In Contention

‘Slumdog’ takes 8 trophies as Oscar keeps it under 190 minutes

Posted by · 8:59 pm · February 22nd, 2009

Danny Boyle at the 81st annual Academy AwardsIn the final analysis, there isn’t much to say other than: What a captivating way to put a bow on the worst and, ultimately, most boring Oscar season of all time.  The 81st annual Academy Awards swiftly went down earlier this evening with few surprise winners and a classy new sheen.  It was captivating and, at times, inspiring.  Here are my thoughts on Hollywood’s biggest night:

The winners
I did extremely well with my predictions this year, nailing 21 of the 24 categories and making good with gambles in the foreign language film and short film categories.  I stuck with my heart on Mickey Rourke despite the smart money being on Sean Penn, but regardless of the strong desire to see the former holding an Oscar in his hands and delivering one more barn-burning speech, it is, of course, impossible to argue with Sean Penn’s expert work in “Milk.”  His heartfelt acceptance was a highlight and it all felt somehow more complete than it did five years ago.

That “Departures” win took the wind out of the sails of one of the year’s most ingenious productions and yes, this is a committee that still needs a major overhaul.  I don’t think I could possibly say it enough.  That should take nothing away from Japan’s victory, mind you, because their submission is a delightful film that won’t deserve most of the ill will coming its way from those who haven’t even seen it.  But “Bashir” seems to have wrongfully faced an uphill battle from the start.

The sound categories (hotly debated all week) proved once again that the Academy doesn’t understand the impact of mixers and editors on animated films.  “Slumdog Millionaire” took the mixing award (I’m kicking myself for changing that), while “The Dark Knight” took the sound editing trophy.

Regarding those shorts, by the way, Pixar remains winless in the animated field since 2001’s “For the Birds” (the gorgeous “La Maison en Petits Cubes” rightly won tonight), while “Toyland,” with its ambitious structure (for a short) and obviously baity subject matter reigned supreme in live action.

The only award I missed kind of irritated me, I have to admit: Best Documentary Short.  “Smile Pinki” took down what I thought to be the best of the field (and being the most cinematic, the most likely winner), Steve Okazaki’s “The Conscience of Nhem En.”  But there was a concerted publicity effort behind the former that maybe I should have paid more attention to.

(More, plus a full list of tonight’s Oscar winners, after the jump.)

The rest: anticipated.  Winslet didn’t hypervenelate too much, Cruz gave a cute speech preparing her for the circuit once again next year and Heath Ledger’s family gave a touching acceptance on his behalf for what has to be considered the performance of the year in “The Dark Knight.”  I couldn’t imagine a better way to close this chapter.

The show
Bill Condon and Laurence Mark deserve a big pat on the back for injecting more class into an evening that has largely fallen the way of pomposity and snooze-worthy pacing.  Building the show to mirror a film’s journey to the screen was a simple but somewhat brilliant way into a hefty slate of 24 Oscar presentations.

Grouping the design categories and the post-production awards into separate segments made for an efficient and streamlined conveyor belt for seven of the night’s awards.  I was shocked how far along we were 60 minutes into the thing.

Hugh Jackman, meanwhile, didn’t get in the way of the proceedings, had a healthy sense of humor and charmed the pants off the room.  The opening number was great, though the Baz Luhrmann-choreographed ode to musicals midway through could have been trimmed down.  I wouldn’t say Jackman set a new standard for Oscar hosting duties, but he certainly presented a well-argued case for less is more.

The acting award presentations were fascinating to watch.  Even though I was reminded of “Superman II” at times, the quintet of past winners offering their praise to each nominee was a nice way of showing camaraderie during a night of competition and really embossing the idea that this is an evening that should be seen as celebratory.

The music medley worked for the most part, though John Legend wasn’t as vocally prepared as he could have been.  The mash-up concept was really cool but shouldn’t be revisited unless it works well with the contenders like it did here.  After all, a worldly-tinged toon tune sandwiched between two energetic Indian tracks kind of flows, but Springsteen’s “The Wrestler” might not have been so organic to the mix.  Basically, I hope future producers take these fresh concepts on a year-by-year basis if they’re ever tossed around again.

I am happy to note that my trepidation was misplaced for the sing-through In Memoriam segment.  Queen Latifah’s belting of “I’ll Be Seeing You” over a cleverly constructed montage of the year’s dearly departed entertainment figures was much more tasteful than I anticipated.

Oh, and probably the best presentation of the night, for me, was the screenplay categories, which boasted a hilarious intro and a nice overall comedic concept.  Coming early in the show worked rather well, too.

And the stage was stunning.  Bravo to all involved.

(UPDATE: I don’t know why I forgot to mention this last night, but the Seth Rogen/James Franco/Janusz Kaminski skit was absolutely hilarious.  Anyone who’s ever talked to Kaminski knows how irreverent and funny he can be, so I loved seeing him up on that screen.  But come on, you all know my feelings on “Pineapple Express.”  Great to see it get some love on the show.)

The season
Well, it’s over, isn’t it?  The writing has been on the wall since December and, for some of us, since late November.  No one can argue with how sluggish the year has become, but as I’ve noted, it’s bittersweet for me because my favorite film of 2008 just won eight Oscars

Yes, I wanted to see Wally Pfister up there.  Yes, “WALL-E” deserved more notice for certain technical aspects.  Yes, there is still irritation left over from the nominations announcement a month ago.  But this, the first relative sweep in five years, seems to have been a great way to cleanse the pallette.  Bring on 2009, which looks to have an interesting exciting sense of variety.

But we’ll get into that tomorrow.

Congratulations to all of the night’s winners, but specifically to Danny Boyle, one of the most exciting working directors, finally with an Oscar to his credit, and the folks at Fox Searchlight who’ve been working hard for major AMPAS recognition for over a decade.  This was their year and they stuck the landing.  Bravo.

The night’s big winners:

Best Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk”
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Original Screenplay: “Milk”
Best Art Direction: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Cinematography: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Costume Design: “The Duchess”
Best Film Editing: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Makeup: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Music (Original Score): “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Music (Original Song): “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Sound Editing: “The Dark Knight”
Best Sound Mixing: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Visual Effects: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Animated Feature Film: “WALL-E”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Departures”
Best Documentary Feature: “Man on Wire”
Best Documentary Short: “Smile Pinki”
Best Short Film (Animated): “La Maison en Petits Cubes”
Best Short Film (Live Action): “Toyland”

“Slumdog Millionaire” — 8
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” — 3
“The Dark Knight,” “Milk” — 2
“Departures,” “The Duchess,” “Man on Wire,” “The Reader,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “WALL-E” — 1

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85 responses so far

  • 1 2-22-2009 at 9:03 pm

    Matt said...

    Even worse than last year. Not only was Hugh’s singing and the other montages of “singing” medleys terrible in every way, but the awards were lame and predictable across the board. I won’t be watching next year.

  • 2 2-22-2009 at 9:05 pm

    Miles said...

    Agreed. Perhaps the most boring show I’ve seen.

  • 3 2-22-2009 at 9:06 pm

    Nigel said...

    I really liked it. Boring in terms of predictability but felt fast-paced and enjoyable (with the exception of the acting awards, which dragged a bit).

  • 4 2-22-2009 at 9:09 pm

    David R. said...

    Good, I’m glad you two won’t be watching anymore. I thought Hugh was humble and spectacular. His humor was simple and not overly-offensive. There were a few surprises, such as Sean Penn (I think we all thought Mickey had it)… and Slumdog winning Sound Mixing. I loved the different sets set up for the different awards and the lack of cliche scores to cut short speeches, something that that for once didn’t come up. what’s wrong with you people?

  • 5 2-22-2009 at 9:09 pm

    The Q Mann said...

    Great, great show. Hugh was great, the opening number was a blast, and I loved the changes (especially the collection of past winners presenting the acting awards). The hit a home run.

  • 6 2-22-2009 at 9:13 pm

    David R. said...

    Yeh thanks Q Mann, the 5 past winners each for every acting nomination was unexpected and very appreciated

  • 7 2-22-2009 at 9:13 pm

    McGuff said...

    Matt and Miles: if you guys watch the Oscars in hopes of being entertained by the host’s singing and jokes as well as the montages, I don’t really know what to tell you, except, the rest of us watch the show because it honors film.

    I thought Hugh was OK, I thought the set was fantastic. I am glad they didn’t cut speeches short, and I really liked the new way of presenting acting awards.

  • 8 2-22-2009 at 9:13 pm

    Matthew said...

    I totally agree. Probably the first Oscars since 1998 that I really cared for — mostly because I watched the most films that turned out to be Oscar-nominated and because I cared about who was nominated and who won — I was rooting for Slumdog, Winslet (The Reader), Penn and Wall-E the moment after saw the four films.

    I think I could do without the long, drawn-out intros for the 4 acting categories. Other than that, I really liked the format of this awards.

    Even the In Memoriam segment was nice with a beautiful song accompaniment.

    Hugh Jackman was a great host, but the song-and-dance numbers were one-to-many (and there were 2 or 3?)

    I liked the consecutive award-giving as well.

    I’m watching my local news right now, and even the newscaster and reporter said this was the best show in a long time.

  • 9 2-22-2009 at 9:13 pm

    Idon'tcare said...

    I thought Hugh Jackman did a wonderful job as host. Very good song-and-dance man. As for the awards themselves, pretty predictable. I did think after Black and Penn won for Milk, that it may upset Slumdog in Picture.

    I don’t want to be sour with the results but Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black, enough with the victimhood routine. I’m tired of people telling those who voted for Proposition 8 that they are homophobic and/or intolerant. Listen, if we as a society allow homosexuals to classify their union as a “marriage” then we mine as well allow men and women to marry more than one spouse.

    This is not to demean or patronize the homosexual movement. The problem is for a community who claims to be tolerant, you sure have a funny way of forcing your beliefs on everyone else, and if there those who disagree, you label them accordingly. As the big book says, “They have been given over to an irreparable mind.”

  • 10 2-22-2009 at 9:15 pm

    Douglas said...

    Great Show!
    I thought the personal address by previous oscar winners to the nominated actors was a great touch. It made it feel so much more special watching at home. Although where were Daniel Day Lewis and Javier Bardem?

    I little bit disappointed about Mickey Rourke but still pleased with Sean Penn (oh and he wasnt a stuck up arogant prick for a change).

  • 11 2-22-2009 at 9:17 pm

    head_wizard said...

    hated the way the show was done, but Heath, Sean and Slumdog winning greatly made up for especially Sean Penn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 12 2-22-2009 at 9:19 pm

    McGuff said...

    Also: a big thanks to Kris, Guy, John and the rest that make IC such a great read during these Oscar seasons. This was the first year I went head-deep into this silly little niche, and it was a blast. Thanks guys!

  • 13 2-22-2009 at 9:20 pm

    George said...

    Last year’s show was much better. This is one of the worst I can remember.

  • 14 2-22-2009 at 9:21 pm

    Matthew said...

    Re: the “personal address by previous oscar winners”

    I thought some of the actors/actresses that came out were really odd .. Michael Douglas? Sophia Loren? Shirley McLaine? Adrian Brody?

    Where were Tom Hanks? Denzel Washington? Judi Dench? … Ok, maybe it’s my bias showing.

    I just didn’t like this format, and wish they’d shown clips of the performances that were nominated. I could do without the sugar-laden platitudes.

  • 15 2-22-2009 at 9:21 pm

    The Other Ryan said...

    Loved the show, and Penn winning. And I also think Dustin Lance Black gave the speech of the night. Jackman deserves to come back again.

  • 16 2-22-2009 at 9:22 pm

    David R. said...

    I concur. You guys all do a great job of commenting/predicting/criticizing these awards/nominations with unique and honest perspectives. i look forward to next year

  • 17 2-22-2009 at 9:23 pm

    Matthew said...

    The show itself was phenomenal. Jackman was maybe the best host in years, an excellent showman through and through.

    The winners, well, I’m happy Curious Case lost so many, and Slumdog continued to win a bazillion. The only problem was it was a tad too predictable. There weren’t really any upsets… But that’s alright.

    All around one of the best Oscar shows I’ve seen in ages. Bring Jackman back! He’s Wolverine for goodness’ sakes.

  • 18 2-22-2009 at 9:27 pm

    Gar said...

    I’m not a big “Slumdog” fan, but I really enjoyed tonight. I thought it was endowed with a real love of the movies, more so than previous years.

  • 19 2-22-2009 at 9:28 pm

    Nigel said...

    Yep, I hope Jackman is back next year. Proof that you don’t need a comedian to host the show, as long as he/she knows how to entertain an audience.

  • 20 2-22-2009 at 9:28 pm

    Jake said...

    Boring show. I’m sure it would’ve been fun if I was actually there, like Boyle pointed out. Other than that, terrible in terms of how the awards panned out. I’m not entirely disappointed that Rourke didn’t win; I’m more disappointed about Slumdog winning almost everything. Wall-E deserved Best Song and Score. It’s all politics. Seeing Chris Nolan there just made me sad, honestly. He deserved to be recognized, as did the film for Best Picture. The Best Picture nominees were boring and safe. I don’t have too many complaints about the production of the actual telecast, though. My main one is that the opening number was a bit embarrassing and too Tony-esque. My favorite moments were probably the presentations of the acting trophies (although there should’ve been clips of the performances), and the montage sequences of the different genres.

  • 21 2-22-2009 at 9:28 pm

    Matthew said...

    If anyone is interested/cares, I found Dustin Lance Black’s award remarks:

    A little preachy, but effective I guess. If anyone knows where I might find Sean Penn’s, please share .. I missed the first part of it.

    Thank you.

  • 22 2-22-2009 at 9:30 pm

    Garrett said...

    Idon’tcare: That same argument was being used to justify why blacks shouldn’t have rights or marry whites. Perhaps next time you should educate yourself before you make such ridiculous remarks.

    I loved the show, especially the opening number. I wasn’t really surprised with any of the wins, but I was expecting Mickey Rourke to take Best Actor.

  • 23 2-22-2009 at 9:31 pm

    Godfather said...

    You’re the man, Kris! Congrats on your 21/24–goes with your impressive commentary and predictions all year long. The show was a gorgeous improvement over the past few years, the tone of the proceedings both elegant and dignified, and most of the speakers said something of which was worth listening. And I loved the global feel of it, as well as the beautiful retro look and sound.

  • 24 2-22-2009 at 9:31 pm

    James said...

    Idon’tcare, it figures that some bigot like you would be the one to gripe about that. No one wants you around, so don’t bother saying that sh*t here ^_^. Black’s speech was great and it’s necessary. It’s not about the marriage; that’s just symbolism. It all (the proposition) represents homophobia, not the banning of gay marraige. Ergo, it’s about attaining equal rights, and it’s highly necessary for them to be open and bold with their speeches so that we move forward, not back, plain and simple.

  • 25 2-22-2009 at 9:39 pm

    Sulman said...

    hugh jackman did a great job in the intro song (loved how they sweded all the movies, including dark knight and the reader especially, haha). yes, the awards were predictable, and i wanted mickey rourke to win, but sean penn did a hell of a job in his role too, and if it was to be anyone else, penn was the man. loved the actor/actress intros, but some of the chosen were random. great show, enjoyed it much, jai ho!

  • 26 2-22-2009 at 9:47 pm

    emad said...

    this year will go down as a year to be ashamed of! none of the 5 best picture contenders were good enough to win even 4 oscars, let alone 8! there was some really good mainstream hollywood(tdk,wall.e) and some really good indie pieces, in bruges for instance. but they chose some mediocre movies for the top 5.
    come on, slumdog really triumphed because it was a “feel good, charming movie” and maybe it acted like a painkiller for moviebuffs in these time of economic trouble,
    i don’t live in america, so i can’t possibly understand all this hype about slumdog and i am sure in 5 years everyone feel like me.
    one year we have some of the best movies of modern era in top 5 contenders(NCFOM, TWBB even diving bell(although it was a direction contender))and one year later some crap named “slumdog” makes an evening beautiful!
    with all due respect(and being a long time reader)you have been taken by the hype.

  • 27 2-22-2009 at 9:48 pm

    Ben said...

    Some thoughts:

    A very predictable choice of winners. Nothing surprised me (except maybe one of the shorts).

    I think Best Actor (though I’m sure it was very close) is tell-tale that perhaps many of the Oscar bloggers, with all due respect, got too caught up in loving Mickey to see than Penn was always the most likely winner.

    Nay-sayers of the show should hush. There’s a lot of people (Nikki Finke, etc.) who would hate the show no matter what they did and some hate the show because their favorite film didn’t win/get nominated. Jackman, Condon, and company did a great job. Bringing showmanship back to the Oscars.

  • 28 2-22-2009 at 9:52 pm

    The Other Ryan said...


    Kris saw Slumdog way before the hype machine started, and even before it was released, much like I did, and I loved it. So I’d like to think our thoughts on the film weren’t perverted or subjected to awards season hyperbole like for a lot of films.

  • 29 2-22-2009 at 9:53 pm

    Vito said...

    It was great tonight. Hugh did a pretty good job, and I was suprised that I actually enjoyed the changes to the show.

    Also, shocked and disappointed that Mickey didn’t win, but he’s back now. One day, hopefully.

    I got 19/24 for my predictions. I can’t believe your gut feeling on Departures was right Tapley!

  • 30 2-22-2009 at 9:56 pm

    Chris said...

    I was just happy to see Heath Ledger win the Oscar. Rightfully deserved, in my opinion.

    I also thought Hugh Jackman was a good host, very entertaining. I thought it was better than last year’s, although it felt much more… mainstream? I think that’s what they were going for at least.

    However, I do agree that for the most part, it was very predictable. I am tired of hearing about Slumdog Millionaire for the time being. Good movie, don’t get me wrong, but immensely overpraised.

  • 31 2-22-2009 at 9:58 pm

    McGuff said...

    I’d like to start griping about something , because it pisses the shit out of me that people do this (and have in this thread):

    Stop hating on Slumdog Millionaire because it won 8 Oscars.

    I have loved following this awards season, but what amazes me is the pretentiousness that the Academy Awards are surrounded by. People hold the award in such esteem, that they start attacking when something threatens the traditional.

    Juno nominated into Best Picture? Let’s attack it, even if it was a small delightful little indie movie that was made without any awards expectations.

    WALL-E with the potential of a Best Picture nomination? Let’s attack it, because OUR Oscar five should NEVER have an animated movie.

    Slumdog Millionaire wins 8 Oscars? Let’s attack it because it’s not the cinematic classic that it should be to win SO many of those gold statuettes.

    Give me a break. It was a weaker year for movies, and Slumdog was the one film that galvanized a VAST majority of its viewers. Please, please, please, avoid attacking Slumdog because it won an award, or in this case, a lot of awards. If you want to talk about the movie reasonably, let’s have that discussion. If you blindly attack a movie because of how it has been received — and how that works against your belief on how it should be received — let’s not have that discussion. Here or anywhere. Please.

  • 32 2-22-2009 at 10:01 pm

    Selina said...

    One of the best shows in a LONG time.

  • 33 2-22-2009 at 10:06 pm

    Vito said...

    Very well said, McGuff.

  • 34 2-22-2009 at 10:06 pm

    Grace said...

    Show way waaaay drawn out and Jackman was cheesy. Very excited for Penn and I agree that Dustin Lance Black had the best speech. The Original Song performances were good and it was great seeing the whole cast of Slumdog on stage at the end.

  • 35 2-22-2009 at 10:09 pm

    Michael McKay said...

    Where was Jack??

  • 36 2-22-2009 at 10:10 pm

    Kyle said...

    Great show, Jackman did well. But I expect the ratings to be barely above last years.

  • 37 2-22-2009 at 10:11 pm

    Vito said...

    I was also wondering where Jack was! I expected him to be seated in the front row with his sunglasses like every year. Haha.

  • 38 2-22-2009 at 10:12 pm

    sally p. said...

    Hollywood better give Ms. Anne Hathaway every movie musical available. Hathaway was such a gracious loser. She was extremely elated for Kate Winslet’s win. I pray & hope Hathaway continues to take artistic risk- like Brokeback & Rachel Getting Married. She’s a triple threat!!

  • 39 2-22-2009 at 10:13 pm

    USC film 04 said...

    Hugh was magnificent, nuff said. I liked how they presented the acting awards, but imo, it got kinda long and tedious with the past winners going way overboard with their flowery and gushing praise of the nominees. Nevertheless, It was a fine watchable show, and I expect Hugh to be a constant fixture from now on as host.

  • 40 2-22-2009 at 10:14 pm

    A.J said...

    Dustin Lance Black was way too preachy for my liking. Sean Penn was borderline. Yes I didn’t want either to win so that does cloud my judgement. I liked the presenting of the acting awards but it just drug on and on. Beyonce again, really? Like honestly? Isn’t that her fifth performance? Seven if you count the dreamgirls extravaganza as three separate. Why Steven Speilberg? I thought this was about 2008 in film? Ok, sure Indiana Jones but thats not a good reason. It should’ve been someone from The Dark Knight. Original Song? That shit was fucking horrible. Sorry about the language but honestly it’s not wonder why Peter Gabriel didn’t want a part of the show. John Legend singing Down to Earth next to AR singing Jai Ho? Worst idea ever? Probably. Jackman wasn’t half bad though.

  • 41 2-22-2009 at 10:17 pm

    Matthew said...


    Take your rude self elsewhere and soothe it with a drink or something. For you to come here and say that we have been taken by hype is preposterous. Some of us saw this film way before people even knew the film existed. (I watched it way back in early November when it was showing in only 2-3 theaters in the entire country).

    And I cannot think of a film in the last 10 years that has had this much unanimous support since Titanic. No other film has brought people of all walks of life and creed to agree that it is something worthy of praise (first) and accolades (second).

    Plus, the backstory of what SDM could have been (a-direct-to-DVD) was, I believe, one of the most appealing factors of it for many people – and voters. That a small film, filled with unknowns in these parts of the world, could resonate with so many people is just outstanding.

    I was not thrilled that The Dark Knight didn’t get nominated in more significant categories (Best Picture, Best Director) … but rest assured, it won all the awards it did deserve to win.

  • 42 2-22-2009 at 10:17 pm

    Jonathan said...

    Hugh was great, the new acting presentations were wonderful, the big musical number was a little off the mark, the pace was about right, we needed a little more funny and a little less dancing, but otherwise it made the grade. I hope Hugh hosts again.

  • 43 2-22-2009 at 10:18 pm

    James D. said...

    I thought the new format was entertaining. The Supporting Actress bit was good, but men staring into each others eyes never looks good on camera.

    The winners were just bad, is all. I liked that Cruz won, but Rourke was robbed.

  • 44 2-22-2009 at 10:19 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    The big thumb down for me, aside from Rourke’s loss, was the best song medley. It just felt off, and Legend was off key at the start. But then, Legend’s never seen Wall-E (fact), and his lack of enthusiasm was to be expected.

  • 45 2-22-2009 at 10:26 pm

    Matthew said...

    I hope that if they continue the past-winner-gushing-intro thing next year, they switch it up…

    Former Best Actor winners intro the Best Actress noms .. and Former Supporting Actress winners intro Supporting Actor noms … get my drift?

    And they add in clips of the nominated roles.

  • 46 2-22-2009 at 10:27 pm

    Idon'tcare said...

    “That same argument was being used to justify why blacks shouldn’t have rights or marry whites. Perhaps next time you should educate yourself before you make such ridiculous remarks.”

    I don’t understand why liberals like you demonize the black civil rights movement by comparing it to the homosexual/Pink Hand intimidation movement. Blacks never had a choice in skin color. Homosexuals choose to be what they are. Which is fine and dandy. Whatever they want to do in the privacy of their home is fine by me, and the state cannot regulate something like that. Homosexuality is an abnormality. As decades have past, this behavior has become acceptable, to the point where people want to intimidate the opposition into redefining terms, which are sacred.

    Homosexuality is a choice. Period. You liberals can say this or that, but I hate to break it to you, most people do believe that. The only way your argument will become legitimate is if they can prove it is not a choice. So get over it; I mean Obama doesn’t even support gay marriage.

  • 47 2-22-2009 at 10:33 pm

    McGuff said...

    Dude (Idon’tcare), stop. Neither time nor place.

    Things that I could say that actually have to do with Milk:

    1. I came around last week or so and decided I thought Penn gave the performance of the year over Rourke. I rooted for Rourke to win however, just to hear the speech.

    2. I thought Dustin Lance Black’s script was lacking something. Kris has quantified that for me, and made me realize it didn’t have any grit.

    3. I blame Gus Van Sant for not creating enough pathos at the end of the movie. I, and others from what I’ve read, just weren’t invested enough at the end. That’s very problematic.

    4. I thought Emile Hirsch gave the best supporting performance. But I recognize that I might think that because it’s more showy and physical than Brolin’s. I’m not a student of acting.

    Refute those. Don’t refute others politics. (Sorry to act like some moderator here, but this is Oscar Night! I want to talk Oscars!)

  • 48 2-22-2009 at 10:39 pm

    Brad said...

    Worst Oscar show ever. I’d never thought I’d say this, but bring back Gil Cates. Hugh Jackman is talented, but he was out of place here. He’s much better suited for the Tonys. Steve Martin and Tina Fey were marvelous during their presentation and one wished that they could have taken over hosting duties from Jackman. Jackman aside, the embarrasments are too numerous to mention: the claustrophobic set, which along with the music made it seem like the show was being broadcast from the basement of a jazz club. The way the acting awards were presented were cringe worthy – the tributes by past winners made it seem like the nominees were up for the Nobel Prize. The fact that the Academy chooses films that nobody cares about is another matter altogether – the general public just doesn’t care about these films. Perhaps next year’s Awards should be broadcast from Tyler Perry’s house – people seem to care about him.

  • 49 2-22-2009 at 10:43 pm

    Nigel said...

    Even though I wanted Mickey Rourke to win, I get the feeling that if he did it would have been mostly out of pity and just a patronising pat on the back.

    I didn’t really have an opinion of the guy before I saw The Wrestler because I somehow managed to avoid pretty much every film he ever did, but I’ve grown to like him. Hopefully he gives another great performance and wins next time.

  • 50 2-22-2009 at 10:48 pm

    The Other Ryan said...


    My biggest problem with Milk was the score. Danny Elfman was not the right choice. Other than that, brilliant film deserving of its two wins.

  • 51 2-22-2009 at 10:49 pm

    McGuff said...

    I admit to not really noticing the “Milk” score until tonight, when they performed all of them. It was pretty clear then that it was the worst of the nominated scores by 14 miles or so.

  • 52 2-22-2009 at 11:21 pm

    N8 said...

    Agreed. I enjoyed tonight’s show more than any Oscar broadcast I’ve seen.

    And thank you, thank you, thank you for convincing me to pick Departures. It’s the only risk I took in my predictions, and I also ended up going 21/24 (and won both my pools).

    All-in-all, a satisfying conclusion to what has been a relatively unsatisfying season.

    Just don’t anyone forget who called it for La Maison en Petit Cubes back in January! ;)

  • 53 2-22-2009 at 11:39 pm

    Sarah said...

    Just ignore the disgusting fundamentalist scum from user “Idon’tcare”. It’s a pity that people like you have the gift of living, because ignorant rats like you only deserve the worst that can happen to anyone. Equal rights for all will come soon whether you like it or not, so stop bothering in making accusations on the gay community, specially the “its a choice” nonsense. Just learn science a bit during the awards off-season so you can know that homosexuality it’s everywhere in nature, including mankind. Shut up and live with it ignorant fool.

  • 54 2-22-2009 at 11:41 pm

    Jake said...

    McGuff, you can’t get the gist of a film score from a 20 second excerpt.

  • 55 2-22-2009 at 11:44 pm

    The Other Ryan said...

    Jake, that’s true, but even in the context of the film, I didn’t like it. And the fact that McGuff didn’t even remember it doesn’t bode well for his overall view of it should he go back and watch it a second time.

  • 56 2-22-2009 at 11:44 pm

    McGuff said...

    I agree, but it certainly didn’t move me when I saw the movie (I confessed to not remembering it at all), and I think that’s the real problem. The 20-second clip just served to strengthen the position that it wasn’t nomination-worthy.

  • 57 2-22-2009 at 11:48 pm

    Jake said...

    Sorry, I didn’t know you had already seen the movie. I personally thought Wall-E should’ve won. And The Dark Knight should’ve been nominated. Rahman’s score might be more “original” than the others, but it’s far from the best.

  • 58 2-22-2009 at 11:55 pm

    Douglas said...

    Yeh bring back ‘the clip’ next year but keep the personal address by previous oscar winners
    i liked that

  • 59 2-22-2009 at 11:56 pm

    Vito said...

    I just realized George Carlin wasn’t in the Memoriam. I realize he wasn’t really much of an actor, but he was a legend and I think an important figure in show business. I wish he had been honored.

  • 60 2-23-2009 at 1:13 am

    Matt said...

    ” It was captivating and, at times, inspiring.”

    In the same way that banal crap like American Idol is captivating and inspiring? Because this was just as terrible as an episode of that.

  • 61 2-23-2009 at 1:28 am

    Jake said...

    I’ve really mulled over the event since it finished, and I have to say that I am more and more dissatisfied. I wrote earlier that I like the presentation of the acting awards, but there were moments like Adrian Brody’s trying to compliment Richard Jenkins. It was a little embarrassing for Brody and a true disservice to Jenkins. The song medley was annoying, because their version “Down to Earth” sounded very little to the actual song, if at all. And I understand that Lawrence and Condon worked on Dreamgirls, etc., but the show felt like the Tonys, to be honest. Really bad show. And when Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix joke ruined the Cinematography clips…don’t get me started there. The show was an utter disappointed, and it didn’t help that there weren’t any major upsets outside of foreign language (we all knew Penn would win Best Actor). The Oscars sucked, plain and simple.

  • 62 2-23-2009 at 1:41 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    No mention of the horrifying In Memorium, Kris?

    Nothing? Nothing about the zooming in and out and all around like monkeys having seizures were controlling the camera, meanwhile NUMEROUS people were blatantly snubbed? George Carlin, Patrick McGoohan, Harvey Korman, etc?

  • 63 2-23-2009 at 2:09 am

    James said...

    Oh, Idontcare. You’re so silly. A choice. That same, old tired argument that LESS and less people are clinging belief to. How is it that you’re so out of touch with what people think? Are you boarded up in some sugar shack in West Virginia? Poor bastard.

    Back to my point though: It’s not a choice. I wouldn’t choose to suffer thru loneliness because of the difficulty finding someone. I apologize to others who may be repulsed by this, but I’m gonna put it this simply: The fact that I get a boner from other dudes’ junk seems like a clear enough sign to me that my attraction to men is a natural, intrinsic thing. All sex and sexuality is a choice to engage in, but being this way is an innate thing one is born with.


    Okay, enough harping. I’ll just invite Dustin to tell him off next time ^_^.

    Mr. Harmonica: I think Queen sounded great. In fact, I wish SHE was involved in that Baz routine, not Beyonce, who was just miscast there. But I do agree about the repulsion I felt from those aggravating camera zooms. I couldn’t even figure out who the montage was showing half the time. I thought the point was to actually see the images of those we lost, not to gaze upon Latifah belting it out. Next time Academy: Play her vocals OVER the montage, with at most, a top-right-corner-square image of her. Honestly….

  • 64 2-23-2009 at 2:15 am

    The Other James D. said...

    Good point MacGuff.

    I did love Milk, but I thought it suffered from something….I felt that Van Sant’s direction was a tad too broad. I was more of a fan of his Paranoid Park work. I felt that the lack of focus on the supporting men, particularly Franco, was cloying. He, Brolin, and Hirsch could’ve been just a bit more developed. It might have helped Franco land a Supporting Actor nod. Well, or Franco should’ve campaigned for Pineapple Express….That + RDJ + Ledger….Best category ever.

    I am happy DLB won though, even though I prefer all 3 surprise Original Screenplay nods. But I’m surprised so many doubted his win: He’s young and hip, much like Diablo Cody, with a promising upcoming resume; but more importantly, because of his struggle to get Milk on screen, and his emotional journey connected to the whole theme of this film, spoke volumes about how unbeatable he really was.

  • 65 2-23-2009 at 3:34 am

    Mike V. said...

    To the guy “I don’t care”: GET A LIFE, LOSER.


    I liked the format. Hugh Jackman was refreshing, he did a great job. I hated the fact that Slumdog won 8 underserved Oscars but I was thrilled when Sean Penn won over Mickey Rourke. Hi speech was brilliant and his performance is one of the greatest ever. Dustin Lance Black’s speech was the best of the night, IMO. He was honest and humble, I really enjoyed his speech. A true winner.

    Queen Latifah was good too. She has something especial.

    The worst parts of the show: BeyoncГ©, High School Musical, the “Sank Yew” speeches, Slumdog winning Best Score, Song, Director and Picture… Did I say BeyoncГ©?, Waltz With Bashir losing Best Foreign Language film… BeyoncГ©… and BeyoncГ©. Give me a break, she’s not that good.

    Anyway, I have lost all my faith. Harvey Weinstein Academy Awards should be the name of the show. PenГ©lope Cruz and Kate Winslet obviously won because of his dirty campaign. Did they deserve it? I’m a huge Winslet fan since Heavenly Creatures, but I think she robbed Meryl Streep. Cruz robbed Davis.

    Well, that’s what I think. Some of you will disagree with me but please, remember this is my opinion. Thank you.

  • 66 2-23-2009 at 3:42 am

    AdamL said...

    Cuba Gooding Jr.????????

    The only reason he should ever be on the stage at Oscar again is to give his Oscar back.

    Notice how out of the 20 presentations for the acting awards 19 were about the performance and 1 was about me me me. The guy is a complete wanker.

  • 67 2-23-2009 at 4:14 am

    Eunice said...

    I’m exposing my age here, but I enjoyed this year’s show. (I’m 17, by the way, no judgments please.) Last year’s was boring, and this year’s was enjoyable. What was not enjoyable about watching Wolverine make a complete fun of himself and his status as a ‘movie star’? I enjoyed the montages for the different genres and had a good time. Also, I chose to predict only 21 out of the 24 categories and went 15 out of 21, which I think is pretty good for someone new to this awards season game. The ‘Departures’ win shocked me.

    Yay! Moments:
    1. Five presenters. Hasn’t this been done recently? I don’t remember, and this is my first year of watching the entire awards season seriously, so don’t give me flack. It was fun, and the tributes to the nominees was a good way of appreciating their work.
    2. The set-up at the Kodak. It was so intimate and friendly to me. Bravo.
    3. The tribute to musicals. So they murdered a few songs, but it was fun. I do disapprove of the people they included. Honestly, did they not have the budget to at least rope Kidman and McGregor in? Or even Zeta-Jones and Zellweger? Come on.
    4. ‘Slumdog’ winning. I was not tired of every win. Honestly.
    5. Ben Stiller impersonating Joaquin Phoenix. Come on. Putting gum on the table? Funny.
    6. Tina Fey and Steve Martin. Hey, how about these two as hosts?
    7. The orchestra out of the pit. Finally, some respect! If only the Music branch could widen its nominee slate as well, I’d be happy.
    8. Heath Ledger winning. It’s been over a year, and I’m still misty-eyed.
    9. Sean Penn calling Mickey Rourke his brother. I loved that moment. I was equally happy that Penn won, especially because of how this two- man race was easily the most exciting category of the show.

    ‘Nay’ or ‘What?!’ or ‘I don’t know how I feel about what just happened’ Moments.
    1. Viola Davis not winning. Boo. I mean, the Academy could have given it to Taraji P. Henson, but no, they’d go conservative.
    2. Melissa Leo not winning. I’m forever on Team Streep, but come. on.
    3. Kate Winslet’s speech. I love how elated she was, and how she didn’t forget Angelina this time (haha!) but telling Meryl Streep to suck on that was not a little classy. I still think that her best work was ‘Eternal Sunshine’, but she is the choice this year.
    4. The movies to watch out for in 2009 credits. I agreed with some–like Public Enemies, Inglorious Basterds, and Julie and Julia–but G-Force? Hugh, are you high? This is the movie that might be on its way to an Oscar?
    5. John Legend failing on ‘Down to Earth’ and murdering a song from one of 08’s best movies. Sigh. I’m sorry, but that was not how it sounded.
    6. Jack Black’s Pixar-Dreamworks joke. I wanted to laugh, but like Jennifer Aniston, I felt a little awkward.
    7. Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Amanda Seyfried, and Dominic Cooper. Please. Do not represent musicals or box office hits. Get some credentials first.
    8. The In Memoriam segment. This has nothing to do with Queen Latifah, just what the camera was focusing on during the segment.

    Kris, are you coming up with the list of the possible 2010 contenders soon? It seems like a field of biopics and historical films this coming season. I’m already rooting for Robert Downey Jr. in ‘The Soloist’. :)

  • 68 2-23-2009 at 4:16 am

    Jim said...

    Kris, when are you posting the next year’s contenders list? Yes, I’m THAT addicted!

  • 69 2-23-2009 at 4:20 am

    Rob said...

    Tremendously exciting show. Well put together.

    I never like major sweeps, but yeah. I love the Oscars I do.

  • 70 2-23-2009 at 4:59 am

    RJNeb2 said...

    Didn’t see the ceremony and found the choices this year to be mind-numbingly predictable. Whatever. It’s over now. We can all start again.

    Passing thought though: is this the first time 2 consecutive Best Actor winners have picked up their second Oscar?

  • 71 2-23-2009 at 5:07 am

    McGuff said...

    I wrote this to a friend last night: a dozen things I loved about that edition of the Oscars.

    1. Phillippe Petit. I’m sad this might be the last we see of the year’s most likable character.

    2. The new style for acting awards: Suddenly, those behind the Screen Actors Guild are kicking themselves. They should have thought of this YEARS ago.

    2.5. Bob De Niro’s presentation to Sean Penn, Anne Hathaway’s reaction to Shirley McLaine.

    3. Freida Pinto. Taraji P. Henson. And all the beautiful women.

    4. The speeches of the “Milk” winners. Dustin Lance Black was brilliantly well-spoken, while Penn was funny, self-aware, meaningful, and thankfully, gave an ode to Mickey Rourke.

    4.5. The speech of Kate Winslet, or more poignantly, the fact that she got an award.

    5. A short speech from Jerry Lewis. Short, sweet and appreciative. All it has to be.

    5.5. No speech for the exit of an AMPAS President … or whatever. And NO ONE cares about this speech.

    6. Hearing A.R. Rahman as much as we did. I didn’t realize how much he brought to “Slumdog” until I heard it tonight.

    7. The “Pineapple Express” skit. Thought that was great. Better than the actual movie, in fact.

    7.5: Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Thought they were great. Better than in their “30 Rock” show together, in fact.

    8. Heath. Awards season kept his legacy moving forward. Let us not forget him now that it’s over.

    9. Danny Boyle’s Tigger act. No one showed class as much as Danny Boyle did tonight. Clearly reacting like a man just happy to be there. The kind of people that should be awarded.

    10. Queen Latifah during the In Memoriam segment. Added something to a — let’s face it — usually dull segment. (Though I agree camera work was abysmal here)

    11. Hugh Jackman, once or twice. He was on and off, but I think he connected with his peers. And that’s what is important.

    12. The set. As Danny Boyle said, bravo.

  • 72 2-23-2009 at 5:09 am

    McGuff said...

    And a half-dozen things I didn’t like:

    1. That a montage included “Seven Pounds.” Damn, was hoping for a complete shut-out of the year’s worst.

    2. Zac Efron. Why are you at an acting awards ceremony?

    2.5. Any of the musical numbers, to be frank. With the possible exception of bringing Anne Hathaway up there, as staged as it was.

    3. Beyonce. We get it…you think you deserved Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar. Now please, just go away.

    4. The no-shows. Daniel Day-Lewis, Javier Bardem, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio. Where were these guys? At the bar?

    4.5. In particular, Day-Lewis. How well-spoken and poignant DDL was in the weeks after Heath’s death last year … and how adept he seemed talking about actors. I thought he would love this set-up.

    5. That we didn’t get a Mickey Rourke speech. It became the best part of every awards night this season.

    6. That Heath Ledger couldn’t accept his award.

  • 73 2-23-2009 at 6:02 am

    Zach baum said...

    I figured it out,

    Waltz and The Class split the vote

    fuck Japan

  • 74 2-23-2009 at 7:05 am

    RichardA said...

    For the most part, it was classy. The memoriam was classy. The past winners giving the award was classy. The production numbers could have been better. But all in all it was a great show for a year with little surprises.

  • 75 2-23-2009 at 9:18 am

    Bing147 said...

    I was NOT a fan. The In Memoriam they managed to actually ruin. How do you do that? But the camera work was not only unneeded, it was terrible. I couldn’t read a number of the names. I recognized the people but if I hadn’t recognized, say for example, Cyd Charisse’s clip, I’d have never known it was her. Plus, the singing didn’t add anything and was slightly distracting, though Latifah sounded great.

    The genre clips, though funny at times, particularly the Apatow group’s things, were something more out of the MTV movie awards than the Oscars. And they showed impeccably bad taste in what was shown. I mean, Waltz With Bashir, a movie nominated for an award at the show, doesn’t get shown in the animation one yet Madagascar 2 and Star Wars get shown?

    The Ode to musicals was a disaster, Luhrmann looked embarassed after the fact. They have time for that but not for the nominated songs to actually be sung?

    Plus, it got really old seeing tween stars on the stage. I assure you, most Oscar viewers could care less about the stars of High School Musical.

    I didn’t hate it all. There were some very funny skits, the Pheonix one, the Pineapple Express one, I enjoyed the opening number though more in a sort of that’s alright way than a that’s fantastic way. Jackman had a lot of energy and pulled it off although he wasn’t great… The way of presenting the acting winners was kind of cool though I missed the clips and frankly, doing that in this category and not the others is borderline insulting. And there’s no way you could do that for every category, it’d take WAY too long.

  • 76 2-23-2009 at 10:27 am

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    Batman was the only one who was able to take down the Slumdog.

  • 77 2-23-2009 at 11:00 am

    JP said...

    Eunice – Kate Winslet didn’t tell Meryl to “suck on that” she said that all the other nominees felt that they didn’t deserve to be in the same category with Meryl and when Meryl made a face of humble shock, Kate told her “sorry, you just need to suck it up.” Kate was telling Meryl that she just needed to accept the fact that all the other nominees were in awe of her. It was a compliment not a rude gaffe.

  • 78 2-23-2009 at 1:57 pm

    Chad said...

    Fantastic show.

  • 79 2-23-2009 at 2:44 pm

    Andrew said...

    For the record books, Slumdog is the first film EVER to win Oscar BP, Globe BP. BAFTA Best Film, BFCA BP, SAG ensemble, DGA, WGA, PGA and Scripter (I know it won other guilds too).

    Schindlers List didnt win SAG and BFCA because they werent around. American Beauty didnt win Scripter because its an original screenplay. LOTR: ROTK lost Scripter

  • 80 2-23-2009 at 2:48 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Yeah, we were all over that last month, Andrew. Thanks though. History indeed.

  • 81 2-23-2009 at 2:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Wow, even a grouch like Chad was on board.

  • 82 2-23-2009 at 4:43 pm

    marco volpe said...

    Really liked the reworking of the show! Of course some new ideas worked better, some others less, but overall it felt much more organic, well-organized and fast, and the stage setting looked great.
    Actually missed the film clips from the nominated performances, though having five former winners on the stage to welcome the new one was nice (about this: ok, they’re Oscar winners, but keep Adrien Brody and Cuba Gooding jr. off the stage, in the future).
    The Rogen/Franco/Kaminski part was great, so was the paring of Tina Fey and Steve Martin; Ben Stiller doing Joaquin Phoenix was fun, but he should have not been stealing the show during the reading of the cinematography nominees…

  • 83 2-23-2009 at 9:16 pm

    PJ said...

    I quite liked the show. The bits that I was most worried about (Original Song medley, In Memoriam segment, previous winners not presenting acting awards) turned out to be fine, and remarkably tasteful at times, and Jackman more than allayed my aversion to musicals for a couple of hours. In the end, the winners were (largely) deserved, and I’m really not demanding more.

  • 84 2-24-2009 at 1:39 am

    Eunice said...

    JP–Thanks for the interpretation and for calling me out on that one. I watched the clip again, and realized that Kate was totally meaning something else.