2010 Oscars Open Thread

2010 Oscars Open Thread

And the winner is…overthinking!

The celebrities! The glamour! The inexplicable robot dance to the soundtrack of UP! Since everyone loves Monday morning quarterbacking, we’re giving you an opportunity to share your approval, gripes, jokes, and opinions here, in a special 2010 Oscars Open Thread.

Question 1: The night’s clear winners were Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker, a perfectly creditable film by any standard, but essentially a glorified buddy-cop picture. Did the winningest picture of the night deserve all the accolades heaped upon it—writing, directing, and best picture? How do you think it managed to beat out Avatar for all of those?


Question 2: If there was a loser, it was James Cameron. Though Avatar picked up a few little men, none of them went to Cameron, and they were for technical categories—visual effects and cinematography—nothing to do with storytelling and artistic achievement. Did Avatar get what it deserved? Or was it robbed?

Question 3: In the Streeps/Bullock stakes, the victor was Sandra Bullock. Hope you won your Oscar pool with that one. What, exactly, do you think was being honored here? The actress? This particular performance? The longevity and diversity of her career? (By all of those measures, doesn’t Streep have the edge?). Hey, we’re not snobbish—as listeners to our podcast know well, at OTI we are a fan of actors who work. We just wonder if this Oscar was really for Demolition Man.

Bonus Questions for Overthinking

  • What did you think of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as hosts?
  • This year’s ceremony largely moved along at a brisk—sometimes even a breakneck—clip. Did it lack in character what it gained in speed? Or were you happy that they kept it to a relatively zippy three and a half hours?
  • Seriously, what was up with that robot dance to the soundtrack of UP!?
  • By what stretch of the imagination is Twilight a horror film? And what was that montage doing there in the first place?

Nothing Oscar-related is off limites, for it is your… Open Thread!

18 Comments on “2010 Oscars Open Thread”

  1. Mads Ejstrup #

    Q1: I think it deserved it, though i was hoping for Inglorious Basterds. In terms of editing it is really well edited, but again I have had enough of the whole handhed quick-cutting and again was rooting for Inglorious Basterds, a film that understnad the power of not cutting, wich is as much a part of editing as cutting.

    Q2:I feel like i would not have been too upset if it had won the Best Picture award, because it is pretty awesome and well paced and very well balanced. But then again who really roots for Cameron, he gets his award every day go on home banking. But why oh why did it win best cinematography, that award makes no sense at all.

    Q3: I have not seen the Blinde Side, because it has not come out i Denmark yet, but I feel like its the kind of movie that is going to annoy me. I think she probably got the awards in parts because she is probably good in the kind of role she plays in the movie, that combined with tha fact that she has been a moneymaker Hollywood for a long time, regardles of how you feel about her movies, she is very likable, good at what her do and she is departing from her usual roles, which Hollywoods likes.

    Bonus1: Baldwin and Martins where in a word: boring! They were not even coming close to being funny and their delivery was really bad, which was a surprise. They Paranormal Activity-bit was funny though.

    Bonus2: I really missed the songs, not because they were good, often they were not, but this i suppose to be a show, not 5 hours of people going on and of stage, it lacked something to break up the flow.

    Bonus3: Great! but the interpretation of the score to The Hurt Locker?!!!!

    Bonus4: I was a strange montage because it came out of nothing and did not have any connection to any of the films nominated for anything, so i just came out as stupid.


    Oh one other thing. The best short (live action) was won by a countryman, a Dane and that is actualy pretty cool if you are from Denmark, like me


  2. RiderIon #

    My answer for question 1 and 2 go together as I think part of it was backlash against Avatar as it’s narrative isn’t the greatest. The second part was the expansion of Best Picture field from 5 to 10 nominees. I imagine District 9 probably culled a portion of votes away from Avatar. I haven’t seen Hurt Locker so I can’t comment on the quality of the film.

    As for question 3, I am upset that Sandra Bullock won the Oscar as I frankly don’t think she’s a good actress. I also completely forgot she was in Demolition Man as The Net and Speed 2: Cruise Control are the two bad films she has done that jump to mind.

    I believe it was Tom Hanks said right before he announced the winner of Best Picture that the Academy was made up of over 6000 members and it surprises me how small that number is.


  3. Wade #

    The only thing that last night’s show really proved to me was that the Academy wasn’t nearly as interested in change as it thought it was. Upping the Best Picture list from 5 to 10 would have been a coup if a more popular/ist film had stolen away the award, but instead it ended up going to the movie that would’ve probably won it anyway. Where before it seemed like the Academy wanted to try and become more pop-centric, it turns out they just wanted the ratings.

    “It’s an honor just to be nominated” is going to have to stay enough for the more mainstream films, because the awards are gonna to keep going to movies like Precious, The Hurt Locker, and Up in the Air (oh wait).

    I don’t foresee next year’s Oscars being any different. Toy Story 3 might garner a Best Picture nomination, as well as a couple other awards, but there’s no way it’ll ever walk away with the award. Of course, I’d love to be wrong…


  4. Megan from Lombard #

    I’ll be honest here and say that I didn’t watch the Oscars. I decided to watch ‘Pretty Woman’ instead (still hate it) and felt that I was bored either way.

    That being said, I did catch ‘Best Director’ (only because my younger sister *demanded* that I stop watching the movie and stole the remote before I could protest) and thought that Quentin Tarantino should have one because a) ‘Bastards’ was awesome b) it’s Quentin Tarantino and c) like Mads said, non-editing is apart of editing as well.


  5. Sajanas #

    I had no need to watch the Oscars when reading a simple list of the winners today satisfies me just fine.
    I actually liked Avatar, though I was expecting not to, but I have to say, it was pretty but stupid. For all the wondrous stuff on screen, its villains and heroes were too cardboard, and its victorious ending is undercut by two words. Orbital Bombardment.
    I think that Hurt Locker was a much more tense, frightening affair, with the expectation that every person could be both a victim or a killer at any moment. And the three man band of soldiers was itself comprised of barely restrained violence.
    I personally was rooting for District 9, but really, there were quite a few movies on there I wouldn’t have been upset with their victory. There’s nothing worse than seeing legitimately cool, thought provoking genre movies defeated by a movie no one has seen about sad British people.


  6. inmate #

    Titanic landed Cameron enough gold men to fulfill a very lewd and pointless joke. And because of that, Avatar was left to it’s obvious merits as a visual masterpiece, which is what I enjoyed it as.

    The faster pace was nice, except they rushed the Best Picture award. THAT should have had the associates of the films up on stage praising the nominees, not Actor and Actress.

    The horror montage was well done in itself (with the exception of twilight) but was not given the introduction it needed. I liked it because it was an excuse to sneak in a Mel Brooks clip.


  7. Bob #

    Agree with RiderIon that question 1 and 2 go together. While I was watching Hurt Locker, I personally felt like I was watching a great piece of cinemotography that deserves the praise it is getting. While I was watching Avatar, I felt I was watching a bad version of Braveheart (although enjoyable) with a good version of Captain Eo special effects. They both deserved what they receieved.

    Question 3 – I went 11 for 12 on the top awards and its all Love Potion #9’s fault I didn’t go 12 for 12.

    As far as the actual awards – I was getting ready to DVR it before I left for work and thought ‘Why’. The best clips are going to be on Youtube by the time I get home from work, so why fast-forward through many clips, guessing what is good and what is bad. The Oscars used to be the thing I would look forward to most between the Super Bowl and Opening Day. Now, meh. I think part of it was the hosts – although I like both of Steve and Alec, they didn’t wow me like a Letterman or NPH would.

    Side Twilight thought – When I saw the Twilight kids presenting an award, I thought “Oh Kristen Stewart is on. Lets see what drug she looks like she is on today.” – not saying she takes drugs, on the contrary I don’t think she does. She just looks like she is on drugs. Why doesn’t she get an Oscar – she plays interesting people on screen but you can tell she is vapid in real life. Now THAT is acting!


  8. stabbim #

    1) Surprisingly stiff and unfunny. Maybe NPH should have stuck around to band-aid more than the opening musical number.

    2) Happy with the brisk and zippy. Best song performances are usually a waste of time, glad to see them go. And I liked that Hanks just sped straight into the BP winner with no recap — we’d already had 3+ hours of preable on that score.

    3) Heh. The dancing medleys are nearly always a bad idea too, but at least this one provided a few WTF giggles.

    4) Well, I think it’s likely what they claimed: horror is seldom perceived as a respectable genre, which that montage probably did nothing to change. Nice to see they had the sense to cut away to Tarantino’s big enthusiastic clapping at the end.

    Additional Thoughts:

    Very little suspense this year; just about everyone who was favored going in took an award home. If there were any upsets, they were in less high-profile categories.

    A little disappointed that the Sci/Tech awards didn’t even get a short montage this year — just a quick pan of all the winners. On a related note, Elizabeth Banks was the most entertaning presenter of the night, right behind Stiller’s antics. I’m thinking the show that she hosted, though lacking in glitz, was probably a lot more fun.

    What’s with this epidemic of slouchyness amongst the younger actresses?


  9. Dan from Canada #

    1) As great a movie as Avatar was, I’m perfectly comfortable with it not winning best picture. If you take away the cutting edge technology and effects (For which it DID win awards) you’re left with an incredibly flat and archtypal story which has already been shown to have been done many times (See also the “Avatar as Pocahontas” image floating around the internet)

    Mind you, Hurt Locker doesn’t necessarily bring more to the Best Picture table, especially since the writer is being sued for basically stealing the life of an existing solider he was embedded with, without creditting him at all. But then, the question was how did it beat out Avatar, not, having beat out avatar, should it have beaten out other things.

    2) See above, the actual story (Hey look, peaceful nature types, and big evil business/military threatens them, and one man alone learns the error of his ways and saves the day in the end, despite tragic consequences all around) is so cliched as to be a lazy source of storytelling Obviously every rescript is a rescript rescript these days, but the skill then becomes finding a way to take that archtypal story and turn it on its head a little to make something new or unique, and as much as I -enjoyed- the movie, after the first 10 minutes I could have spelled out the rest of the plot with about 95% accuracy.

    3)I had absolutely no stake in the Bullock/Streepstakes, so I have to give this one a resounding “meh”

    As something for everyone to ponder/respond to, in purely the interests of sparking some debate and nothing else, did anybody else notice how every single time a black person won an award, the camerapeople pretty much exclusively showed the reactions of other black members of the audience, even ones who had absolutely no connection to the movie or winner?


  10. Rosa #

    Did anyone else find it a bit creepy that when Avatar did win, Jim Cameron was one of the first to be thanked? On the one hand, yes, he’s probably made all y’all super duper rich. On the other hand, cult!

    And don’t forget that new voting system for Best Picture too, where all 10 movies get ranked. I’m sure that hurt Avatar, as it’s far easier (I think, at least) to make a case for Avatar being not deserving of best picture than to do so for the Hurt Locker.


  11. Rosa #

    And to amend my above comment – I meant “whenever Avatar did win”. Once wasn’t a big deal, but all three times was a little, maybe if they don’t thank him James Cameron will have them shot


  12. cat #

    Question 3: I think the pool for Best Actress was pretty weak this year. Mirren and Streep are givens and with the “new” crop of actresses nominated, it probably wasn’t going to either of them. In addition, I think Streep’s role was more comedy and since the Oscars refuses to make up separate categories (even for Best Picture?) those sorts of films and the actors in them haven’t been nominated very often (outside of Best Supporting) as far as I can tell for quite a while. It certainly wasn’t going to go to newcomers like Sidibe and Mulligan so…yeah…Sandra Bullock. That and she’s likable.

    Bonus questions

    I liked Martin/Baldwin as hosts at first. I think that at points they had enough cred to take shots that other people wouldn’t. I think it was a little bland overall though. NPH. What happened there? Maybe they made him run around too much and he was out of breath? Maybe he was sick that day? I don’t know. I liked the 30’s black and white extravanganza feel, but not the singing.

    It moved at a quick pace until a certain point, maybe halfway or 2/3 through when it slowed down to a ridiculous degree. That was my problem. I think the fast pace did push people (the people whose time was limited) into saying what they needed to say which made for concise, more amusing speeches.

    The entire dance section was incredibly boring and confusing. From the moment they started with Sherlock Holmes I was pretty sure it was supposed to be a send-up of West Side Story. Did no one else get that? Cinched-waisted flowy skirts? All the jumping and twirling and ballet moves? No? Fine… There were a lot of robotic/street-dance movements that I felt maybe went with the music but not at all with the movies. I kind of think they would have done the same sorts of dances if it had been The Young Victoria which is just ridiculous.

    Who do they hire to make all these montages? Let’s just let Marc Shaiman write more amusing songs.

    OK, I’ve said my peace. Oh no, wait, Zoe Saldana’s dress was hideous. OK, now I’m done.



  13. dock #

    Did anyone else see after Hurt Locker won best film immediatly after winning best director, they camera cut to James Camerons face? It was HILARIOUS! He looked like Jon Voight in Tropic Thunder when Tug Speedman wins over him. He had a serious grimace and was shaking his head in disgust. I cant believe nobody mentioned that yet, it was so funny!


  14. Frank Hope #

    Re: Avatar

    I would have given it best movie and best director. I’m sure most people tuned into the Oscars because of Avatar. So that means many people were disappointed.

    I just read fenzel’s review of Avatar and I feel compelled to comment. I truly enjoyed his comments, but I was surprised that he never went much beyond the superficial. He should have been looking for the subliminal messages from Avatar. The truth is there are many and they are deeply layered.

    At the bottom is the theme of transhumanism. If you re-read his whole review with the thought that at its essence Avatar is an apologia for transhumanism, then you will get the answer to all his questions. (There is a also a huge Hindu subtext- not just the word Avatar.)

    The fact that the transhuman aspect is so buried and hidden from the conscious – even though it is in plain sight – is the real genius of this film/movie. It is what distinguishes Cameron from the other hacks out there.

    Cameron is the master of symbols. Avatar is all about symbols which is how it is able to communicate on such a deeply subconscious level. The crowning moment from a propaganda perspective is when the whole audience is expecting and yearning for Jake to completely abandon his human body and become his Avatar self.

    This is the 21st century equivalent of GM hooking everyone on the automobile through slick public relations campaigns. Now everyone on the planet has been conditioned to look favorably towards any transhuman related “advances” in technology. And the really slick part was that people paid for their own programming and weren’t even aware of it. We were all totally distracted by the bogus throwaway themes of environmentalism, anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism.

    You can read my interview of Avatar here:
    Avatar – Life vs. Death

    Also, take a look at my comment at the bottom of the page regarding transhumanism:
    My transhumanism comment

    Finally, I fully expect that the sequel to Avatar will win the best picture Oscar when it’s released in a few years time – along with a best director Oscar for Cameron.


  15. Trevor #

    The horror tribute was inexplicable, seeing as a.)Oscar rarely salutes horror films with trophies, no matter how deserved and b.)Rare is the horror movie that is deserving of Oscars. Plus, the shameless attempt to pander to the youngsters by having the Twilight Kids introduce the damn thing is transparent enough to be insulting to all involved.

    I’m glad “The Hurt Locker” won, I don’t think it’s the greatest war movie ever but it did a pretty convincing job of making you aware just how war changes people (and in the case of the main guy, fuels them). It’s hard to make an antiwar film that doesn’t glamorize war somehow or another, and I doubt anyone would say it’s anti- or pro-war enough to qualify as either. Gung-ho Republicans (many of whom never served) can’t cuddle up to it any more than pacifist Democrats. Had “The Hurt Locker” come out in the Bush years, I suspect its crowning as the best picture would have met with more controversey than you can shake a Glenn Beck at.

    The comedy team of Martin and Baldwin will be playing the Chuckle Hut in El Paso March 19-22, Nucking Futs Nightclub in San Bernadino March 26-28, and a special April Fool’s Day show at Cracka Barrel of Jokes in Santa Fe.


  16. rtpoe #

    Well, I didn’t see the Hollywood Love Fest. But a few thoughts.

    On Sandra Bullock. She is now the only person to get a Best Actress Oscar and Worst Actress Razzie in the same year.

    With regards to the montage, I suppose they were going for a younger audience with the ‘Twilight’ kids introducing it. I give whoever put it together a lot of credit for making something so smooth and coherent. It looked really great (Hooray for ‘The Blob’!) I don’t mind the inclusion of one second of ‘Twilight’. There are plenty of Horror-Comedies (e.g. ‘Young Frankenstein’), so why not a Horror-Romance? Also, it’s probably the only time Robert Eglund will be acknowledged at the Oscars. But…WHERE WAS VINCENT PRICE? It’s not like they couldn’t get the rights to a clip; ‘House on Haunted Hill’ and ‘The Last Man on Earth’ are in the public domain….


  17. Phil #

    Did anyone notice that, after more than a decade of, “And this year the Oscar goes to…” (very politically correct), we returned to, “And the winner is…”


  18. Trevor #

    @Phil: Yeah, that was something that I slowly noticed over the course of the night, as if “the academy award goes to” had become some sort of excuse for a drinking game and the Oscars were trying to avoid that. Now, who would make a drinking game out of the Oscars, I don’t know (me, if I had booze available while watching it. That way it goes by quicker).


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