even though I know whom the hot favourites were, I felt that it would be pointless if my predictions were same as everyone else's. No chance for me to predict some based on my own gut feelings (although for a while, I started thinking that maybe Little Miss Sunshine would actually take it all, instead of my earlier pick, The Departed based on its momentum).

But yeah, the Academy Awards had been something I've been following ever since I was a child, while the shows themselves can sometimes be hell boring, I always liked the feeling of witnessing film history with my own eyes, being awed by moving acceptance speeches (Adrian Brody's, back when he won for The Pianist, or Jamie Foxx's when he won for Ray), cheering at the victory of films I've rooted for (Return of the King's clean sweep), gasping in horror at upset victories (Crash over Brokeback? Beautiful Mind over Fellowship of the Ring?).

It's almost rare to see any other casual Malaysian filmgoers giving a damn about the Oscars, the only other person I knew who cared was Sebastian, whose own post about this year's Oscar is here, and one of my most interesting high school memories consists of us betting on the Oscar results, with the loser having to buy lunch. Yeap, that's how geeky we were when it came to films, considering that everyone else in high school were more bothered with the English Premier League results, sigh.

So, some quick thoughts about this year's Oscars, as in, the show itself, and not the results.

- NTV7's 'live' telecast was horrible. I can't believe they interrupted the show with a half-hour long news segment. You can't just cut in when the Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Ennio Morricone! All right, so I heard the acceptance speech was in Italian, and was pretty boring, but I ended up missing a few of those awards that came after Morricone's, including 'Best Original Song' and 'Best Original Score'. Way to go, NTV7. I even missed out the Dreamgirls performance.

Dreamgirls performance

- Ellen Degeneres is sorta funny, and kinda likable. But she doesn't make me want to immediately beg to have her return for next year's Oscars. I guess maybe it's because I've grown up watching Billy Crystal as the host, so always wanted to see someone who could provide the kind of spark he did. Personally, I would like Jack Black or Will Ferrell to host next year's Oscars.

Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly's musical performance!

- I thought the production values were low. For some reason, it seemed to lack the glitz and glamour of yesteryear (... as in, the 90s), those impressively huge musical numbers, those awe-inspiring performances, are my memories of previous shows tainted by nostalgia? Hm. Right, the shadow people are nice, but the show didn't seem more impressive than a Golden Horse or HK Golden Awards show.

- Acceptance speeches can sometimes be really boring, but there are times when I feel bad seeing some speeches being cut off abruptly by the orchestra, after all, it IS a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'll be PISSED if I can't get to thank everyone I want to thank. Just cut down on the montage!

- I like Michael Mann. But his montage made me go 'huh?'.

- Opening video of this year's Oscars felt like a TV commercial, so I didn't pay attention, and was horrified to know that it was actually the opening video of this year's Oscars. Loved those days when we had Billy Crystal wandering from one classic movie scene to another.

So no, I don't think this year's show was any special, can't think of anything particularly memorable about it either. Only moments that generated some kind of emotion from me were when Alan Arkin won ("NOT EDDIE MURPHY????"), and Happy Feet won ("YESSSSS! Annie Awards ain't all that!".

Now, my thoughts about the Oscar results.

Best Motion Picture

THE DEPARTED (my review here)

Yeah, being a loyal defender of this film, I was happy that it won. Hong Kong film fans can brag non-stop that it was their dearest Infernal Affairs that gave Martin Scorsese that long elusive Oscar (... these are the same people who couldn't stop bitching about Hollywood's creative bankruptcy that led to their desperation to 'remake Asian films'). But I feel that they can't claim too much credit, since The Departed was pretty much a Scorsese film that happened to loosely adapt the plot from Infernal Affairs. Many people complained about The Departed's gritty look, saying that they preferred the slick MTV-ish look from Infernal Affairs, I find it funny that people are first complaining about Hollywood remaking a Hong Kong film, then complaining about how the remake didn't seem to stick closely to the original. Gee, maybe Scorsese should apologize for being... creative.

Best Actor In A Leading Role

Don't know, didn't watch Last King of Scotland. But great to see a character actor getting his due. Ever since Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, I've decided that Forest is more badass than Denzel (and is Anthony Anderson, Samuel L Jackson or Morgan Freeman's equal when it comes to sheer badassness).

Best Actress In A Leading Role

HELEN MIRREN (my review of The Queen here)
Nothing much I have to say here. Glad to see the Best Actress Oscar finally being awarded to someone older, because I'm sure Helen Mirren's unlikely to follow her win with some shitty horror or action flick (Catwoman? Aeon Flux? Everything else Nicole Kidman did after her Oscars?)

Best Actor In A Supporting Role

ALAN ARKIN (my review of Little Miss Sunshine here
Pleasantly surprised. Didn't expect the Oscars to honour this kind of performance, even though he was in the most moving scene of the film, to me.

Best Actress In A Supporting Role

Dunno, didn't watch Dreamgirls, but agree with Sebastian that ADRIANA BARRAZA gave a powerful performance. And Rinko Kikuchi's been driving lots of
traffic to my blog lately. (lots of google searches for her... hairy monster these days)

Best Director

When I received news that Spielberg, Coppola and Lucas will be presenting this award, I tried to imagine what would happen if they were forced to give this to Innaritu. Should be pretty awkward.

Best Screenplay, Written Directly For The Screen

Yeah, deserved it.

Best Screenplay, Based On Material Previously Produced Or Published

I was rooting for Children of Men to win this. Too bad it didn't.

Best Cinematography

Children of Men was robbed.

Best Editing

It was good. The Departed didn't resort to using the flashy MTV quick cut techniques used in Infernal Affairs, yet somehow, it managed to grab my attention. (I remembered pointing it out to Justin, saying that there was something... really good about the editing, yet I couldn't put my finger on it)

Best Art Direction

Dunno, didn't watch it.

Best Costume Design

Not the bosom-baring costumes of Curse of the Golden Flower? Disappointing.

Best Original Score

BABEL (my review here
... I can't remember anything about the score in Babel.

Best Original Song

That Prince song in Happy Feet should have been nominated.

Best Make-up

Hm. I really need to see this.

Best Sound Mixing

No comment.

Best Sound Editing

Didn't see this either.

Best Visual Effects

No love for The Fountain :( This category always seem to be dominated by the biggest blockbusters of the year, regardless of the actual quality of the visual effects. Hm.

Best Animated Feature Film

HAPPY FEET (my review here
HELL YES!! I remember how pitiful I was trying to convince people tired of 3D to watch this... my efforts were in vain.

Best Foreign Language Film

Dad predicted this to win (we have the DVD, he watched it, said it was bloody awesome). I predicted Pan's Labyrinth (due to the numerous technical awards it had gotten). Among all nominees, the only one I've watched was Water (bought it during my India trip), albeit only half an hour of it. During the show, I noticed for the first time that Volver wasn't nominated.

Best Documentary Feature

Didn't watch it.

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Yellow power!

Best Short Film, Animated

No idea, I wish all nominees are uploaded on Youtube.

Best Short Film, Live Action

Just downloaded it. In fact, it's waiting for me to click 'play' on Windows Media Player right now.

That's all, anyone else had any opinions about the Oscars? Interested to know. And yes, you may bitch about The Departed if you want to. If you've blogged about this year's Oscar as well, feel free to post the URL here.

BTW: The Academy are morons for feuding with Youtube about those uploaded Oscar clips. Finally, a great chance to promote next year's Oscars to the usually uninterested public, and this is what they did? What a way to shoot yourself in the foot. Hmph.

One more thing, my birthday is on the 6th of March.