Academy Awards Recap 2010

3/08/2010 Posted by Admin

Academy Awards Recap

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

With the Oscars over and done with, awards season is over, and what a memorable one it has been. So, who went home with the biggest award in Hollywood?

For the most part, the 2010 Academy Awards were pretty by-the-book. The show started out with our typical opening musical number, performed here by Neil Patrick Harris. It was a traditional but charming opener to an entertaining (if a bit predictable) Oscar night. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin started out with a bang and made pretty excellent hosts overall--perhaps not quite as out there and darkly humorous and Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes hosting job, but certainly amusing nonetheless. They have a great rapport and Martin especially knows exactly how to entertain a large crowd.

So let's get right into it--who won? To start, the technical awards pretty much went as expected, with Best Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing (the latter two of which got an especially nice presentation which explained the job of films sound technicians) going to "The Hurt Locker," Visual Effects, Art Direction and Cinematography going to "Avatar," and Best Makeup going to "Star Trek," and Best Costume Design going to "The Young Victoria." Ben Stiller turned out to be one of the funniest presenters when he appeared onstage for the Best Makeup award made up as a Na'vi from "Avatar" and spouting out gibberish to James Cameron in the audience.

A couple breaks from the awards came in the show for the traditional honorary segments, one of which honored the underappreciated genre of the Horror movie (presented, oddly, by Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner of "Twilight"). Another featured a large group of dancers performing to the multiple Best Original Score nominees, which was interesting, if a bit out of place in the context of the show. One of the best moments of the night came when Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick came out to honor the late John Hughes, and then every cast member of "The Breakfast Club" as well as Macauley Culkin came onstage to do the same. It was a sweet and suitable tribute to the outstanding and groundbreaking filmmaker.

One of the biggest surprises of the night came with the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film going to "The Secret in Their Eyes," coming out on top despite most people expecting the win to almost definitely go to either "A Prophet" or "The White Ribbon." Not as surprising was "Up" taking home both the award for Best Animated Film and Best Original Score, which brought composer Michael Giachinno his first Academy Award. He gave one of the best speeches of the night. Short but sweet, he simply told every child out there interested in doing something creative to never give up even when they're told it's a waste of time.

Best Documentary went to "The Cove," certainly one of the most critically acclaimed docs of 2009, but most surprising to me was seeing that one of its directors was none other than Fisher Stevens, who I've known since the age of four or five as one of the villains in the oft-despised 1993 "Super Mario Bros." film adaptation.

The acting awards went pretty much as expected. Mo'Nique and Christoph Waltz took the supporting performance awards, quite deservedly, I'd say, for "Precious" and "Inglourious Basterds," respectively. Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock received the awards for best leading performance, and though I wouldn't really call either of them the best performances of the year, the best actor award often tends to be a more career-spanning achievement, which seemed to be the case here. Bridges especially is an immense talent who has deserved the award for decades. His film, "Crazy Heart," also won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

The screenplay awards went to Mark Boal ("The Hurt Locker") for Best Original and Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious") for Best Adapted. I was pretty disappointed to see "In the Loop" and "Inglourious Basterds" lose, but I suppose they could've lost to worse.

The big announcements came right at the end and in a row--"The Hurt Locker," which won four Oscars earlier in the night, took home both Best Picture and Best Director, right under James Cameron's nose, and Kathryn Bigelow, the humble director, was rightfully emotional. Not only is she the first female director to win the award, but such a small film beat all odds and managed to beat the highest grossing film of all time and the general frontrunner for both awards, "Avatar." You could just see the surprise on Cameron's face. Bigelow was in tears as she accepted both awards (joined by screenwriter and producer Mark Boal and the cast for the Best Picture award), and she dedicated her award to all of those fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else in the world. I won't say "The Hurt Locker" was my favorite to win, but I certainly couldn't think of a more pleasing and feel-good winner. Kathryn Bigelow has been working a long time, and her very impressive direction made "The Hurt Locker" one of the best war films in ages.

So, despite it being a rather predictable night, it was still pretty enjoyable and it was nice to see a collection of mostly deserving wins compared to last year's rather underwhelming ones.

Now that awards season is all said and done, what do you think went criminally unnoticed? Who deserved the big prize--"Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglourious Basterds" or something entirely different?

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