Monday, February 23, 2009

Commie Homo loving sons of guns UNITE!

This week, At the Movies was a rerun of the Bens giving their Oscar predictions. You can read my original review here.

As for the Oscars, the winners were fairly predictable--I think that Ben and Ben guessed every one of the major categories successfully. Which only leaves the question--why did the fake Oscar leak turn out to be so wrong? I don't know, but it shows what can happen when random people set up blogs with timely information and/or criticism that gets more media publicity than it deserves. Except this blog, of course.

As for the show itself, I don't have much to say about it overall other than it came in WELL under the predicted 4 hour time that Ben Lyons was predicting--looks like just under 3 and a half to me. But two things seem worth pointing out--

The Good: Speeches by Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn were both overtly in support of gay rights, at times loud, sensitive, and even somewhat defiantly. Granted, they were talking to a pretty sympathetic crowd--there was no chance that these two were going to be booed like Michael Moore was a few years ago. But considering past years have seen the Academy deny the Oscar to Brokeback Mountain and even show some embarrassment--remember Jon Stewart's opening?--about how out of touch they were with the rest of the country, I consider this a step forward.

The Bad: Long, gushy speeches given to each of the nominees for lead and supporting actor and actresses, although they couldn't be bothered to do the same for writers or even directors. But that's four awards with five noms each resulting in twenty speeches! Not that they all sucked--some of the personal ones were more heartfelt or funny, like De Niro's speech to Penn and Anne Hathaway's teary-eyed appreciation--with a generous off the cuff nod by Shirley MacLaine to her singing abilities. But the speech for Angelina Jolie only showed that nobody was really sure why she was being nominated in the first place. All in all, this is exactly what A. O. Scott was talking about when he said that the Oscars are less about what is the "best" and more about putting on a show about what Hollywood thinks of itself.

The huh?: What happened to Heath Ledger being appreciated in the recently deceased montage? I didn't see him in there--did I just miss it?


Anonymous said...

He died before the 2008 Oscars and was included in that show.

Donnie said...

Yeah, Heath Ledger was in last year's show. I definitely agree on the good and the bad, though I'd also throw Hugh Jackman and the big musical numbers into the good category. Very fun and entertaining.

Anonymous said...

I like the first opening musical skit but the last one was terrible. It reminded me of Baz Luhrmann gone bad and then I found out he directed the skit.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Scott, you really think there is a homosexual backlash in Hollywood? At the Oscars? Really? If anything, actors and films are more likely to be nominated or win when they play gay. Tom Hanks, Transamerica, Milk.

Scott said...

There is no question that there was some reluctance on the part of Hollywood to talk about issues like this a few years ago. It is not as though, to paraphrase Cary Grant, Hollywood went anti-Gay all of a sudden!

But after John Kerry lost the 2004 election there was a definite sense among many liberals (not just Hollywood) that middle America was just not ready for progressive ideas. We'll never know exactly why the Academy voters did not vote for Brokeback, but many people talked openly about Hollywood fearing the rest of the country wasn't ready for a gay movie.

This is proof enough that Hollywood was a bit reluctant. I think now they are much less reluctant and that is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Of course there is a gay backlash. The Children's Hour was the first film to discuss homosexuality and that was in the 1960s. Just about every notable gay character in film was at one point a closeted, self-loathing person who dies tragically mostly because the stories were written by straight people who only read about those people in the news and knew very little about gay people. Sean Penn as Harvey Milk finally gave us a character who just gave the best representation of a gay man, thanks in large part to Dustin Lance Black's screenplay.

Felicity Huffman in Transamerica does not count either. She was playing a he trying to get a sex change to become a woman, her character wasn't gay.

Keep in mind I am straight but I know a lot of people in the community who were so sick of the portrayal of gays in film.

Ranielle said...

I was told that the in memoriam "calendar" for the Oscars is Feb 1-Jan 31. Which is why Ledger and Brad Renfro, who both died in January '08, were included in the 2008 Oscar slideshow, and Roy Scheider, who passed in February '08 (but before the Oscar telecast that year), was included in this year's.

You would think they'd have the same "calendar" as they would for films to qualify. Or maybe that's just me.