Before I get too far along in this uber-specific Oscar recap (yes, I meticulously took notes on the most obscure and most enjoyable parts of last night’s show), I’d like to start off by saying that I managed 17 for 24 in predictions – so, not the best, but respectable. I’ll aim for a clean sweep next year. But anyway, thanks to a pretty great ceremony that was scads better than last year’s (Slumdog! Slumdog! Slumdog! Yawn.), it was an enjoyable night that the shows’ producers apparent goal was to render their viewing audience blubbering messes.
All right, we have to admit that most of us tend to tune during two parts of the Oscars – the speech from the Academy president and the presentation of the animated, documentary, and live action short awards. So in order to hype up the latter, here’s a rundown of the nominees for Best Animated Short. Watch them before the ceremony tonight so you know which one you’re rooting for!
French Roast, dir. Fabrice Joubert
Synopsis: A man encounters a persistent beggar and an unlikely rush with the law while sitting in a cafe for an entire day.
The Verdict: The short is at times cute and at times somewhat of a downer (or maybe it’s just European) – but mostly cute. The problem is that it seems to be attempting to be a Pixar short, which it doesn’t quite live up to.
Watch it Here
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, dir. Nicky Phelan
Synopsis: A crotchety grandmother tells a somewhat eerie tale to her restless granddaughter, despite her insistence not to.
The Verdict: All in all, this one sort of reminded me of a DreamWorks Animation piece, meaning it’s rifled with silly laughs and not scads of originality. It is, however, one of the funnier entries here.
Watch it Here
The Lady and the Reaper, dir. Javier Recio Gracia
Synopsis: An old woman goes to sleep for her final hour, ready to meet her husband in the afterlife – but things get sidetracked.
The Verdict: I rather like this one – it, like French Roast, tackled a little more serious subject (and had a rather dark undertone by the end), but it was highly enjoyable nonetheless.
Watch it Here
Logorama, Francois Alaux and Herve de Crecy
Synopsis: Two Michelin men on their crime beat encounter the unlikeliest of perpetrators in a city made entirely out of popular trademarked logos.
The Verdict: At times sounding like the dialogue was taken directly out of Pulp Fiction, this one’s very visually entertaining. I can’t imagine how much time was put into inserting all of those insignia.
Watch it Here and Here
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, dir. Nick Park
Synopsis: Wallace and Gromit are back, running a successful bakery, but something evil’s afoot as all the area’s best bakers are dropping like flies.
The Verdict: It’s hard not to love everything Aardman Studio puts out – particularly when Wallace and Gromit are involved. Inventive, funny, adventurous – just to name a few descriptors.
Watch it Here
Hey folks. Just thought I’d let the readers know that a column of mine on the Best Original Score category at this year’s Oscars has recently been featured over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) site, a group of which I’ve recently become a part. Head on over to the site to check out my write-up! It’s a part of their annual LAMB Devours the Oscars series, which I luckily got a chance to be a feature writer for.
Well, the Oscar nominees were announced this morning, and I thought I’d offer up some of my thoughts on the Academy’s choices for the best of 2009. As far as my predicting went, it was merely okay, apparently – Best Picture (7 for 10), Best Director (4 for 5), Best Actor (5 for 5), Best Actress (4 for 5), Best Supporting Actor (5 for 5), and Best Supporting Actress (3 for 5). I suppose I should’ve given Crazy Heart a boost in the right places (Supporting Actress, ahem) and give more thought to the meteoric rise of The Blind Side (Best Picture?!). So though there weren’t a lot of surprises on nomination morning, I did notice a few that seemed to be upsets of some form. Of the main six categories, the acting ones offered virtually nothing surprising. The inclusions of The Blind Side and District 9 in Best Picture over precursor favorites Invictus and Nine was a somewhat surprising move. And Lee Daniels edging out Academy favorites Clint Eastwood and the Coen Bros. was a nice surprise in Best Director. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning, though, came from the unlikeliest of sources – Best Animated Feature. When the obscure little movie The Secret of Kells was announced instead of more popular fare such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or Ponyo, it made it worth it to wake up at 7:30 for the announcement. And upon closer examination, it comes as no surprise that the two truly weird categories to predict – Makeup and Song – came in with strange entries as well, with the little seen Il Divo and Paris 36 managing slots.