Monday, February 23, 2009

2008 Academy Awards

Last night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held it's 81st annual award ceremony, at the Kodak Theater, right here in Los Angeles, technically the district of Hollywood. At the intersection of Hollywood and Highland to be exact. I always find this particularly annoying as the Metro Red Line (LA's version of a New York subway), is not allowed to stop at the Hollywood & Highland Station every Oscar night, even if that is where you were going. If you're trying to get to Hollywood and Highland on Oscar night using the Red Line, it won't happen. You'll stop at the Hollywood and Vine station thinking, "Boy, I'll get off at the very next station and then I'll be right there," but the train won't stop. It will rush right by that station, and you'll be standing on the train with your mouth hanging open, and pretty soon you'll find yourself in North Hollywood where no one wants to go (I'm allowed to say that because I once lived there. My sister, mom and dad too).

I mean really. Let's say you're an environmentally conscience couple, such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. What better way to be a national role model than to forgo the gas guzzling limo, take the Red Line and pop out of the Hollywood/Highland Metro Station right on to the red carpet? But Noooo, The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority won't let you do that because they closed the whole damn station!

But I digress.

As I often do.

Wolverine/Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) hosted, doing a wonderful job in my opinion (who knew X-People could sing and dance). He finally called out Meryl Streep for her blatant use of steroids to secure her record 15th Academy acting nomination. It's about time as far as I'm concerned. Congress should look into steroid use in the entertainment industry.

The lovely and talented Penelope Cruz won for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Vicky Christina Barcelona," another Woody Allen sex fantasy acted out for our viewing pleasure. It just so happens that I watched this movie about three hours before the ceremony began, so I was very familiar with her performance, and agree, she was extremely deserving, although she beat out my favorite, the lovely and talented Taraji P Henson, the best thing about the film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Heath Ledger became the second actor to win an Academy Award posthumously (Peter Finch being the first, for 1976's "Network"), for his remarkable creation, The Joker, probably the most menacing screen villain since last year's Anton Chigurh, portrayed by Javier Bardem, and before that Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter.

The lovely and talented Sean Penn won out over what most thought (I certainly did) was a sure win for Micky Rourke's performance in "The Wrestler." Sean was kind enough to pay tribute to Rourke at the end of his acceptance speech. Very magnanimous of him considering Micky had a tendency to insult him in the run up to the show.

Jerry Lewis won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his decades long advocacy for children with muscular dystrophy. And my god, he's lost a lot of weight (possibly do to declining health, I'm sorry to say). The last time I saw him on one of the late night talk shows, I swear to Christ I thought he was fooling around and wearing a fat suit. Although I've never been a fan of his brand of humor, I wish him the best, and congratulate him for this honor, which he richly deserves.

Danny Boyle, an Englishman, won for Best Director, for his picture about India, "Slumdog Millionaire," which went on to win the Best Picture award (which always makes sense to me, being that the director has total (or should have) artistic responsibility for the over all movie, hence, if the director wins, the picture should logically follow). Not bad for a guy whose last major success was a zombie movie ("28 Days Later").

I think everyone would agree that the biggest surprise of the evening was The Dark Knight's win over Wall-E in the sound editing category. I lost 20 bucks on that one.

And finally, although I have always been a huge fan of Kate Winslet, and she certainly deserved the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in "The Reader," (I watched that film directly after the Academy show to make sure she deserved it (you may ask how I can view these movies that have not been offered commercially yet as DVD's. Ask away), I have to admit I was rooting for Anne Hathaway, just because she is so pretty. And talented. I'm going to watch "Rachel Getting Married," tonight just to make sure she should have won. And for a girl who was 11 years old when he died, she does a mean Nixon impression.

Annie, you can victory sign me any day.

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