Last night was the 80th Annual Academy Awards, better known to one and all as the Oscars. I must say that for once I was pleased with the Oscars. Many of the films and actors I wanted to win did so. There were a few surprises. There was Amy Adams. And this year's ceremony was short as Oscar ceremonies go.
Of course, the big treat for me (well, besides seeing Nicole Kidman and Amy Adams) was watching No Country For Old Men take Best Supporting Actor (for Javier Bardem) Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director (for the fabulous Coen Brothers), and Best Picture. For those of you who read my review of the film, this should come as no surprise. It was easily my favourite film from last year.
In fact, for the most part I have to say I was happy with all the winners this year. This might well be the first Oscars I can say that about! I was very happy to see The Golden Compass win for Best Visual Effects. The movie does have some very dazzling effects, much more so than even Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I was also happy to see La Vie en Rose win in Best Makeup--it must have taken some work to transform Marion Cotillard (who was another high point of the ceremony...) into Edith Piaf. Of course, much of the reason I was so happy that La Vie en Rose won makeup was the alternative...Did any of us want to see Norbit win an Oscar? I was also very happy that "Falling Slowly" from Once won Best Song. I only recently heard the song for the first time (thanks to Beth and YouTube), but it is utterly lovely.
Of course, that brings me to what may have been the best part of the ceremony (even better than Nicole Kidman and Amy Adams). After Glen Hasard of The Frames gave his acceptance speech for winning Best Song, his co-writer Marketa Irglova stepped up to the microphone to say her piece and was drowned out by conductor Bill Conti and the orchestra. I was at Row Three's live Oscar discussion and the reaction was unanimous--we all thought they should have let her speak. Thankfully, after the commercial break, Jon Stewart escorted the shy Miss Irglova out and she gave what was one of the most touching speeches I've ever heard in an Oscar ceremonies. Indeed, I have to say I admire her very, very much. After being drowned out by the orchestra, I would have been very tempted to have been catty about myself!
Another high point in the ceremony was the Lifetime Achievement Award given to production designer Robert F. Burke. I think they really did this one right. Not only was his award presented by the beautiful Nicole Kidman (she can present awards to me any day....), but they treated the audience to a montage of some of his best work. I must confess, I never realised how great Boyle was until I saw those clips from North by Northwest, The Birds, Fiddler on the Roof, and many other films, all together. And he gave the best acceptance speech of the night. I only hope I am that eloquent when I am 98!
Of course, another high point for me was Amy Adams. I enjoyed her performance of "A Happy Working Song" from Enchanted. And I enjoyed seeing her present the award for Best Score. Actually, I enjoyed seeing Amy Adams, period. I have a feeling she is this year's "It" Girl (the guys over at Row Three apparently agree...).
There were some surprises at last night's Oscars, too. I was certain that the Best Supporting Actress award would go to either Ruby Dee for American Gangster or Cate Blanchett for I'm Not There. I was rather surprised when it went to Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton. While I thought she was great in the role, I didn't think she had a chance. I was also surprised at the Best Actress category. I thought for certain that either Julie Christie for Away from Her or Ellen Page for Juno would win. I was rather surprised when Marion Cotillard won for her role in La Vie en Rose. Again, I didn't think she had a chance.
Over all I am very happy with this year's Oscars. True, many of Jon Stewart's jokes fell flat. True, I could have done without that song from August Rush. But in the end it I must confess that most everyone I wanted to win did so. Not to mention I got to look at Amy Adams....