Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oscar aftermath: Highs, lows & predictions

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:03 PM

The Highs:

1. The hilarious Judd Apatow-penned skit in which Seth Rogen and James Franco, reprising their Pineapple Express roles, watched the Oscar-nominated films under the influence.

2. The passionate acceptance speech by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

3. The passionate acceptance speech by Milk star Sean Penn. "Commie, homo-loving sons of guns" — perfect.

4. The opening production number. Hugh Jackman proved himself an affable and acceptable host.

The Lows:

1. Ben Stiller's spoof of Joaquin Phoenix. Stiller's usually a funny guy, but this comic sketch fell flat.

2. The segment honoring the industry heavyweights who passed away over the last 12 months. This annual tribute is usually a highlight, but the awful camerawork sunk it this time around, with some angles (and distances) so extreme that it was often hard to make out who was being remembered.

3. The presentation of the acting categories. While it doubtless was nice for the nominees to be praised by their colleagues, this felt like overkill. Besides, I really missed the usual clips of the nominated performances.

4. Bill Maher's well-intentioned but clumsy intro to the Best Documentary category. Plus, it's always cringe-worthy when a person whines about their own film (in his case, Religulous) not being nominated.

The Predictions:

In the eight major categories, I went 8-for-8. Overall, I went 21-for-24, missing Best Foreign Language Film, Best Sound Editing and Best Live Action Short. Of course, when the Academy gets into its "sweep" mentality, as it did with Slumdog Millionaire, that makes the job all that much easier.

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