The Oscars

Wow! After the Golden Globes this season, I was a bit worried the proper credit would go to where I felt and thought it should go. Yes, I am talking about the credit the Hollywood Foreign Press lavished on Avatar and James Cameron. And it is not fair that I be biased since I have not seen, even to this day, Avatar. And because I think he is a brilliant storyteller on film. But that might be limited to unpolitical sci-fi and historical epics because I have read the Avatar synopsis, details on the story, and it seems aside from the technological breakthroughs and wonders, it seems like a tired old story with political agendas and a fairy tale ending portraying a person with a disAbility who becomes able bodied. A new twist in the same old fairy tale ending in which he becomes a computer animated able bodied blue alien smurf! I know that smurf crack was a little cheap but I didn’t originate it, I read it from some other reviewers!


But then the Oscar nominations came out and as usual I went right to the categories that I love, screenwriting, directing, and picture! Knowing that Cameron and Avatar won the Golden Globes and giving it that bump at the beginning of the awards season, I worried that it would sweep the entire season ending with the Oscars. Again it is not fair for me to say which is best because I have not seen all the nominees, but I did see and love, “The Hurt Locker.” I felt it was definitely the best picture I had seen in 2009 and wanted to see it get the credit and accolades it deserved but going up against a monster picture with the monster marketing machine of Avatar who had already won the Golden Globes?

But my faith was restored in Hollywood when the Producers Guild of America gave The Hurt Locker the award for best movie of the year, the Writers Guild of America awarded Mark Boal with best original screenplay for the Hurt Locker and then the Directors Guild of America awarded the best to Kathryn Bigelow! The chronology may not be correct because I have a terrible memory and do not feel like Googling it!  


So with all those awards that does give credit to the movie and the people who made it but the biggie, the Oscars! Here it was tonight – 9 award nominations for “The Hurt Locker” and despite the momentum it rightfully took from Cameron and Avatar, there was a little scandal many probably were not aware of (but I get the email
updates from Variety that keep me in the know) but one of the Hurt Locker producers got a hand slap (and banned from attending the show) for submitting a letter asking Academy voters to vote for Hurt Locker and ask their friends to vote for it over the mega-budget and mega-box office successful competition.

 I began watching the red carpet show primarily from my favorite local television network, KTLA channel 5 because I adore Jessica Holmes (and the main reason I watch the 9 o’clock hour of the KTLA Morning Show) who was one of the two doing the red carpet interviews (OK Sam Rubin I will give you props too but Jessica
is just hot, and cute, and sexy, and beautiful and, and, and!) and was thinking how the Oscars in the past usually upset me with their picks for the winners. Well, there is usually some that I agree with and some that I completely disagree with and every year it seems to be different on it being 70-30, 40-60, or 50-50! But as the stars walked and were interviewed, James Cameron came on screen, and despite my animosity toward him from dissing me for two and a half years, his gracious credit he gives to all those who work with him on his productions, and generally speaking about how regardless of who walks away with the awards that they all should feel like winners for being there, you cannot hate him!


On with the Show!

The Oscar show started out good although I was taken aback a little with a Broadway opening song and dance, you cannot help but love Neil Patrick Harris and the song was funny. And the hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin I thought was great compared to the last few years – the best from the past I feel since Billy Crystal.

And then the first award went to Christoph Waltz for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. I agreed that his performance was fantastic in “Inglourious Basterds” and my choice for the award. It continued to go well and when Original Screenplay came up I was a little torn because although Mark Boal won for “The Hurt Locker” which I already mentioned that I loved, I also was pulling for Quentin Tarantino because I love his work and the significance “Pulp Fiction” played in reminding me back in the day it was out in theatres of my passion and dream of being a filmmaker that I had put on the back burner to get a paycheck to pay the bills in 1994 and months before my accident. But still both “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds” were worthy to win the best original screenplay so I cannot complain.

 Later in the show the award for Best Cinematography went to “Avatar” DP, Mauro Fiore. Are you serious? Not that he isn’t an excellent cinematographer, but for “Avatar” which was nearly all done on green screen and animated computer generated images! “Avatar” did win for Best Visual Effects and who can deny that? That award was deserved but this is a little strange for cinematography!


In between those two awards was the award for Best Music/Original Score and I wasn’t too familiar with the nominees until I saw the nominees and the one I certainly recognized was Michael Giacchinio for “Up”.

I am a huge fan of the television series “Alias” which I have all 5 seasons on DVD and re-watch about once every 12-18 months! I took note of some of the bonus features at the end of the Season 2 where they did a featurette about the last episode of that season and JJ Abrams talked about sending the episode over to Michael Giacchinio to do the score and they showed him working on it. I always recognized that his music score on the show was spot on and when I saw how fast he did it – well his talent is amazing. I was thinking how great it would be to get him to score “London Time”.  He has also done two other favorite television shows – which just happen to be JJ Abrams creations as well, “Lost”
and “Fringe (which thank heaven was just picked up for a third season)” and has done movies – interestingly enough for JJ’s helmed “Star Trek” and a few other movies including “Up” which when the envelope was opened – Michael’s name was read! He just won the Academy Award for Best Musical/Original Score.


And while the night would go on to be memorable – to me I think Michael’s acceptance speech was incredible and right on top of the things that were memorable. He did not go through the typical thank you’s – instead he told of how from a young age his parents, teachers and friends all encouraged him to do what he wanted to do.  Nobody told him he couldn’t do it or that it was foolish to chase his dreams, but that he recognized that not everyone has such a support group and that they should know they can and should follow their dreams. It was a great speech and inspired me. I can say, many people in my life, have not been that great of support of my dreams. Nearly all of them think and some will actually say that I am “foolish to chase [my] dreams.” So, thank you, Michael. That was inspiring to me and I mean that above and beyond my desire to have you score my movie! After all, now that you are an Oscar winner, my chances of getting you on my indie film probably shot right out the roof, but I think your work is amazing and after that personal and unconventional acceptance speech you personally are amazing as well.


Best Director

Ok on with the show! Let’s jump to the other ones that I was most interested in! Best Director. Wow, it was great and groundbreaking with the first woman director winning the Oscar and inspiring to me – yes I am man and not a woman but still, Kathryn Bigelow is a wonderful filmmaker and “The Hurt Locker” was another fantastic example of her incredible talent as a director. And as a writer/director with a disAbility, it does give me hope that Hollywood would look upon me and others with a disAbility in this industry will be judge by our talent and work and not by how we are different from them and the past winners. And I must say that James Cameron was gracious as Kathryn was going up on stage he was applauding respectfully and where the cameras could see his hands. Not crazily like the over amphetamine Nancy Pelosi every time President Obama opened his mouth when he addresses Congress, but very dignified, especially since Kathryn
is his ex-wife and competitor for the Best Director of 2009! My congrats to Kathryn Bigelow for winning the DGA and the Oscar for Best Director!


Best Picture

With time having run out, Tom Hanks comes out and immediately opens the envelope for Best Picture, and happily it went to “The Hurt Locker”! A low-budget independent film, that had to find money and then distribution from outside the studio system of Hollywood, comes in and wins the top honors – 6 of the 9 awards it was nominated for. Independent films are still alive in Hollywood! And my faith in the industry is restored! They gave proper credit to the BEST even over their own super high budgeted movies! And finally here was a successful movie about the war on terrorism and I think it was successful because as Collin Farrell said when he introduced the best actor nominee, Jeremy Renner for his role in “The Hurt Locker”. Mr. Farrell said of the movie it was neither right nor left (politically) but about the people, the soldiers involved, and the story of what they had to do. I hope future war movies keep that in mind rather than preach their views about it. Meanwhile, independent films won on this night at the Oscars and that is encouraging. Especially movies like “The Hurt Locker” that are not all about special effects and huge runaway budgets! Other nominees if all categories prove this, it is about the story – such as “Precious”, “Up In The Air”, “Crazy Heart”, “The Blind Side”, “A Serious Man”, “An Education”, “Invictus”, “A Serious Man”, “The Last Station”, and others. In fact they dominated the nominations and the winnings at the Oscars, and throughout the award season despite the faith bending beginning at the Golden Globes. So Hollywood, keep it up and hey, how about a film about a paraplegic that is written, directed, and acted by paraplegics? A film that gives that authentic representation along with its portrayals in a movie that is entertaining to all? I have one that you might consider for next years award season! Providing we get it completed and find a distributor by the end of this year!

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