Oscars reach for golden appeal in gloomy recession

Farah Jadran Pike 02/23/09More articles
Our local ABC station aired pre-Oscar coverage Sunday night, but for a fleeting half an hour. In years past, there was at least one to two hours of red-carpet glory. We regular folk got the chance to see all those pretty movie stars dress up and celebrate the high life.

As host of the 81st Academy Awards Hugh Jackman pointed out from the start, things were going to be different this year because of the recession. Isn’t that sweet? The academy and the Hollywood A-list were looking out for us this year by shortening the time for swooning at cinema’s elite while we hunker down in our middle to lower class living rooms.

Instead of special effects and stand-up comedy, Jackman opened the ceremony with a dance and song number which included what could only be described as self-made cardboard stage sets. With his Australian charm, he swept actress Anne Hathaway out of her seat to join the opening festivities. Her inclusion in the routine was meant to be unexpected, but she clearly changed dresses before taking her seat, so not to ruin the glittering Armani gown she wore on the red-carpet.

The big winner for the evening was Slumdog Millionare taking home eight gold statuettes including whopper categories such as best picture and best director.

The first category presented was the award for best actress in a supporting role. Five past winners of the award including Whoopi Goldberg and Goldie Hawn stood onstage for several minutes introducing and praising each actress for their dramatic talents. After hearing each nominee’s extended introduction, I was wondering if one of them had cured cancer or if we were still at the Oscars.

Finally, Penelope Cruz was named the winner. She gave her mother a big hug and then proceeded to the stage where she asked the audience, “Has anyone ever fainted here? I might be the first one.” Cruz dazzled little girls’ ambitions everywhere by sharing her childhood dreams. At the end of her speech she gave a Spanish ‘thank you’ to the people of her home country, by telling them the award was not only for her, but for the people of Spain as well.

During the pre-Oscar coverage, the director of the actual ceremony described the 1930s appeal he was hoping to present this year. The orchestra was freed from the upstage pit, and placed onstage for the duration of the ceremony. The 2009 Oscars were meant to be about including the audience in the celebration, and putting on a show with more performances and intimate interaction with the nominees.

The Dark Night’s shining light came from Heath Ledger who won the posthumous Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for his portrayal of The Joker. Ledger is only the second person in history to win both a posthumous Golden Globe and Academy Award.

The award for best actor in a leading role went to Sean Penn, Milk, and best actress went to Kate Winslet, The Reader. Wall-E was named best animated picture of 2008, while the lesser-known category for best short animated film captured more humor than other acceptance speeches. The creator of Le Maison en Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato, gave a ‘thank you’ to his staff, producer and supporters. He then ended with, “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.” Needless to say, his speech was the shortest and gathered a warm sense of soft laughter over the crowd.

On a bitter sweet note, the writer and winner of the original screenplay Milk, expressed the difficulty to not only write the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, but the difficulty to be himself. The Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black sent a message to gay and lesbian people by including them in the inspiration of the film and that God loves them no matter what anyone says.

Lastly, something must be said about the fashions of the 81st Academy Awards because it would be a damn shame is we didn’t take a stab at those million dollar threads.

Here is the list for best and worst dressed:
Best dressed woman: Taraji P. Henson, actress in a supporting role nominee
Best dressed man: Sean Penn
Worst dressed woman: It’s three way a tie. Kate Winslet, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus
Worst dressed man: Richard Jenkins

If the fashion spectacular didn’t fancy your taste, then maybe the clever camera work done during Jennifer Aniston’s time onstage with Jack Black should have given you a good chuckle. The camera shamelessly cut back and forth between Brangelina and Aniston to show the gawky smiles that couple had on as Aniston stumbled over her teleprompter-generated script. If they’re sitting pretty at the Oscars show, then who is with the coveted Pitt-Jolie children on such a hot ticket night? Interesting.

Apologies to anyone that was disappointed by the ceremony or the pre-show, but it’s all over, the awards have been given and we are still going on with our normal lives as the Hollywood A-list sleeps in for several days to recover. Those poor dears.

CATEGORY: General Entertainment
TAGS: oscars,CNY,81st Academy Awards,Hugh Jackman,Slumdog Millionare
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 3.1/5 (9 votes cast)

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