Cinema Autopsy on the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony and winners

The Hurt Locker

There were very few surprises this year at the Oscars and I was able to correctly predict 12 out of the 20 awards. Although Avatar is still my preferred film of all the films nominated it is very hard to begrudge The Hurt Locker cleaning up, including winning the Best Motion Picture and Best Director awards. Those two awards finally recognise director Kathryn Bigelow’s incredible talent as a filmmaker, not to mention making her the first Oscar-winning female director.

I felt that the rest of the awards all seemed mostly deserved or justified with the exception of The Young Victoria winning Best Costume Design and Sandra Bullock winning Best Actress for The Blind Side. However, in both cases the acceptance speeches won me over and I stopped grumbling. Despite her bizarrely ungracious attitude, Best Costume Design award winner Sandy Powell expressed my frustrations that period films like The Young Victoria usually win such awards while smaller films that are not about “dead monarchs or glittery musicals” get overlooked.

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side

I’ve never had anything against Sandra Bullock (despite disliking so many of her films) but I really didn’t want her to win Best Actress mainly because I reacted so badly to The Blind Side. However, Bullock’s acceptance speech was generous, heartfelt, humble and funny so I think she earned herself a lot of credibility in that moment. I do believe that newcomers Carey Mulligan in An Education and Gabourey Sidibe in Precious were nevertheless more deserving but they’ll have lots more shots at the award in the future.

As for the actual ceremony, there was a sincere and moving tribute to the late John Hughes, there was a pretty good attempt and demonstrating what sound editing and sound mixing actually are and Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin provided more laughs  as hosts than It’s Complicated did in its entirety. It was actually a really enjoyable ceremony and the only dud aspect was that there was no time for a clip montage of cinematography nominees or for each nominated  Best Original Song to be played but there was apparently time for an interpretative dance routine to each piece of music nominated for Best Musical Score.

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart

On a final note, how great was it to see Jeff Bridges win Best Actor for Crazy Heart and then do that speech where he sounded like he was going to suddenly transform into The Dude in front of our eyes?

There’s a full list of all the winners on the official Oscars website.

© Thomas Caldwell, 2010

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  1. Well said! Loved the John Hughes tribute (but could someone please send donations to help Judd Nelson…he needs it), thought Bullock redeemed herself with her speech so I won’t bare her any ill will, and glad Bigelow got the goods over King James on this occasion. But seriously, what was with Clooney’s sour demeanour and that crazy woman who leapt up on stage during the ‘short documentary’ category and had to be played off stage – it was like Kanye all over again!

  2. I don’t usually watch the Oscars but saw about the first hour yesterday before heading off for a couple of screenings at the French Film Festival. The thing that stood out for me was John Travolta dressed all casual in jeans. Jeans can look cool, but I thought it looked slack and unprofessional.

    I haven’t seen The Blind Side, nor will I, and though I didn’t like Precious, I could never in a month of Sundays imagine Sandra Bullock producing a performance anywhere close to Gabourey Sidibe’s.

    Another thing I noticed was Christoph Waltz’s nicely structured acceptance speech, more of a story in which he names names and then just gives a single, gracious thank-you.

    The repetitive kiss-ass acceptance speeches where winners read from a list of people who they hope will employ them again is one of the worst aspects of the Oscars (along with the stupid jokes by the presenters – for fuck’s sake, most of these guys are actors).

  3. DrPhilm – I think Clooney was just playing up the part of Faux Serious Actor Man (I found it funny) and this article explains the bizarre moment during the Short Documentary acceptance speech.

    Paul – I find it a bit sad when they start thanking lawyers and agents.

  4. Good job Thomas on your analysis of predicting the awards to Bigelow and also showed some humility in spotting your weakness in your first round of judging Sandra a bit harsh because of your distain of the film in which she won the award. You wear the anti-defensive caot well. Please tell me why you don’t seem to rate the intellect of the producers on their choice of message delivered by the film. I too thought The Blind Side was “adolesant in its delivery of the story, however I thought it to be a uniquely brave gamble that the story would gain the appreciation of so many viewers.the casting director should have received a generous bonus, and the producers a badge of courage!

    Again, good job Tom!!


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