TINY POST-OSCAR THOUGHTS...
Well, congratulations to Helen Mirren for winning Best Actress in one of the few years I even cared enough about any of the Best Actress nominees to have an opinion for her spot perfect performance as Queen Elizabeth, portraying Her Majesty in the most reverential yet sympathetic performance imaginable. I'm not someone who got teary-eyed over the death of Lady Diana (it was an unfortunate, regrettable, and untimely death to be sure, but I wasn't part of her cult of personality so her passing didn't personally affect me in any substantial way) yet I loved that movie because, while it did present the Royal Family as being somewhat out of step with the mood of the general public over the death of Diana, it wasn't pointing fingers at them to castigate them as objects of ridicule; it was very fair in the way it presented their reluctance to participate in the public grieving.
Obviously, I would have preferred it if The Queen
had won Best Picture, but I'm not upset that The Departed
won. Nor am I happy that The Departed
won. I'm just indifferent. I eventually got around to watching the film and, while I thought it was well-made for what it was with good performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, and Matt Damon (not so much Mark Wahlberg... he really didn't make much of an impression on me with this film so I don't know why he got a nod for Best Supporting Actor), I really don't get what the fuss was about, or, at least, why so many movie fanboys on message boards were jizzing their sweatpants over it. The Departed
just seemed like a standard mobster/corrupt police/crime movie, nothing more, nothing less. I'm not a backlash bandwagon-jumping "hater" as some of the Rotten Tomatoes fanboys posting in this thread
seem to think those of us who weren't too thrilled with this win we are, I simply find The Departed
to be overrated. Crime movies just aren't my bag, I guess (except for Bottle Rocket
, though they aren't exactly hard-boiled criminals in that film), and I'm especially not fond of "everyone dies" endings like The Departed
has. That was a bummer.
However, one Oscar loss I'm very happy about is Brian Singer's mostly awful Superman Returns
losing for Best Visual Effects. (And I really liked X2: Mutants United
, not to mention the Richard Donner Superman
film-and-a-half, so I don't know how Superman Returns
ended up being so wretched other than a fairly good performance from Kevin Spacey, who was the best Lex Luthor he could possibly be with what he had to work with.) It was a farce that Singerman
... erm, I mean Superman Retreads
... erm, Returns
even got nominated, since I thought most of the special effects shots were much too dark, looked like cheesy PlayStation 2 live-action-actors-with-cheap-computer-generated-backdrops videogame cutscenes, and, speaking of videogames, made Superman himself look no more realistic than Cloud, Sora, Lara Croft, or Solid Snake. And Metropolis looked nothing like a real city, especially in the aerial shots. I'm not anti-CGI special effects by any means, but I'll still take the low-tech obvious bluescreen (or, rather, greenscreen since the costume was blue) of the Christopher Reeve Superman
films, since at least old-fashioned "practical" special effects had charm to them and weren't sterile CGI exercises that looked like rejected demo reels submitted to Squaresoft.
And what little I saw of Ellen DeGeneris, since I was mostly watching Heroes
, eating supper, or playing the first Getaway
game, which I bought super-cheap from a Toys R'Us clearance bin the other day, was very "meh": she didn't suck as bad as Whoopi as a host, but I far preferred Steve Martin, Chris Rock, or even David Letterman.
YEAH, I CALLED IT.
"I hope Cars wins, but I suspect Happy Feet may pull an upset victory against Pixar, since Happy Feet is very environmentally correct while Cars, with NASCAR and "Larry the Cable Guy", might just be too "Red State" for the largely Democrat Academy."
Congratulations to Happy Feet
for winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar, I guess.
I feel pretty much the same way as I did when Spirited Away
beat Lilo & Stitch
four years ago... I could see it coming when few others did, but I preferred the one that was thought to be a lock but didn't win, myself being one of the few Japanese anime fans who actually preferred Lilo & Stitch
, since I found Spirited Away
to be rather unfocused and scattershot compared to Hayao Miyazaki's earlier films, especially Kiki's Delivery Service
and My Neighbor Totoro
. Likewise, there was plenty to admire about Happy Feet
, but the anti-fishing (not overfishing off the coast of Antarctica, just fishing, period) "message" was presented in a ham-fisted manner with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
I didn't see Happy Feet
win because I was too busy watching invincible cheerleader Claire Bennett shoot the radioactive Ted Sprague with a tranquilizer dart (I think it was a tranquilizer dart) just as he was threatening to go "nova", thwarting a nuclear explosion (but still destroying her house) on the new episode of NBC's Heroes
, which Global played a day early in Canada because of a 2-hour 24
THE BEST ANIMATED FEATURE OSCAR: A FEW THOUGHTS.
Blargh, I spent pretty much all of last week stuck at home, sick with a pretty bad cold that sapped much of my posting energy. And, of course, I spent what energy I had left playing PlayStation 2.
Tonight is the Oscar telecast, meaning that I'll flick back-and-forth between that and King of the Hill
reruns up to the Best Animated Feature award, after which I'll tune out. I really liked The Queen
, and, while I think Helen Mirren
has a good shot at taking Best Actress, I'm not interested enough to see her win, and I don't think The Queen
will take Best Picture; my money, if I was betting, would be on The Departed
, which was alright, with good acting from Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, but I found the film itself to be a pretty standard corrupt police department crime flick. I suppose it's good that Martin Scorsese will likely finally win the Best Director statue that has eluded him all of these years, but I would have preferred it had been for The Aviator
two years ago.
Anyway, about Best Animated Feature: since Luc Besson's "animated Troll movie" Arthur and the Invisibles
(Arthur et les Minimoys
) had been disqualified as an "animated" film for having more than the allowed 25% live-action footage, meaning that the total number of eligible films on the short list is just 15, one below the threshold for triggering the extra two nomination slots, the nominees were exactly what I thought they would be (and also are exactly the films, of those that had a realistic chance of getting nominated, that are most deserving of nomination).
- Cars, John Lasseter.
- Happy Feet, George Miller.
- Monster House, Gil Kenan.
So I've seen all three of these, and, as such, I don't have to track down things like Open Season
to have an informed opinion. Cars
, while not on the level of Pixar's The Incredibles
or Monsters, Inc.
, is still my favourite film, animated or otherwise, in a rather weak year. The Michael Schumacher-voiced Ferrari cameo at the end
(and, if you listen to the French dub on the somewhat-disappointing-for-lack-of-commentary-track DVD, it's also really "Schumi" in French too) kind of sealed it for me. And the film is fantastic eye candy with the ridiculous amount of detail put into the visuals, even by Pixar standards, even if the plot is essentially the Michael J. Fox movie Doc Hollywood
with cars.Happy Feet
is another terrific-looking movie, with jaw-dropping visuals that really bring Antarctica to life. And for people who are wary of Robin Williams' vocal performances since Disney's original Aladdin
, where Robin Williams feels he has to do a thousand impressions that have nothing to do with the plot just to keep the parents happy and to try and recapture the magic of the Genie, in Happy Feet
he stays in character, or, rather, characters (he's the voice of both Ramon and Lovelace), delivering performances that are both energetic and restrained.Monster House
, while nothing too spectacular, was a fun movie that featured some advances in character animation: the animation of the kids was motion-captured, but, unlike a lot of previous attempts at motion-capturing actual performances, they avoided falling into the uncanny valley
of zombie-like creepiness with the facial animation, striking a fine balance between "realism" and "stylization". A lot of people praised this film as being a return to the somewhat less sanitized "smart" kids movies of my youth like The Goonies
, but it wasn't quite on that level. (The Goonies
had statue penis jokes.)
I hope Cars
wins, but I suspect Happy Feet
may pull an upset victory against Pixar, since Happy Feet
is very environmentally correct while Cars
, with NASCAR and "Larry the Cable Guy", might just be too "Red State" for the largely Democrat Academy.