Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Oscar Winners 2009

The 81st Academy Awards Ceremony took place on Sunday.

Although not all reviews appear on here, this was the first time ever that I had seen every major film (except Doubt) and felt like I could legitimately whinge about the results if I was unhappy with them, like usual. But amazingly, the Oscars got it right this year! I was chuffed with all of the winners – except Best Actor – and loved seeing the Brits kicking ass across the board.

One slight grumble, however, with the BBC. I was well looking forward to watching the ceremony live but the BBC weren’t showing it. Sky Movies Premiere was the only channel showing it at 4am and I haven’t subscribed to that. Annoying. Anyway…

Here are the winners and my thoughts:

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Happy days! Slumdog repeated its success at the Globes and BAFTAs by taking away the top prize. I still can’t believe a British feel-good film triumphed at the Oscars. Let’s hope this is the start of something new.

Best Director
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant – Milk

Danny Boyle is a legend. He has mastered all genres with genius camerawork, visual gags and grade-A soundtracks. And he is British. Well deserved.

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Tragedy strikes. This was the only category that got it wrong. Mickey Rourke should have won this hands-down, trailed by Langella. Unfortunately, it’s hardly surprising that America gave it to their golden boy Penn – especially as he was playing a liberal American politician.

Best actress
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Melissa Leo - Frozen River
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader

Winslett wins it. Finally! Great speech too. I loved the whistle from her Dad.

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin - Milk
Robert Downey Jr - Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road

This was only ever going to be Heath. The sad fact is, had he not died, he would never have received this award, even though he deserved it a thousand times over. The Academy would never have recognised a comic book film otherwise. The performance would have been dismissed, just as Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow had been dismissed in 2003.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams – Doubt
Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Taraji P Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Cruz – a very watchable and sexy performance. She breathes electrifying bohemian energy into Woody Allen’s film by storming in half-way through, splashing paint, ranting in Spanish, firing guns and snogging Scarlett Johannsen.

Best Animated Feature Film
Kung Fu Panda

Wall-E. Pixar’s new greatest film.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

I’ve not read any of the original books but nicely done Slumdog.

Best Original Screenplay
In Bruges
Frozen River

Milk. I wish it had been Wall-E.

Best Song
Slumdog Millionaire – O Saya
Slumdog Millionaire – Jai Ho
Wall-E – Down To Earth

Slumdog. Standard.

Best Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog again. Quality soundtrack. You wouldn’t expect anything else from Danny Boyle.


In short, a very good year.

And it was a great time to force myself to see every Oscar-nominated film. This has been the most intense cinema-going two months I’ve ever had and it has really reminded me all over again of why I’m such a film-obsessive.

Same time next year then!


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