We interrupt my Oscars summary for a special news report.


Des Partridge (recently retired movie guru from The Courier Mail) is reporting at The Regent Cinemas in the Queen Street mall will close on June 15.  This is a very sad day for Brisbane.  It’s one of Brisbane’s oldest running cinemas.  Here’s a picture showing the Regent and looking down the Queen Street mall from the mid 1960s - http://twitpic.com/15f7yb


It confirms what I suspected in that last year’s BIFF was the lucky last for The Regent.  I’ll start working on a tribute piece but I can think of many happy memories from that great theatre.


Oscar Betting


On with the show and yes, my 8 year streak of Oscar gambling success has come to an end.  This day is going from bad to worse.


To be honest, I’m not too phased.  I got great odds which is all you can ask for.  I had $100 on Hurt Locker at the Golden Globes (at odds of $5.50) and Avatar won.  I had $500 on Avatar at the Oscars (at odds of $3.00) and Hurt Locker won.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.  With a few other speculative bets on the Globes and Oscars also going down the drain, I finished the year with a loss of $830.  Ah well.  Let’s see how that looks on the scoreboard…


1996 – profit of $750 – won on Susan Saranadon

1997 – profit of $300 (cumulative $1,050) – won on Frances McDormand

1998 – loss of $250 (cumulative $800)

1999 – loss of $250 (cumulative $550)

2000 – profit of $620 (cumulative $1,170) – won on Kevin Spacey and Michael Caine

2001 – loss of $190 (cumulative $980) – won on director Steven Soderbergh

2002 – profit of $480 (cumulative $1,460) – won on Halle Berry

2003 – profit of $275 (cumulative $1,735) – won on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Adrian Brody

2004 – profit of $150 (cumulative $1,875) – won on Sean Penn

2005 – profit of $214 (cumulative $2,089) – won on Hilary Swank

2006 – profit of $350 (cumulative $2,439) – won on Reese Witherspoon

2007 – profit of $1,463 (cumulative $3,912) – won on Murphy at Globes, Arkin & West Bank Story at Oscars

2008 – profit of $268 (cumulative $4,280) – won on Tilda Swinton and the Coen brothers

2009 – profit of $253 (cumulative $4,533) – won on Mickey Rourke & Kate Winslet at Globes, Winslet at Oscars

2010 – loss of $830 (cumulative $3,703)


I’m still up $3,703 in career earnings so I have no right to complain.  I’ll refocus next year and start the streak once again.


Oscar Competition


It was my 10th Annual Oscars competition this year and I had a nice total of 58 entrants.  Thanks to everyone for giving it a crack.


I tried to pick some tricky upset categories although there weren’t as many as I hoped.  Peter Black won this year with a score of 4 out of 5.  There were a few tied on that score but Peter guessed the age spot on – Tom Hanks presented the best picture statuette and is currently 53 years of age.


Those who also scored 4 out of 5 were – Damara McAndrew (just one off the correct age), Peter Taggart, Chris Hodge, Ben Harlum, Simon Miraudo, Lee Watson and Nicole Sawyer.


Curiously, the 8 people who scored 4 out of 5 all correctly picked best picture, actress, costume and score. None correctly “guessed” the documentary short subject category.


Those on 3 out of 5 were – Glenn Hampson, Peter Timms, Scott Sues, Adam Conwell, Sue Aitken, Nigel Bridgeman, Joseph Ferguson, Matt Smith, Shannon Molloy and Jane Furey.  Most of these slipped up on the best picture category (as well as best documentary short subject).


Special mentions have to go with Scott Sues, Shannon Molloy and Yvette Atkins.  They were the lucky 3 (out of the 58 entrants) to correctly pick the documentary short subject category.


To quickly recap, the correct entries for the competition were:


Best Picture:  The Hurt Locker (26 out of 58 got correct)

Best Actress:  Sandra Bullock (41 out of 58 got correct)

Best Score:  Up (22 out of 58 got correct)

Best Costume Design:  The Young Victoria (26 out of 58 got correct)
Best Documentary Short Subject:  Music By Prudence (3 out of 58 got correct)


There were 4 people who managed to score 0 out of 5 (which is actually pretty impressive) but I better not mention by name…


Oscar Ceremony


On the whole, I was pleased with the ceremony.  It came it at right on 3 hours and 30 minutes which is a good length.  My quick positives and negatives:




Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin’s introduction.  Martin is still the best Oscars host going around.  Great to see them poke fun at everyone.
 - The longer clips of the supporting actors and actresses – really showed the breadth of their roles.
 -Continuing on from last year, the detailed introductions of the best actors and actresses.  The people they got to do these intros were all well selected (unlike last year).
 -The way that the 10 films were introduced for best picture.  Again, with a worthy person to introduce.
 -The presentation of the animated film category and the interviews with the “stars” of each film.
 -The performances of the best songs being booted off the show.  No big loss for me.  There’s usually only one or two which are any good.
 -The set – I liked it a lot.  Great layering of the stage.


The Neil Patrick Harris musical number to kick things off.  Sound quality not good.  Could hardly make out what he was singing.
 -The lack of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin in the show.  After the intro, they disappeared.
 -The speed at which Tom Hanks read the best picture Oscar winner.  Um, shouldn’t he have gone through the nominees and producer’s names?
 -Some of the presenters seemed nervous / unprepared.  Their jokes didn’t zing like in past years.  Ben Stiller was good though in his Na’vi make-up.
 -Barbara Streisand “grandstanding” with her presentation of the best director Oscar to Kathryn Bigelow.  What a loser.
 -The lack of great speeches.  No one really knocked one out of the ballpark.  Not enough emotion sadly.  Maybe this was because most went as planned?
 -The lack of money in my wallet.


That’s about all I can think of without mentioning winners.  So let’s get to that now…


Oscar Winners


These lucky folk took home Oscars in the major categories:


Best Picture – The Hurt Locker

Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)

Best Actor – Jeff Bridges (Cray Heart)

Best Actress – Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

Best Supporting Actress – Mo’nique (Precious)

Best Original Screenplay – The Hurt Locker

Best Adapted Screenplay – Precious

Best Animated Film – Up

Best Foreign Language Film – The Secret In Their Eyes (Argentina)


Hurt Locker Conquers Avatar


Well, I’ve been saying that The Hurt Locker has been going to win since it won the Producer’s and Director’s Guild Awards and that has come to fruition.


I’m still struggling to accept it.  Avatar is a film that has reinvigorated people’s love of movies.  The box-office totals it has put up are obscene.  Now I know box-office doesn’t mean everything (ala Alice In Wonderland’s ridiculous $116m opening weekend – that’s another story) but it’s Avatar’s longevity at the box-office which talks in my opinion.  No film since Titanic has spent seven consecutive weeks atop the box-office charts in the U.S.  If the film was bad, trust me, it would out of the top 10 within a matter of weeks.  Word of mouth spreads like wildfire.


Now again, this doesn’t mean the film is Oscar worthy but I come back to my original review and describe it as a stunning, breathtaking adventure.  Just because it’s science fiction doesn’t make it any less of a film than say, a war flick or drama flick.  And yet, Avatar has fallen victim to the Academy’s mantra that science fiction and comedy films aren’t worthy of the top prize.  It’s just how it is.  I saw it twice and loved it just as much the second time.  It’s got all the elements of a wonderful movie.


Not everyone agrees.  We took talkback calls on 612ABC this morning with most very vocal in their support for The Hurt Locker over Avatar.  You can listen to the podcast of the show on the ABC Breakfast Blog by clicking here.


Anyway, what’s done is done.  Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win the best director Oscar and I admit, the direction is the best part of The Hurt Locker.  That’s two years in a row though (after Slumdog Millionaire) where I’ve felt underwhelmed by the best picture selection.


Hurt Locker finished with 6 wins and Avatar went home with 3 wins.  Other films with multiple wins were Precious, Up and Crazy Heart.


And The Oscar Goes To Sandra Bullock


I guess the other talking point is Sandra Bullock.  I wrote a blog a month ago about all the bad movies she’s made.  If you’d have said to me twelve months ago that Sandra Bullock would win an Academy Award next year, I’d have laughed in your face (with probably a little spittle coming out too).


That opinion wouldn’t have changed during the year.  The Proposal and All About Steve (which she won the Razzie for yesterday) were both ghastly.  Along came The Blind Side.  I liked it.  I liked Bullock in it.  The best thing she’s ever done.


I’ve also enjoyed Bullock on the awards circuit this year.  She speaks well and has a great sense of humour.  She followed in Halle Berry’s footsteps by accepting her Razzie for The Blind Side in person.


That said, she didn’t deserve to win.  Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe were both better in my eyes.  I had a late hunch that Sidibe might win after Precious upset Up In The Air for best adapted screenplay.  Not so.  Bullock’s performance certainly wasn’t the worst to win an Oscar but I’d have voted against her.




Anyone who follows the Oscars on a regular basis hopes for a few surprises.  It’s always nice to see the shocked look on someone’s face as their name is read and they start walking to the stage.  There were too big upsets which stood out for me.


Firstly, Precious winning best adapted screenplay over Up In The Air.  This one came out of left field.  Up In The Air had won almost every award in this category.  It won the BAFTA, the Golden Globe and the Writers’ Guild Award.  Precious hadn’t won a thing (except for the Independent Spirit Award).  Yet, Precious took the Oscar and a stunned Geoffrey Fletcher (writer) gave a nice speech on stage.  I feel bad for Jason Reitman (Up In The Air) – I thought his time had come after 3 great scripts in a row – Thank You For Smoking, Juno and now Up In The Air.


Secondly, The Secret In Their Eyes from Argentina won for best foreign language film.  I don’t know many people who saw this coming.  Most fancied A Prophet and The White Ribbon which had dominated lead up awards.  This can be a tricky category as only those Academy members who see all 5 nominated films can vote.  It doesn’t take too many votes to win and I guess Argentina’s entry won them over.  It’s the second time that Argentina has won (after taking the prize in 1985 for The Official Story).  Rolling Stones columnist Peter Travers summed it up best – “The Argentine film beating A Prophet and White Ribbon for best foreign film officially marks this category as nuts.


One of the more interesting moments of the Oscars came when Music For Prudence won best documentary short subject.  You can view the award being presented here.  You could definitely sense tension between the two winners.  There’s a good reason for that and you can read more here.


The unseen categories (documentary short subject, short film live action, short film animated) didn’t go as I’d hoped.  I bombed out there and went 0 for 3.  I managed 17 out of 21 for the remaining categories missing only actress, adapted screenplay, foreign language and cinematography.  So I guess that’s a pretty good result for me – 17 out of 24 in total.  I still wish I was wrong about Avatar.


Other Thoughts


This was the first time I’ve watched the Oscars live and it was great to be able to do so.  Tired I was of covering my ears at work and trying to avoid hearing any spoilers on the way home.  It was also great on Twitter – following the random thoughts of others on the web.  There was plenty of mud slinging and a lot of Avatar bashing.


@scrivenersfancy came up with the best Oscar zingers.  I won’t even try to match his sense of humour in this blog but if you’d like a few laughs, here are a sample of his offerings…


Is Barbra thinking 'If only "The Mirror Had Two Faces" had been in 3D'?
 - I'm sorry, is someone putting the Razzies to air by mistake?  (following Sandra Bullock’s win)
 - I was in the next room. Did 'Dante's Cove' just win an Oscar?  (following the win of The Cove for best documentary)
 -Thankfully James Taylor didn't die before the end of the montage.  (as Mr Taylor played during the in memoriam tribute)
 -Thank God they didn't let Roger Corman or Lauren Bacall make a speech. I really need to hear what Miley Cyrus has to say.
 -Maybe if Tarantino had spelt the title right, he might have won the writing prize.
 -Sounds to me like Randy Newman has been nominated 16 times for the same song.
 -Someone give an award to whoever pulled the plug on Richard Wilkins!


Also worth a read is this blog from Peter Taggart who compares the Oscars to a Parents & Citizens Association meeting.


I do love the Oscars.  They’re a great way to promote the medium of cinema and to honour those who have achieved the best (or close to it) in their respective fields.  The feeling that one must have when their name is read and the walk to the stage (while their “theme” music is playing) must be amazing.  I’m guessing most of guests are pretty drunk right now and so on that note, I bid you farewell.  We’ll do it all again next year!