As far as predictions go, I did pretty well. Only seven wrong! Sandra Bullock got Best Actress instead of Gabourey Sidibe, Avatar and The Hurt Locker were vice versa as far as Cinematography and Editing went, Geoffrey Fletcher's Precious screenplay triumphed over Up in the Air. China's Unnatural Disaster lost Best Short Documentary to Music for Prudence. And both sound categories did go to one movie...but to The Hurt Locker.
So, some highlights and lowlights.
-Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have real chemistry. Their banter didn't always work, but when it did, it was on, baby!
-The director of Oscar-winning short doc Music for Prudence, Roger Ross Williams, was giving a heartfelt thank you speech, looking genuinely touched as he took the beauty of the moment in. He was soon interrupted by a random woman who I thought must have been the other director, who upon taking the stage talked right over him, shouldered her way in front of the mic, and talked about differences and credit where credit is due. Then pointed out that Prudence was in the audience, which was neat. By that moment, however, everything was already weird, with Williams looking downright uncomfortable.
Apparently, this woman was producer Elinor Burkett, and she and Williams have been fighting since production on the film. Williams says Burkett qualified as a producer, but walked out on the film; Burkett claims that Williams has been purposely keeping her out of the loop and tried to take her Oscar glory. I think Burkett is behaving like an uppity bitch, and she should probably grow up. This was not classy, not classy at all.
-Man, I hope more people are talking about Sandy Powell's Oscar acceptance speech. Highlight if the night, for me. From the shrugging-off of, "Um, I already have two of these" to her saying that contemporary designers are unfairly overlooked, and so her Oscar belongs to them, "but I'm still taking it home with me." There was nothing about that speech I didn't like. It's the kind of thing I always want to hear from inevitable winners.
-So, they cut the Original Song performances so as to make all categories equal, right? This is what I thought. But then they have give those performances to Original Score, with a group of breakdancers tearing it up to the nominated compositions. One of my friends described it as "a messy, backalley [sic] abortion". God, what an awful, awful sight. The dancing did not go with the music at all, and this alone convinced me that Adam Shankman should never again be put in charge of the Oscars. What was this, revenge for Hairspray getting a straight snub two years ago?
-In addition to that, we had the twenty-minute actors showcase. Following last years tribute from previous winners approach, we got five actors with a connection to the nominees. Oprah, who helped to get Precious distributed, spoke to Gabourey; Forest Whitaker, who directed Hope Floats, spoke to Sandra. And it was preceded by a montage of the actors' performances. And when it was all over, in came another presenter to read out the nominees again, and finally present the statue. I thought it was tedious, and ridiculous when you consider that they only did this for the lead categories. Shankman's purported "all categories are equal" approach wasn't just smoke; it was an outright lie.
-Geoffrey Fletcher's surprise win for adapted screenplay for Precious was incredible. Not only was it a shocker, leaving Up in the Air completely empty-handed...but his speech was fantastic. True, he may not have said much, but the emotion, the heartfelt sincerity of his being humbled, was beautiful. Then when he finally apologized for drawing a blank and thanked everyone...awesome.
-Mo'Nique is now an Oscar-Winning Actress. Though inevitable, it was still a joyous moment. I love when she thanked the Academy "for making it about the performance, instead of the politics." Truth, baby, truth. My one twinge of disappointment: although she thanked "the Precious team" as a whole, she really should have thanked Lee Daniels individually. Maybe she did on the thank-you cam.
-Kathryn Bigelow became the first female to win Best Director. When The Hurt Locker also won Best Picture, we got a truly cinematic moment. For a brief second, we saw backstage as Kathryn stopped midstride and was told to go back, her movie just won! It was such a stunningly real moment.
-When the show ended at exactly midnight, Steve Martin quipped that "The show was so long, Avatar now takes place in the past." But hasn't it run much, much later before? This seemed like the most rushed Oscars on record. Too rushed, if you ask me.
-What, no visuals for Best Cinematography? Who dropped the ball on that one?