Golden Boy

All of us survived the Oscars Marathon.  Olaina and I actually stayed for all five.  There was a good 45 minutes break between Ben Button and Slumdog Millionaire.  We all had a wonderful time.

I still like Slumdog Millionaire best.  An FB friend raised a question of Slumdog being overrated and that there are better screenplays out there that should win.  I agree with him on that.  Lord knows how the Academy votes this year.  Are they looking at the craftsmanship?  That case, Benjamin Button should take the cake for the epic scale.  Screenplay and directing? Perhaps Frost/Nixon should win for that.  Overall excellence plus the effects on your emotions? Slumdog should be the winner for the fact that I was completely lost in the movie.

Will I be disppointed if Ben Button took the cake tonight? Yes and no. It’s a superbly crafted film. But N’awleans doesn’t have my heart the way Mumbai does.  So I’m sticking with my choice even if I’m completely wrong about it.

Sean Penn carries Milk through. I don’t think this movie would’ve survived anywhere without him.  He’s the only well known actor out of this five that truly disappears.  Ditto Emile Hirsch and Josh Brolin.  I kept slipping that I was watching a documentary until someone else showed up to remind me that it wasn’t.

The Reader left me pondering my own morality afterward.  You can shoot me now but I was rooting for Hanna and hating Michael for not being a man he needed to be.  You can also shoot me for agreeing with Hanna’s explanation of why she did what she did.  However, unlike Milk, I still see Kate shining through Hanna.  But yes, it was a very raw performance.

Benjamin Button is excellent.  It’s a lot like Forrest Gump and instead of being “stupid”, it’s aging backward.  Taraji Henson is wonderful, and I think someone should’ve given Cate Blanchett an award too.  Brad Pitt’s performance, however, isn’t mind blowing to me.  It feels like watching Legends of the Fall all over again.  Ah, the glory and yumminess that is Brad Pitt!  To quote Daisy, he’s “perfection” here.  And THAT distracts from what the movie is supposed to be.  I can see this movie being a much better one if it’s someone else not on the list for the Sexiest Man Alive.  Seriously.

You already know my stand on Slumdog Millionaire.  It’s a jubilant film, that’s how I describe it.  Beautifully shot. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. I cheered. I gasped.  And the entire theater were doing the same thing more than any of the movies at the marathon.  Both dramatic and serious, and yet funny and has the heart all at the same time.  It’s like a bacon caramel: sounds weird, but it’s the sweet and savory combination that is pure magic and make you want more.  Wow. I just compared a movie to food. Good god.

Finally, Frost/Nixon.  I actually nodded off here and there through this movie, but the bits of screenplay banter I caught were great.  Frank Langella did wonderfully.  I have a hard time connecting with ANY of the characters in this one.  Frost is desparate but I had no sympathy for the man. The girlfriend? WTF is her purpose really?  NOTHING!  And I guess the major disconnect for me is that it’s the part of U.S. history I don’t really care about much.

Here’s my explanation about that.  I came to the U.S. in 1993 for 11th grade, just in time for U.S. history class.  When Forrest Gump came out, I understood most of the relevance.  However, when I came home for the summer, I can’t even find one person who liked the movie.  Nobody really knows that much about American history outside of America to really care, apparently.  Frost/Nixon feels like that to me.  I know about Watergate from history lessons, but I wasn’t all that into it.  I didn’t feel that burning betrayal Americans of the time felt.  I didn’t care about that.  Sure, for some people, this was like a metaphor for George W.’s comeuppance.  But it’s not Dubya on my screen.  I can’t connect with it.  At all.

Now, it’s ballot time.  I’ll update with my statistics after the Oscars.  I actually saw 2 of the nominated documentaries this year.  So the wild guesses are going to the shorts and the foreign films. My prediction in **bold/italic.**

ETA: 58% accuracy this year, kids.  Still off my A game but not quite as bad as last year’s.  I had second thoughts on many of these because my super emotional ties to Slumdog.  And those were the ones that cost me.  Next year, listen to my gut for sure.

BEST PICTURE
Winner: **“Slumdog Millionaire”**

BEST ACTRESS
Winner: **Kate Winslet, “The Reader”**

BEST ACTOR
Winner: **Sean Penn, “Milk”**

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
**Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” **

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: **Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”**

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner: **Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”**

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner: Dustin Lance Black, “Milk
**Marttin McDonagh, “In Bruges”**

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner: **Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”**

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Winner: “Departures” (Japan) – Is everyone as surprised as the entire room?? **“Waltz with Bashir” (Israel)**

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Winner: **“WALL-E”**

BEST ART DIRECTION
Winner: **“The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”**

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner: “Slumdog Millionaire,” Anthony Dod Mantle
**“The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button,” Claudio Miranda**

BEST FILM EDITING
Winner: “Slumdog Millionaire,” Chris Dickens
**“The Dark Knight,” Lee Smith**

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Winner: **“The Duchess,” Michael O’Conner**

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Winner: **“Man on Wire”**

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Winner: “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Jai Ho,” A.R. Rahman
**“WALL-E,” “Down To Earth,” Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman**

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Winner: **“Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman**

BEST MAKEUP
Winner: **“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Colleen Callaghan, Fionagh Cush
**

BEST SOUND EDITING
Winner: “The Dark Knight,” Richard King
**“WALL-E,” Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood**

BEST SOUND MIXING
Winner: “Slumdog Millionaire,” Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
**“WALL-E,” Ben Burtt, Tom Myers, Michael Semanick**

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Winner: **“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Eric Barba**

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Winner: “Spielzeugland (Toyland)”
“Manon on the Asphalt” – And I was going to pick the German sounding one. You know, the holocaust story almost always wins, right?

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Winner: “La Maison en Petits Cubes”
**“Presto”**

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Winner: “Smile Pinki”
“The Final Inch”

1 Comment

  1. Mam   •  

    Hi Oak,

    I saw The Reader and was blown away by Winslet but I also think that David Kross was brilliant,too. I kinda glad that young Michael didnot speake up the true about Hanna…it would have been that other kind of movie ya know…”I’m a hero” BS. Saw the Revolutionary Road. It was a waste of time. Bunch of smoking (I get it… everyone smokes in the 50’s) instead of Emo music.

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