I never watch Oscar-worthy movies until well after the awards season...which is why I watch the Academy Awards not to see who goes home with the most gold, but to see all the gorgeous dresses and the entertainment. After last year's show of forgettable gowns and a so-so host (love ya, Jon, but stick to "The Daily Show"), the 2009 Oscars celebration was quite a treat for this shallow viewer.
Let's start with the dresses; there were so many good ones, I'm just not quite sure which ones to single out! Penelope Cruz - a winner both on stage and on the red carpet - looked positively royal in a perfect vintage Balmain gown , but my personal favorite had to be Marion Cotillard rockin' that Dior. Edgy and dramatic, the dress stood out just enough to turn heads, but maintained enough elegance to keep it from turning into a Cher disaster . Speaking of disasters, what in the heck was Miley Cyrus thinking ? There's pretty, pretty princess and then there's pretty, pretty...puke.
Okay, now that I've got all that girlish squealing off my chest, let's move on to the entertainment. We all are aware of the fact that Hugh Jackman is a beast , but I don't believe any of us were prepared for just how beastly this man really is. Who knew that slashing, rage-fueled Wolverine was actually just a prancing and singing drama queen at heart? I, for one, was shocked. But I quickly recovered and became a HUGE fan of this new theatrical brand of hosting, a deviation from the tradition of comedic hosts. Sure, Jackman had his "cheesy cruise-ship entertainer" moments, as the New York Times reported, but was it amusing? Definitely. And this year's viewership increased by six percent over last year, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, so evidently, America agrees with me.
Other highlights of the evening were Seth Rogen and James Franco, channeling their roles from "Pineapple Express" in a hilarious skit commenting on a variety of this year's hits and Ben Stiller's dead-on impression of Joaquin "Chewbacca" Phoenix. I also quite enjoyed Jackman and Beyonce's musical mash-up, but I had mixed feelings about the revamped showcasing of the Best Song nominations. While it was certainly a wonderful blend of cultures and sounds, the audience missed out on the brilliant individual performances displayed in previous years.
I guess now would be a good time to talk about the actual awards. Biggest things for me were Kate Winslet getting "Best Leading Actress," an award that is really six times overdue, and Heath Ledger getting "Best Supporting Actor," a decision that should have been no contest, regardless of Ledger's passing. I'm also a huge Pixar buff, and "WALL-E," to perpetuate a cliché, was seriously out of this world and was most deserving of "Best Animated Feature."
And now, for the big winner. Honestly, I'm still not over the shock of "Slumdog Millionaire" even being nominated for nine awards, let alone winning eight of them. Overhyped, maybe, but it won because it was different. Frankly, in the past few years, Oscar winners haven't been, well, much fun. Yes, they were thought-provoking, they were raw, they were intricate, but would you say they were particularly dazzling? "Slumdog" had all these Oscar-worthy elements - arguably not to the same extent as certain movies - but offered something else as well. Much like this year's Academy Awards show, "Slumdog Millionaire" provided us with a new and rich vibrancy and that's precisely why both were a success.
Anika Manzoor. Although she may look like a cute and innocent freshman, Anika is actually a SENIOR(!!), who kicks butts and takes names on a daily basis. But otherwise she's very friendly with a sunny disposition and a constant snarl - er smile on her face =D ... More »