Laurels and a slow-paced show

Academy Awards: Hollywoods big night drags, the stars shine though

Laurels and a slow-paced show

That was mostly because the first half was loaded with clip samples and retrospectives, while the latter part moved along with the speed that one of its producers, Bill Mechanic, had promised in advance.

Before the bigger awards were announced, there was a trip back to The Dark Knight, as Morgan Freeman explained how sound editors handled a movie from an earlier year, and a lengthy string of excerpts from horror movies, in an effort to reach fans who do not find movies like the Twilight series on the show.

The pace had already slowed with the screening of highlights — and the introduction of two recipients, Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall — from an honourary-awards ceremony that had been moved off-camera to a November date, precisely to keep the show from slowing.

This came only a few minutes after a narrator took time to read chunks of script over clips from the best adapted screenplay nominees. But Geoffrey Fletcher, a first-time nominee who won for Precious, put some heart in the proceedings as he gasped and seemed to weep in accepting. “I thank everyone,” Fletcher said simply.

For most of the night the ceremony put in sharp relief a split between the 5,777 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who in many categories continued a recent tradition of honouring small, independent-style movies, and their own broadcast, which played heavily into the big movies.

Joking at Bullock

Sandra Bullock, who won the best actress award for The Blind Side, took the stage as a presenter and was the subject of congenial jokes about her career, which has been heavier on commerce than art, with movies like The Proposal and Miss Congeniality.

Avatar, meanwhile, was a constant presence. Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington, the film’s stars, were all presenters. From an Oscar stage that was bathed in blue for most of the night, presenters and hosts aimed quips at Cameron, who had a Navi blue kerchief (a reference to characters in Avatar) in the pocket of his tuxedo and generally traded on the film’s vast popularity in a clear bid to hold viewers.

On dolphins

The best documentary feature award, presented by Matt Damon, went to The Cove, a film that exposed the slaughter of dolphins in a Japanese village. The best foreign language feature went to The Secret in Their Eyes from Argentina.

Boal’s original screenplay for The Hurt Locker made an expected mark for that film. In accepting the prize Boal talked of his experience as a war correspondent, and dedicated the Oscar to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hosts ‘drop in’

As the show opened at the Kodak Theatre, the Oscar co-hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, dropped onto the stage from above, holding hands. The two traded quips in a monologue that tweaked a whole string of nominees.

“Over here is the Inglourious Basterds section,” Martin said.

“And over here are the people who made the movie,” joined Baldwin, Martin-and-Lewis style. The two donned 3-D glasses to peer at Cameron, director of Avatar.

It was a comfortable, by-the-numbers beginning for a show that promised to pit Hollywood’s Davids against some movie Goliaths before it ended.

The big winners

* Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
* Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
* Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
* Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
* Actress in a Supporting Role: Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
* Directing: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
*Animated Feature Film: Up by Pete Docter
*Art Direction: Avatar
*Cinematography: Avatar
*Costume Design: Sandy Powell for The Young Victoria
*Documentary (Feature): The Cove
*Documentary (Short Subject): Music by Prudence
*Film Editing: Bob Murawski and Chris Innis for The Hurt Locker
*Foreign Language Film: The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) from Argentina
*Makeup: Star Trek — Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
*Music (Original Score): Michael Giacchino for Up
*Music (Original Song): The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart), music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
*Short Film (Animated): Logorama
*Short Film (Live Action): The New Tenants
*Sound Editing: Paul NJ Ottosson for The Hurt Locker
*Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
*Visual Effects: Avatar
*Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
*Writing (Original Screenplay): The Hurt Locker written by Mark Boal

No show for India

The spotlight was firmly trained on India at last year’s Academy Awards with Mumbai-based rags-to-riches story Slumdog Millionaire winning eight golden statuettes, but it was a no show for the country at the 82nd Academy Awards, PTI reports from Los Angeles.

There were no Indian hopefuls left in this year’s Oscar race after A R Rahman’s ouster and American director Gregg Helvey’s Kavi — a short film about a young Indian boy trapped by child labour — too lost out in the Short Film (Live Action) category, to Danish drama The Last Tenants.

The 19-minute-long Hindi fiction was shot in Mumbai with an Indian cast and producers.
Rahman, who had clinched two trophies for his compositions in Slumdog... last year, had been long-listed in the ‘Best Original Song’ category for his score ‘Na Na’ from his Hollywood debut venture Couple’s Retreat, but failed to get a nomination.

While Rahman’s foot tapping number ‘Jai Ho’ won last year, this time the award went to the song ‘The Weary Kind’ from Crazy Heart.

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