18 January, 2010

2010 Oscars: Been There, Done That

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Well, after watching the Golden Globe Awards ceremonies last evening, I had the distinct feeling: who needs the Oscars? I've already seen the winning films, directors and actors and heard their acceptance speeches. The Oscar ceremony, which is not scheduled until six weeks from now, seems quite besides the point. Except for the fashion ("who are you wearing?" is the question of the moment), I am imagining that last night's Golden Globe winners will be simply re-doing their "best of" acceptance speeches at the Kodak Theater on March 7.

Of course, it may not be so. And in one major category, I do think that the Globes will not be an indicator of the eventual winner (I am banking on Kathryn Bigelow for her outstanding work on the Iraq war drama THE HURT LOCKER, rather than James Cameron, the uber-director of the populist AVATAR, who won Best Director honors last evening).

Aside from that.....the highlights of the Oscar evening were already played out last evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. AVATAR should get the nod for Best Picture based on its technological innovation and its astounding international boxoffice. Jeff Bridges, who has become the odds-on favorite for Best Actor for his turn as a washed-up country music singer in CRAZY HEART, will again thank his father (Lloyd Bridges) for introducing him and his fellow thespian brothers to the world of show biz. Sandra Bullock, an industry favorite and this year's ka-ching box office queen, will again quip about how Julia Roberts turned down the role of the Southern matriarch in THE BLIND SIDE, which gave her a chance to chew the scenery in a role that is "outside my comfort zone".

Mo'Nique, whose channeled the mother from hell in the urban drama PRECIOUS, will have her mascara running as she tearfully thanks the two men in her life: her husband/manager and the film's director Lee Daniels. Christoph Waltz, the German character actor whose turn as a sadistic Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's INGLORIOUS BASTERDS has suddenly given him Hollywood clout, will again publicly wonder what he is doing there, in the company of the world's most famous personalities.

Michael Haneke will again exhibit a mix of European arrogant reserve and playful incredulity as he picks up the Best Foreign Language Film prize for the austere German drama THE WHITE RIBBON. Jason Reitman, the writer/director enfant terrible whose UP IN THE AIR has captured the zeitgeist of an America down on its luck, will dutifully thank his father, comedy director Ivan Reitman, for his artistic inspiration and his family loyalty. And even the evening's starriest presenter, the ever eternal Sophia Loren, will simply be a revivalist re-do come Oscar night.

So, perhaps the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences might see this as an opportunity to cut down on the ridiculous cost of mounting the Oscar extravaganza and simply replay the Golden Globe ceremonies. That way, the multi millions that are saved could be used for some other more pressing giving bankers a year-end salary bonus or, God forbid, helping the people of Haiti rebuild their country.

But this, of course, will never happen.....the Oscar industry (of fashion, borrowed jewelry, hair and make up, television advertising revenues, et al) is just too much of an addiction for the town to shake the habitual habit of Oscar speculation and the crowning of our celebrity kings and queens. And with several more awards ceremonies to come between now and Oscar night, the Oscars themselves could appear to be a tired rerun and secondhand spectacle. The Golden Globes got there first......

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