OscarBlog 2009 – Stave 10

Time for Best Actress. Really, how secure can you feel when your competition for The Academy Award is Meryl (****ing) Streep?!?

But I think she’s almost in the Oprah category now. At this point in her career, she’s won her industry’s award so conspicuously frequently that there’s now an unspoken agreement that the Academy should spread the wealth a little.

Kate Winslet for “The Reader.” The sugar-frosted side of my moviegoing psyche says “She gets prettier and prettier with each passing year. The whole-wheat side says that she’s a hell of an actress, is a genius at choosing roles that can show off the full range of what she can do, and has managed to become a big celebrity without losing that appearance of being a genuine person with no particular need for the whole world to know her business.

(Wack to the sugar-frosted side again, which wants to thank Ms. Winslet for showing us so much of her business in “The Reader” and other movies.)

Oh, how adorable. She asks her dad to whistle and PHREEET! comes from the back of the room, instantly.

I’ve sort of had a little observation about events like these. Most of the people nominated for an Oscar (or another major award) has a parent out there watching. And I guarantee you that they’re just over the moon with pleasure. You enjoy achieving your dreams in life. But the only thing that can possibly top it is watching anonymously while your kid achieves their own.

I might think that so-and-so is a phony, such-and-such is unworthy of recognition…all kinds of snarky comments that are so fun to read and write in a blog. But lately, I’ve also thought about the man or woman sitting in front of TV set back at a hotel near the Kodak Theater, who have no idea how they’re going to compose themselves in the hour or two until they meet up with their kid and congratulate them in person.

“How did he do it?” asks DeNiro. “How did Sean Penn manage to play straight men for so many years?” Big laugh. What a masterful performance Penn did in “Milk.” He’s our generation’s Robert Mitchum, no question. I’ve got fingers crossed for him.

I want to see more movies with DeNiro and Penn. “We’re No Angels” didn’t give me enough of these two actor’s synergy.

Adrian Brody is nominating Richard Jenkins. He appears to have gotten the night off from juggling with the Flying Karamazov Brothers as the new Ivan.

I’m actually sort of warming to these personal introductions. The thing is, we like seeing our favorite actors on stage. And here, we get to see DeNiro and Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley for a few minutes.

I check the time and note that they’re really not going very long. So I take back my earlier comments about this burning through the minutes.

I honestly don’t know if it’ll be Penn or Mickey Rourke. I think it’ll be Rourke, because the voters love the “story” of the winner.

Annnd…it’s Penn!

Good, I’m very happy.

“You commie, homo-loving sons-of-guns!” he says, underscoring his Mitchum-ness. “I know how hard I sometimes make it for you people to like me,” he says…another fab line, showing a kind of self-awareness that’s hard not to like.

Back to Rourke. I don’t take back my earlier comment (nor do I edit it, obviously). But this “voters like the story of the nominee” thing is more powerful in the Supporting Actor categories. Hence: Jennifer Hudson.

I also wondered if they’d vote to Rourke just to see what he’d say, with international live television cameras and a mere seven-second delay. But the same could be true of Sean Penn. Penn senses what’s necessary and appropriate, and does make a nicely-crafted pitch for gay rights, and makes the sort of swipe against Bush that’s expressed solely in the form of admiration for the new guy.

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7 thoughts on “OscarBlog 2009 – Stave 10

  1. Julia

    I’m always happy to see Sean Penn given an opportunity to publicly state what needs to be said.

    But, regarding the personal introductions for the top categories, doncha think they kind smacked of reality TV? I kept expecting a commercial break so we couldn’t see who won until we returned.

  2. Mike Stanley

    I really warmed up to the personal introductions by the time they got to Actress in a Leading Role. I believe they worked for a lot of reasons, but for me it helped to personalize the award and deliver a measure of special recognition and, in many cases, I believe, sincere admiration for the nominees’ craft from previous winners. You could see how much it meant to some of the younger actresses to be spoken of so highly by some of the more seasoned ones.

    I liked them. I think it also added quite nicely to the comment Hugh Jackson made during the Barbara Walters interview about making the Oscars have a little more show and a little less biz.

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