Monday, February 25, 2008

No Oscar for Canadian Men

I actually stayed up to watch the Academy Awards last night, figuring that perhaps with everything going on in the industry, what with the writer's strike, and methods of content distribution changing so rapidly, we might see something different this year. I was wrong. It was the same old, same old 4-hours worth of speeches, montages, and commercials.

Although the show overall was quite monotonous, there were some funny, not to mention gadget-related, moments. Host Jon Stewart was "caught" in the act of vigorously playing some Wii Sports tennis on the big-screen after a commercial break. On another occasion, he claimed to be immersed in watching a movie on a portable device. "This is great," he said. "But you can't really enjoy the full cinematography unless you watch it in widescreen," he added as he slowly rotated the small device horizontally." I guess this is his way of mocking the fact that consumers think they can really enjoy a movie, and everything it has to offer, by watching it on a tiny 2.2" screen.

Sadly, the heavily Canadian film Juno (Canadian director and several actors) didn't take home as many awards as many had hoped. Just one for its screenwriter (and ex-exotic dancer!) Diablo Cody. Funny enough, this was the only movie of all those nominated that I have actually seen!

No Country for Old Men, a movie about murderers, drugs, and money, took home a slew of awards last night, putting smiles on the faces of seasoned actors like Tommy Lee Jones (although he himself did not win) and Javier Berdam (who did win). Berdam is best known for roles in his hometown of Spain.

Judging from the range of winners, it seems that the best talent this year came from everywhere but the U.S. French actress Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for her role in La Vie En Rose; while the song from Irish film Once won for Best Song, despite being up against three, yes three, tunes from the movie Enchanted.

The Oscars are, of course, a serious event with serious awards given out to serious actors, writers, producers, costume designers, and everyone in between. But what happened to the funny sketches? Interesting and amusing banter between presenters? Sure, there were a couple of funny lines, but the audience was so uptight, it seemed they needed a teleprompter to tell them when to laugh.

In their defense, the Oscars could very well have been canceled this year due to the writer's strike, so the show was likely put together in a rush. Still, that's no excuse. The highly-anticipated Vanity Fair after-party didn't take place either. Stewart mentioned that the cancellation was made earlier in respect of the writers. "Here's how you can show some respect to the writers," mused Stewart. "Send them an invite to the party!"

Anyway, just because our home-grown Canadian film didn't win, we can take pride in the fact that it was an honour just being nominated.

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