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Oh, Oscar

Various and sundry thoughts about the 82nd Academy Awards.

Once again I did not see very many of the nominated films: Avatar, Up, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Coraline, and, um... oh, right! Sherlock Holmes (nominated for Best Score and Art Direction). Oh, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (nominated for Sound Mixing), but we can just forget about that, eh?

I actually saw three of the films nominated for Best Picture, which you'd think would be really good except that they nominated ten films this time... ah, well.

So here are my thoughts on the awards:

Best Animated Feature:

I thought this was absolutely hilarious: Up was nominated for Best Animated Feature. But it was also nominated for Best Picture. In other words, it was absolutely impossible for it to lose Best Animated Feature, because if one of the other nominated films were better than Up, then shouldn't it have also been nominated for Best Picture instead of (or along with) Up? This award was probably the least surprising win of any Oscar I can ever think of. So stupid. I'm not saying I'm upset that Up won; it was my favorite animated movie of the year as well (though the only other nominated one I actually saw was Coraline). It's just that, well, I guess this falls under the "Why Bother" category. We ALL knew it was going to win.

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds as Col. Hans Landa

I'm extremely happy that Waltz won this one; this was one of the most brilliant villain performances I've seen in a long time. Such unrestrained glee and smarm. He thinks he's smarter and better than everyone around him, and guess what? He's right. But this is one of those cases where the "Supporting" actor category seems a little iffy for such a major character. I guess there are long stretches of the movie he doesn't appear in, though. So, okay. We'll let you get away with this one, Oscar. Just this once.

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side as Leigh Anne Tuohy

I'll say it up front: I've never thought of Sandra Bullock as a bad actress. I know a lot of people that have negative reactions to her, but I'm not one of 'em. I also don't have terribly strong positive reactions to her, either. She's just kinda in the middle to me. I thought she was hilarious in Demolition Man. I didn't see The Blind Side, so I can't comment whether or not I think this Oscar was deserved, but I will say that I thought her acceptance speech was a riot, especially when she said Meryl Streep was a fantastic kisser and later on called Streep her "lover." One of the best speeches of the evening. But not the best. I'll get to that later...

Best Actor
Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart as Otis "Bad" Blake

The Dude abides! Jeff Bridges has been one of my favorite actors even before he was The Dude. This is the guy who can literally do anything. He's played the President and The Dude, for Christmas sake. He was the villain in Iron Man! He's like Gary Oldman in that he is almost completely unrecognizable from one role to another. It was great to hear him talk about Lloyd, though Beau was curiously absent from his speech.

Michelle Pfeifer's introduction speech about him was also very heartfelt and wonderful. Good job; couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker

Wow, she really wasn't expecting to win, was she? The first-ever woman winner of the Best Director Oscar. But I'll forever remember her as the woman who directed Point Break.

It's sometimes fascinating to me to look at the previous work of the directors who have won this award. Two people (Danny Boyle and Peter Jackson) directed zombie movies earlier in their careers. Ang Le directed Hulk. The Coen Brothers and Peter Jackson have directed all sorts of crazy things. And now the woman who made Point Break has won Best Director. Who would have seen that coming in a million years?

Best Picture
The Hurt Locker

As I said, I only saw three of these films, and I thought Up was the best of the three. But it already won for Best Animated Feature, so there was no way it was gonna win this, too. I haven't seen The Hurt Locker, and I still don't really have any intention to do so; it doesn't seem like my cup of tea, really.

And finally:

Best Original Score
Up – Michael Giacchino

This win pleased me more than any other of the evening. I thought Giacchino got shafted when he didn't win for the unbelievably brilliant score for The Incredibles. He's one of my favorite composers right now, with Ratatouille, Star Trek, the end theme of Cloverfield ("ROAR"), and now Up under his belt. His music is extremely catchy and very effective at bringing forth emotions. Just look at the two montages in Up; Giacchino's score elevates those moments to unbelievable heights (no pun intended), and they're some of the only times in recent years that I've actually gotten teary-eyed at a movie (and it still happens damn near every time).

But just as great as his win was his acceptance speech, which is one of the best, most inspiring Oscar speeches I've ever heard. I'll just let it speak for itself here:

Thank you, guys. When I was nine I asked my dad, “Can I have your movie camera? That old, wind-up 8 millimeter camera that was in your drawer?” And he goes, “Sure, take it.” And I took it and I started making movies with it and I started being as creative as I could. And never once in my life did my parents ever say, “What you’re doing is a waste of time.” Never. And I grew up, I had teachers, I had colleagues, I had people that I worked with all through my life who always told me, “What you’re doing is not a waste of time.” So that was normal to me, that it was okay to do that. I know there are kids out there that don’t have that support system, so if you’re out there and you’re listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It’s not a waste of time. Do it. Okay? Thank you.

It's NOT a waste of time. Is that a great speech or what? Aw, man, now I'm getting teary-eyed again. How does he do that!?

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