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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Commie, Homo-Loving Sons-of-Guns"


That's how I did for my first ever (published) Oscar Predictions. I can't say that such a number vaults me to the "King of the Internet" level that I was hoping for but I am okay with it. The Oscars aren't necessarily a crap-shoot, most categories can be whittled down to about 2 or 3 realistic options and films have a certain "buzz" going in, so guessing the films is not as difficult as picking 1 winner amongst 4 losers.

If it WERE a total crap-shoot, the odds of guessing any category right would be 20% and the odds of guessing ALL categories would be less than a percentage point. But as things stand, I would gauge that guessing  50% of the categories correctly would be the the norm, guessing the 60-70% range is respectable, 70-80% is excellent, 80-90% is Christ-like and 90-100% cannot be done by any man, creature or deity in this dimension or any other.

So, I must say that I am satisfied with guessing two-thirds of the categories right. Here are the categories I got wrong this year (I didn't guess the three "short" film categories because those ARE a crap-shoot)

SONG - Down to Earth – Jai Ho 
VISUAL EFFECTS - The Dark Knight – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
COSTUME DESIGN – Milk – The Duchess 
CINEMATOGRAPHY - The Dark Knight – Slumdog Millionaire 
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM - Waltz with Bashir - Departures
DOCUMENTARY - Trouble the Water – Man on Wire 
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis – Penelope Cruz

There are a few things I should have guessed here that I didn't. I was a little too confident with The Dark Knight and not confident enough about Slumdog. I had Dark Knight winning two categories that it didn't (Visual Effects and Cinematography) and had Slumdog losing out on two categories in which it won (Best Song and Best Cinematography). If I had a chance to do things over, I DEFINITELY would have picked "Jai Ho" to win Best Song (I mean, really: what was I thinking?) and I don't know if I think I put too much of my own personal biases into the Cinematography pick. Documentary was an idiot choice by me, I got too cute with it....same with the Best Supporting Actress pick. NO one saw the Best Foreign Language film coming and I could have done worse with Visual Effects.

As for what I got right, most were pretty obvious and not too difficult. I guessed 7 of the big 8 correctly, although I am willing to bet there were many out there who guessed all 8 correctly. One thing I got right that I am confident very few others did as well were the sound categories. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing usually go to the same film but by some divine intervention , I guessed correctly that this would be the year that they wouldn't. The Dark Knight had to pick up a win somewhere

At least now I have a baseline (67%) to measure all my future predictions against....and trust me: there will be future predictions.

Now as for the show itself...

I thought it went very, very well. Hugh Jackman was an excellent host, so much to the point where it seems almost unfair. So he's attractive, Australian, charismatic, talented actor, talented, singer, talented dancer, and can host the hell out of a show? Why does one man get to have so much? I am almost hoping that the Australian media uncovers a sweat-shop in his name. Petulant jealousy aside, the intro was very funny....the best part being Anne Hathaway as a sexy Richard Nixon.

The rest of the show ran smoothly enough. Sure, they went a little bit over, but they always do. Normally, I have a problem with all the self-indulgent clips that the Academy shows, only because it takes time away from winner's to give a speech they have been waiting to give their whole lives. Last night, it seemed like Oscar gave everyone ample time to speak and I can only think of one or two folks that had the music start to play them off. The clips that they DID show were predictably mediocre, except for Judd Apatow's skit for the Year in Comedy...which I think I will watch 124320324 more times online before it is all said and done (James Franco watching James Franco kissing Sean Penn was classic).

The speeches were solid all around but the best went to the Milk boys, Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn. Black's was clearly heartfelt and the cameras even caught him being a little weepy when Penn won. I usually don't appreciate Sean Penn's political grand-standing in speeches but I really appreciated what he had to say this time: he was perfectly humble, self-conscious and spoke earnestly about a subject that should be important to us all.

But there was clearly one MVP of the night: Danny-freaking-Boyle. The camera was in love with Boyle last night, cutting to his delirious smiles every time someone from Slumdog won. And then when you factor in his Tigger-jump upon winning the award for Best Director, you have the sure-fire formula for Oscar greatness. God bless any candidate that reminds me of Lucky the Leprechaun.

What a show, people, what a show. Slumdog Millionaire finished with 8, Benjamin Button finished with 3 and Milk and The Dark Knight finished third with 2. All in all, I must say I am reasonably happy with this year's show. The only sad part is that today had to happen. I can only equate February 23rd of 2009 as like the day after Christmas every year. How do you deal with the fact that your favorite day of the year is 364 days away (give or take)?

I guess you just start watching movies again.

I got Public Enemies in 2010!

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