Oscars Recap

So, I did manage to watch the oscars last night. Like most television I watch, I recorded it on my PVR for later viewing. I have a few reasons for this. First, my schedule generally doesn't match the broadcasters. Being chained to a particular broadcast schedule really doesn't work that well for me. Secondly, I like being able to skip through commercials. This is perhaps an idea to follow up on a different blog post, but television commercials tend to be more obnoxious than informative over the past several years. Back to the Oscars. I was pleased to see separate musical performances again. The musical medley experimentation from the last Academy Awards really missed the mark, in my opinion. It was nice to see those associated with these works get extra recognition. This also definitively answered a question for me: Zachary Levi did indeed perform his own singing in Tangled.

The opening segment for the Oscars was a great tribute to a number of nominated movies, and I thought the Inception frame was quite fitting. It was nice to see Inception win the technical awards.

The hosting duties were adequate. Anne Hathaway brought some enthusiasm, but I think James Franco was a bit flat. This doesn't really come as too much of a surprise, as that is their public personas. Both performed far better as Academy Awards hosts than the recent Golden Globes host.

I was particularly impressed with the appearance of Kirk Douglas, who presented the Best Supporting Actress award. It was really heartwarming to see this great actor, at 94 up on the screen. He did a great job, and it was quite amusing to see his comedic timing as he kept delaying the announcement of the award. Kirk Douglas was the lead actor, as well as producer for the film Spartacus, played an important role in challenging the Hollywood Blacklist by crediting Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten for writing the screenplay. While many

On the theme of censorship, when Melissa Leo gave her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in The Fighter, she uttered one of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words. While this was apparently bleeped out in some broadcasts, they must have missed it on the channel I was watching. When Leo's co-star Christian Bale later won Best Supporting Actor, he alluded to his own outburst on the set of "Terminator: Salvation".

To no great surprise, Toy Story 3 won for Best Animated Film.

In science fiction news, Shaun Tan won Best Short Film (Animated) for The Lost Thing. Tan had previously won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 2010, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist in 2007.

The big awards were won by The King's Speech, which from the clips shown throughout the show, looks to be quite intriguing. I'm generally interested in character-based movies, and I was hoping this film would win out over The Social Network, although I haven't yet seen either.

Not The Oscars: Despicable Me

Since it's Oscar night, I thought I'd post about movies. However, since I've not really seen most of the movies, and since I'm watching the Oscars time-shifted on my PVR, I can't really offer much of interest there. This past week, I finally got a chance to watch Despicable Me. I'll admit that I'm not generally a Steve Carell fan. I'm not sure what aspect of his personality normally irritates me, but it wasn't in evidence in this film. This was a comedic gem.

Gru is a great villain character, if a bit inept. Many of his crimes are rather... minimal. Stealing the Jumbotron from Times Square? Stealing the Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower... replicas from Las Vegas?

I think the most compelling crime isn't the moon heist, or even any of the shrink-ray heists. The most meaningful act of mischief is when we first meet Gru, and he encounters a small boy crying over his spilt ice cream. Gru takes great delight in making a balloon animal, giving it to the overjoyed little boy, before crushing his hopes and dreams by popping it in his face. This petulant act reveals quickly what kind of person Gru is, and more poignantly, gives us insight into his character.

The movie later reveals that Gru's childhood is a series of disappointed incidents where his dreams are slowly crushed. This story then becomes one of redemption for Gru's lost childhood. For Gru, this is what his time with the three orphans, Margo, Edith and Agnes comes to mean. It's a reawakening of his childhood. When Gru's dreams appear all but crushed, it is the innocence of the children, their giving nature, that gives him the desire to fight on.