Some Academy Awards Musings
First off, how do The Academy Awards get off with having two names? Does anything other event like this have two completely different, but both completely accepted and official names? That always confused me growing up. I thought they were two different events. You know you did too. Imagine if the World Cup was also called The Football Championship. Now that would confuse the hell out of Americans.
Anyhow, we all know the biggest story at the Oscars was Martin Scorsese finally winning his first Oscar after five previous nominations. The man absolutely deserved it. The Departed will not be remembered as fondly by film critics, or even the general public, as his earlier masterpieces such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull or possibly even Goodfellas, but who else deserved it? (Actually, the Academy has a hard-on for Clint Eastwood, so I wouldn’t have been surprised if they gave him the Best Directorial Oscar.) The Departed was an absolute blast from beginning to end and it deserved all 4 Oscars that it won, especially Best Picture. The stellar cast performed perfectly together (even though I do not feel Wahlberg deserved an Oscar nod for his performance), William Monahan won for his terrific script, and I don’t know much about film editing, but I’ll just say it deserved that too. But I guess it is sort of strange that Scorsese finally won his Oscar due to arguably his most mainstream, and inarguably most financially successful, film. Maybe if the competition stronger this year Scorsese would have been denied again, but I guess the Academy knew there was no way they could conceivably get away with it this time.
I don’t really get the critics that say this was a “pity” or “lifetime achievement” Oscar for Scorsese. Just look at the competition. There was nothing as entertaining as The Departed. On the other hand, it does seem to break the recent mold of Best Picture Oscar winners. I’m surprised that Babel didn’t win, like it did at the Golden Globes. Besides, if the Academy was all about giving out lifetime achievement awards this year, surely they would have given Peter O’Toole the Oscar for Best Actor. The guy is 100 years old. He looked like he could’ve died during the awards show. On the other hand, he already did receive an honorary Oscar for his entire body of work, so I guess they decided to just let the old guy stay seated. The show was already four hours long – they didn’t need to prolong it by watching an old man take 15 minutes to walk to the stage.
But while my favorite movie of the year was sufficiently showered with awards and praise from the Academy, my runner-up from last year – Children of Men – was shutout. At least it got nominated for three awards, but I don’t know how they picked Pan’s Labyrinth over it for Achievement in Cinematography. For the climatic final action scene ALONE, Children of Men deserved that award. Yes, I’m just echoing the sentiment from my previous review of CoM, but when Pan’s Labyrinth won what seemed like it’s 10th award I was pretty infuriated. Well, as much as angry as a normal person can get at an awards show.
I just have a well-documented mild hatred towards Pan’s Labyrinth. Have you noticed that I love having a reason to link to my own old posts? But just as it seemed that Pan’s Labyrinth was an unstoppable juggernaut, it lost in the foreign-language film category. That got a hearty laugh out of me, considering it had just robbed another movie of an award. And it was obvious that the winner was not expecting it at all, which was nice to see. Guillermo del Toro probably drowned himself in a tub of nachos when he got home, especially since he didn’t win for Best Original Screenplay either. He had to watch a bunch of people that worked around him on the movie get awards while he probably sat there with a glazed, murderous look on his face.
So overall, it was a pretty decent night. Pan’s Labyrinth got beat in the one category everyone thought it a mortal lock to win and Scorsese got his Oscar. I didn’t see enough of the other movies to really comment on the rest of the awards, but it was nice to see a film like Little Miss Sunshine get two Oscars.
Now go see The Departed if you haven’t already.