Monday, February 23, 2009

81st Annual

7:15pm For the past 30 years, Dodie and I have selected our dates for the Oscars. We have never negotiated rules for this, but I think I can state them: must be a real living person. I think that is the scope of it.

What is sad – and shocking, if you know us at all – is that we have never documented this list, and now our selections of the past are lost to us. An assortment of Mark Hamills, and Parker Stevensons, Alan Rickman (her) and George Clooney (me). She goes for arm candy and mouth-feel. I like a network that will get me to the best parties.

This year, I have chosen Ben Affleck, because I am annoyed by the Best Picture nominees and I want someone who will sit in the back with me and snark on people. I am done DONE with frame-stories and voiceover. Learn to write a screenplay, would you people? Benjamin Shoot-Me-Now actually has TWO frame stories – 3 if you count Julia Ormond repeating Cate Blanchett’s retelling of Brad Pitt, because the both of them mumble and she is the most comprehensible. Tell the story – don’t tell me you are telling me the story.

And whatever happened to narrative build? Is everything now just a series of scenes so we can feel like we are channel flipping even if we stay in the same movie theatre?

I am ranting this now while Barbara Walters tries to humanize Mickey Rourke. He has never been as golden as he was in Diner. Now Barbara is telling us the story of Mickey telling his own story through the Wrestler…because he doesn’t believe in therapy. (And it shows.)

Look, I am going to need some snacks before we get underway, and I expect to stop periodically to empty the work Inbox (155, but most of them can be deleted in a swoop). But I will check in throughout the night, as you have come to expect. I post after the fact rather than in real time because
1) I don’t have TV and internet in the same room and
Well, that’s pretty much it.

My predictions – you have my word these will not be altered – at 7:45pm

Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz. Because Marisa has already won for Hooker with a Heart of Gold. This is the next best thing. Plus, Woody Allen's supporting actresses have a good track record.

Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger. By a landslide. Not so much for his Jack Nicholson Joker impression, but for the lost potential.

Actress – Kate Winslet. Because I want it

Actor – Sean Penn. I am really guessing here, but most people respect Sean Penn, and knew Harvey Milk.

Director – Danny Boyle. Whatever else the film is or isn’t, it was complicated to make, and it doesn’t look like it.

Best Picture - Slumdog Millionaire. So says the buzz. I don’t find it Best in Show worthy, but it is not amateur by any means. I have script and pacing objections, but it is no travesty if it wins. Benjamin Button is a travesty. Frost/Nixon is a popularity contest, but Ron Howard is a much better film maker than this. The Reader has the Holocaust edge, and is also a good film, a few things we haven’t seen before (creepy disturbing things) but too much we have. Milk you have heard my speech about. If you know nothing about Harvey Milk, you will be riveted and moved. If you do, you will recognize where you have seen this all before. But this is about the Academy. And the buzz says Slumdog.

By the way, if you didn’t see The Reader, Hugh Jackman lap dancing Barbara Walters gives you the picture.

8:38 Standing O for Wolverine. See how Hollywood does not, in fact take itself at all seriously? Your annual company meeting should be so fun.

Angelica Houston is still a man. A twitchy…broad-shouldered man.

Does it seem like the writing has gotten better? Or better delivered?

PENELOPE CRUZ. I am brilliant.

9:15pm Let me reiterate my tirade. This ceremony has more narrative flow than most of this year’s nominees.

I have not commented on Ben Stiller because I can’t imagine what in the world that was all about.

9:50 Production Awards are nearly done. Not one song has been performed, which is a little strange. Does this mean a big montage in our future?

And right on cue…one arrives. Do you think the rest of Destiny’s Child get together to watch and speculate about Beyonce’s pact with the devil? I don’t think Lady Marmalade is from a movie musical. Is it?

Entertainment Weekly had better be able to explain PS Hoffman’s knit cap.

HEATH LEDGER. That one was a gimme.

11pm. If you have just found yourself drawn to AR Rahman, rent the documentary Salaam: Bombay Dreams, the making-of Bombay Dreams. He is adorable, and put up against the Andrew Lloyd Weber machine, you will love him all the more.

Did Hyundai buy these ad spots in bulk?
By the way, if you were channel flipping, NBC was showing “100 Outrageous Home Videos,” 3 of which featured people being humped by animals – wild and domestic – in the 2 minutes I viewed.

DANNY BOYLE. Three-for-three.

And this show will indeed come in on time. Which means the music awards will probably be consolidated from now forward. But I do miss the acting clips.

Who is watching Brangelina’s kids?

KATE WINSLET. She could almost make me forget Jodie. Almost.

SEAN PENN. Folks, I keep telling you. I am not new here. Look at that ovation. Jury of his peers indeed.

11:47pm Of course if I get the Big One wrong it will be punishment for this cockiness. But I don’t think that I will.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I didn’t. I don’t mind telling you, I am very pleased with myself.

See you at the movies.


  1. Wow! You've got the skills! Nice calls. Guess I should try to see some of these movies. Last week I was sick; now it's J's turn. Very sad. Off to school with me. --Dr. A.

  2. Well played, Mrs. Bender, well played. I enjoyed this Oscars more than any in recent years and I haven't even seen a single nominated picture... oops except Wall-E and that was, in fact. with you and Liam.

    Now I must go as Shea has dumped his bowl of goldfish in front of Lily to test her will. I can tell you this... her will is not strong.

  3. ben stiller started out funny, then turned totally weird....very much like joaquin phoenix is coming across (funny then weird when he starts with the attitude). it did kind of all fall apart on poor ben, but maybe it was supposed to?
    lady marmalade is from moulin rouge, which i still don't consider a real musical since all the songs were covers. but, baz lurman put together that whole spectacular spectacular last night, so he couldn't ignore his own show. but, the whole medley was pieced together so badly, very much like that crazy ass moulin rouge!!! so, i guess i wasn't surprised. it was an interesting turn, though, considering the recession themed intro, then leading into the mid show circus. and did you think the addition of those mamma mia and high school musical kids was a little weird? they blended in with the back up dancers.
    we should have live blogged together. figure out how to do that for next year. i would make a much better date than affleck!
    way to go on your 100% accuracy!!! i'm verrrry impressed. :):)


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