on the oscars 2009

Posted: February 23, 2009 in All and Sundry

slumdogsean-pennthis morning, i woke up really early than usual to watch the abs-cbn telecast of the 81st academy awards (oscars). i was so groggy at first that i almost decided to climb up the stairs to my room to get some more shut-eye. but when i saw hugh jackman enter the stage, i knew that i should deal with my lethargic state as i wanted to determine whether he was a good choice for host or not. as usual, hugh jackman didn’t disappoint me. he sung and danced and proved to be equally entertaining as his predecessors. even the number with ann hathaway had a cutesy charm to it that made me smile. shirley mclaine was right, ann can sing.

so far, the entire show was well conceptualized. it had a very celebratory and shall i say, salutatory mood to cinema and filmmaking, reason why i believe it is befitting for slumdog millionaire to win best picture. the movie won awards in very important categories such as, best director, best film editing (!), best cinematography (!)best musical score, best sound mixing, among others–important ingredients that make a good motion picture. of course, the ensemble of actors and actresses were a powerful bunch. but sometimes, it is often forgotten that a movie is more than just characters and story. it is also about post-production , a very crucial stage in the filmaking process indeed. and all these ingredients should work well together aesthetically to transform the story into a powerful one, a story that an audience can connect with. that i think is where the screenwriter of slumdog exhibited his brilliance and so he won the best adapted screenplay award. after all, film is really about storytelling through sight, sound, and motion. which brings me to how commendable the film editing of slumdog is, as it also goes well with the sound montage often used in the film.

it is in creating relatable characters that benjamin button failed to do. when i watched the movie, i found it difficult to consistently connect with any of the characters. not even benjamin button whom i am supposed to root for, hate, or pity. and if may be controversial (sorry benjamin fans), it was like a one-note performance of the movie, and all i felt throughout was an amalgam of indifference and emotional ambivalence. as audience, i am placed as outsider to this world that is slowly unfolding before me. and in the end, all i can say was, “oh is that it?”

image grabbed from oscar.com

image grabbed from oscar.com

which isn’t how i felt when i watched rachel getting married. i do believe this movie should have received an oscar nomination. or how i reacted to leonardo di caprio in revolutionary road. sorry to brad pitt fans out there but he really did rely on the cgi and not his acting. i think leo should have been nominated in brad’s place.

as for the other winners, i’m very pleased. all my guesses were right. i wanted danny boyle to win and he did. i cried when penelope received her trophy and showed her gratitude to pedro aldomovar. that was a touching moment and goes to show how penelope really is in touch of her roots. i screamed when seann penn won best actor. i mean really, i was so happy. i saw all the oscar nominated films this year, and as i have blogged before, seann is better than all the other actors. the performance was excellent as always.

as for kate, dear kate, yes i almost whimpered when i saw mama meryl because she was superb in doubt. but you kate winslet deserves the trophy this year. and you remembered to thank anthony and sydney, two memorable artists who gave us good movies over the last decade.

but then again, i was really anticipating a few memorable oscar lines–quotable quotes from speeches. surprisingly, there were a few this year, i wonder why. i kind of felt a bit emotional when that indian sound mixer while receiving his award mentioned that he came from a country that starts with a word, which is silence, and more silence, and that word is OHM. i understood the irony of that statement. yet, no matter how profound that statement is, it was overshadowed by sean penn’s political rant towards the end of his acceptance speech. i appreciated sean for doing that, yet i also felt like it was too cliche for comfort. but knowing sean, it’s probably not as he has always been outspoken about politics and other debates concerning his country.

but the most memorable statement for me so far was the acceptance speech of the director of the japanese film “departure,” which won best foreign film. the man spoke in calculated short english sentences and ended with: “we will be back. i hope.”

and so to end this long oscar entry, i’d like to say ann hathaway gets a best dressed nod from me for carrying perfectly two gorgeous dresses. the armani prive gown she wore on the red carpet looked marvelous on her. and not only that, she wore another dress during the show that really caught my attention. when she stood up to sing with hugh jackman, i literally gasped at the sight of her. (still searching for pictures of that dress). sophia loren gets a grade of 5.0 or fail for a gown that looks like cake trimmings. and kudos to tilda swinton for creating that classic yet edgy vibe with her two-piece number: a draped blouse and a black satin skirt by Lanvin. i would definitely wear something like that in a heartbeat.

congratulations to everyone. 🙂

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