This year's Oscars has to be the most creative and fantastic ceremony in a long time, well, if not ever! The choice of Hugh Jackman as master of ceremonies was excellent because the man knows how to sing, dance, and get close to his audience. He was not always on stage and did not usher in almost every presenter or banter afterwards but was qualitatively present throughout the evening. The Oscar organizers believe that the talk show like host stint of previous emcees has been done, so usher in the musical man, as witnessed by a tribute to a slew of musicals with Jackman and Beyonce Knowles. The first event for best supporting actress was so incredibly immediate that even on TV you felt its presence. Five previous winners gave tributes to the nominees in a beautiful testimony to each of the actors. The ritual was used for all the acting categories through the evening. It makes the Oscar competition truly a display of the nominees as equals with merits sung by previous winners in each of the categories such as Meryl Streep praised by Whoopie Goldberg, Anne Hathaway by Shirley MacLaine, and Robert Downing Jr by Cuba Gooding Jr. Other highlights was a sketch by Seth Rogen and James Franco who did an hilarious surfer dood take on the years best films and presenters Tina Fey and Steve Martin were brilliant for the adapted and original screenplay awards. This year there were three songs nominated for the best original song and a medley of the compositions from Wall E and Slumdog Millionaire again took the drum roll out of the competition. Taiko drummers and South African vocalists as backup made this one of the most spectacular events of the evening. Queen Latifa did a tribute to the stars and production experts who have passed this year including Paul Newman and Charlton Heston. For a posthumous award for best supporting actor Heath Ledger's parents and sister accepted on his behalf which was a sad and touching moment.
The Kodak Theater provided a stunning visual arena for intermedia displays of film clips and ingenious ways of presenting the different categories. An old Olivetti typewriter typed out the dialogue for the adapted and original screenplays, and a medley of the animation of 2009 kicked off the best animation category this year which was won by Wall E. The wide screen of the stage filled its space like an ocean reaching the edge of the sand.
Even the stars enjoyed the evening as witnessed by several standing ovations especially for the opening act by Jackson with his take on the big films of the year. Slumdog Millionaire was definitely the big winner with eight Oscars including best picture and the entire ensemble cast assembled on stage to pick up the award. Milk and several tributes for the passage of gay marriage met with resounding applause, the crowning moment being Sean Penn's acceptance speech for best actor who thanked "all the homos and commies" thereby addressing the hate protests outside the theater against the Hollywood industry. The evening was not flawless but the organizers of the pageant went out of their way to present something new, something that should forever change the course of the twists and turns of this four hour cavalcade with calvacade of Hollywood royalty and gifted artists from around the world. In Sweden the event was covered by two young film geeks and although it was over at 6am over here it was worth staying up all night.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm Sweden
© 2009 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 2/09