Well, as far as the show itself is concerned, my moderately upbeat assessment of it in last night’s live blog seems to have me in the minority. Certainly, my old fellow-in-film-blogging, Brian Doan, found plenty to dislike as did Roger Ebert in his Twitter feed, and even I’m likely to agree that either Martin or Baldwin alone might have been funnier than the two of them together. There were a number of very professionally done and actually funny tandem gags after their initial notably rough start — but, yeah, much of the material — from who else but Bruce Vilanch — wasn’t that much fresher than stuff from the Bob Hope era.
As for other complaints, I don’t disagree. On the other hand, from where I sit doofy production numbers are par for the course and part of the fun. Less fun are film montages that too often seem to miss the point of the genres of they are celebrating, but they are a tradition as well, except when Chuck Workman’s involved, anyhow.
Brian Doan and I definitely agree about the short shrift given to Governor’s Award winners Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman, and Gordon Willis and, having read a number of negative comments at various reportorial, geek, and cinephile blogs, I wonder if I went easy on any number of things including Mo’Nique’s somewhat defiant/entitled acceptance speech, which I reviewed more like a performance than for content. I certainly did go very easy on the evening’s one obvious moment of weirdness but I’d rather do that leap to a conclusion about something I really don’t know anything about.
And there’s also the fact that I just like the Oscars. Every year when people complain about the show, I’m always scratching my head and I’m equally flummoxed by the outsized praise certain years get. I’m always entertained by these particular awards because, whether or not I agree with the awards or the nominations, the results will have a pretty crucial effect on any number of careers and that’s more than enough suspense for me.
However, with three locks in the acting nominations, there was less of that for me than usual. If it had been up to me, many awards would have been different. The fact of the matter is, though I intend to take a second look at both of them, neither “Avatar” nor “The Hurt Locker” really grabbed me in a strongly emotional way. Objectively, though, I’m pretty sure “The Hurt Locker” is the better, or at least the less-flawed and vastly more intelligent, film. I’m glad it won, if only because it’s probably the least fiscally successful film to win the Best Picture award but seems to earn praise from almost everyone who sees it. It’s an award for quality, not marketing and I appreciate that even if my own tastes run more towards “Inglourious Basterds” and, to a somewhat lesser degree, “Up in the Air.”
Anyhow, just in case anyone out there needs an update, below the jump are a complete list of awards and nominees that I promise you I did not simply cut and paste from someplace.