Much in the same endearing fashion of last year's Academy Awards telecast, the 82nd awards show was brimming with articulate material and thoughtful execution. For example, take a look at the presentation for the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. Rather than simply reading the names of the nominees, each onstage presenting thespian takes the time to explain the work of the nominated actor and the significance of that moment in their career. Or how about James Taylor's live musical accompaniment to the "In Memoriam" montage? Ben Stiller stole the comedic spotlight away from the night's hosts (Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin) when he came out looking like one of the blue aliens from James Cameron's gargantuan "Avatar."
The radiant Kathryn Bigelow made Oscar history by becoming the first woman to win the coveted Best Director prize for the masterful "The Hurt Locker." A win that was hinted at with her DGA (Directors Guild of America) award some weeks ago.
Some of the night's biggest surprises include:
-"The Hurt Locker's" Mark Boal trumping over Quentin Tarantino's screenplay for "Inglourious Basterds" (though I predicted that here)
-Geoffrey Fletcher earned a refreshing win with his adapted screenplay for "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire." Pundits had Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner picked (they won the Golden Globe after all) for "Up In The Air."
-On that note, "Up In The Air" was completely shut out, walking home empty handed.
-Critical darlings "A Prophet" (France) and "The White Ribbon" (Germany) losing to Argentina's "The Secret In Their Eyes" for the Best Foreign Film Oscar was a definite shocker.
-The utterly inexplicable win of Best Cinematography for "Avatar." Roger Ebert's reaction is fitting: "Wasn't much of the image creation done inside computers with CGI? Yes, the cinematographer had to fill needless scenes of actors before green screens, but the cinematography in “Inglourious Basterds” and “The White Ribbon” was so much more impressive."
Finally, many might consider "The Hurt Locker" winning Best Picture an "upset"--but anyone who knows and appreciates movies can tell you that it was a deserved win. "Avatar" is a theme-park ride disguised as an "epic." Plus, haven't we seen "Avatar" years ago? (Note: Watch the trailer below for reference)
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