Sunday there was quite a lot of pre-Oscar speculation at my house as we all completed our ballots to see who could pick the most winners of the 24 major award categories for the 2010 Academy Awards. I find that just about everything is more fun when you have a wager on the line. [Sue won with a tie-breaker over Vickie, both having guessed 12 correctly…] One big disadvantage of living in Asia is that we do not get a lot of the hype associated with the movies nor do we get a chance to see a lot of them in the theaters, certainly not prior to the Academy award telecast. [Though, The Hurt Locker is coming now, and as I was walking through the Causeway Bay station on my way to work about an hour after the end of the live telecast in Los Angeles, I saw the poster for it and it says winner of 6 Academy Awards – that was fast! (On second thought the sign is in Chinese so I suppose the “6 blahblahblah 9” could mean something else…)] On the other hand one of the big advantages is that we have almost all of the movies (save for foreign films, documentaries, and shorts – far too, what? Too cultural? I don’t know…) on DVD thanks to our very industrious pirated entertainment industry. So, among us we had seen a pretty significant number of the films up for awards.
It made for a very lively discussion (along with whether or not my neighbor, now living in Saigon would vie to defend his impressive win (21 of 24) from last year, via the interwebs. (He did not…) Sue was sure Mo’Nique would win, Vickie and Andre had their money on Sandra, I knew this would be the year The Dude would Abide, Jerry was simply convinced that Avatar was not good enough for a Best Picture win, but conceded that it might… We vacillated between The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Coraline lot about the animated features, which in hindsight was kind of lame since, as Neil Gaiman pointed out, when one of the cartoons is also nominated for Best Picture, it is probably going to get the nod in the Animated Feature category. Personally, I was totally pulling for the regional flavors in the documentaries and I didn’t get either with Burma VJ or China’s Unnatural Disaster.
In general, the whole spectacle is just an excuse for a party and a chance to banter on pop culture phenoms. I have always loved the Oscars and I am not entirely sure why. The telecasts can be terribly tedious, the hosts can be painful, the politics too much or not enough, and the Red Carpet interviewers (hosts?) generally make me want to punch something. But still, I love it. The clothes, the couples and the speeches.
Oh, and the “In Memoriam” part always makes me cry. Serious. This year they did not include Farrah Fawcett and some people were pissed about that, but I am not sure she was ever in a movie, was she? I don’t know, maybe they should have put her in simply because her death got totally overshadowed by MJ. I am always amazed – and saddened in a strange way as I certainly do not know any of these people – when I watch this segment. I guess it serves to remind me of the fragility or the inevitability of death. Doesn’t matter if you are a SuperStar or drive a big fancy car…
Brief and wondrous.
And in the spirit of brevity, right after the touching images and voice overs, we’re right back to the best and worst dressed. As I mentioned, not “watching” the awards live but through various live feeds (this year substantially bolstered by live Twitter feeds from a variety of sources, most notably the aforementioned Neil Gaiman) I saw mostly still images. I thought Sandra Bullock, Rachel McAdams and Penelope Cruz looked stunning. Nicole Richie! No idea why she was there, but she looked amazing. JLo <– WTF? Demi Moore was making it work and Charlize Theron could probably not look bad if she tried… oh wait, she actually did try once, but not here, though her dress was totally boobie-centric. Not interested in the dudes, sorry – all looked the same-ish. Oh, except RDJ, he always brings it and his wife’s dress was AWESOME. Kate Winslet looked hot too… why is everyone always on her case? The Grande Dames were working it too… Helen and Meryl FTW.
Everyone was loving on Cameron Diaz and Zoe Saldana… I am not sold. And that Twilight girl – gack. Oh, and SJP? The color was ace, but, um… yeah. And could someone please tell me what Whiney Cyrus is doing at the Oscars? On that note, Kathy Ireland? I tripped right back to 1986 on that note. Mariah Carey… eeewwwww. This link pretty much indicates that I do not share my taste with the majority of people polled. Good thing I don’t care. And these links are more interesting.
After the fashion brigade, I like to contemplate the books or stories that I would like to see make it to the big screen. And there are a few. Of course the much mentioned Steig Larsson books would be a good time (the Swedes already made them for T.V. I think), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie would be very good, or Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn – I would like to see some modern Native American young-adult stories. And one that I have been contemplating as a great screen play for some time now is The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. On a semi-realted note, I am hoping to go to see Junot Diaz next Tuesday in Hong Kong when he delivers a talk as part of the Man Hong Kong Literary Festival.
Would that I were a screen play writer…
Brief and wondrous sounds okay, for a day: at the Academy, followed by a party at Morton’s…