Tag Archives: Oscar

Oscar Gala – Best Leading Actress

Sandra Bullock won’t beat Gabourey Sidibe for a Best Leading Actress award (She can’t. I mean I’m not going to a watch a tedious awards show unless I’m roped into it or someone amusing is live blogging it, but if she does beat Precious I think that entire auditorium may implode onto a pile of uneaten vanilla-mousse filled chocolate shells. Or maybe Alec Baldwin’s hair will burst into flames. It can’t happen), but her nomination lets us remember the many years of shallow amusement she has helped to provide us. Good on her for films like the below. Because I watched While You Were Sleeping about 6 times one month, and that is a symptom that something else is very wrong that needs introspection and meditation and thought.

Heather Struck

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Oscar-Gala Part 1

Because predicting Oscar winners and losers is what we do in moments of boredom. Not that there’s anything right about that. According to my historical logic, Up In The Air wins Best Picture and Avatar takes home a BAFTA for Best Actress. Here is Part 1:

AvatarKill Bill (Not nominated, 2003)

The $300 million sci-fi back-breaker that J. Hoberman¬†says is a “spectacular instance of political correctness,” I simply call really freakin disappointing. If this is Sci Fi, why is it not acting like it, and if it is expanding the boundaries of a genre, it didn’t work. Sigourney Weaver’s presence in the film tears at my heart and makes me wish for a scene half as awe-inspiring as one from Alien, and one that campaigns for whatever office he’s going for three times less vehemently. The campaign fails because Avatar is a film that seems to have lost its real plot somewhere in production, and is left with a project that is predictable, reused and offensive, which is exactly how this writer felt, as she wrote for The Awl. Hoberman is right to expect a back-lash from the Right as much as Bustillos is right to expect one from women. The former may deride Hollywood and 20th Century Fox for the audacity to pointedly bash the Bush years with little dropped-in lines like “shock and awe” and a delightful ideological battle between science and political power, ¬†but he fails to expect a similar backlash from the Left. What, exactly, are we watching? And why is the American colonization story being used so fluidly without even a nod to the origins of that story? Is this a space story or not, man? I liked some of Kill Bill, but Tarantino’s eagerness to fly his film’s heroine from genre plot point to genre plot point was too jarring to form a cohesive whole. We were left with pieces of some pretty cool filmmaking, but not a film. Cameron hit the same errors with his passionate flight to make a film he could burst back on the scene with. He didn’t realize that 2009 is a far throw from 1994. You just can’t pull one over on us anymore.

Up In The AirCrash (Best Picture, 2005)

Jason Reitman’s respectably neat film may be this Oscar season’s Crash, not in the sense that it’s an overblown, overrated act of atmosphere, but because it offered a view of ourselves in 2009 that seemed to flow directly into a recognizable cultural ethos. Up In The Air is a good film with a surprising ending and actors who are up to the task of comedy and everyday drama. It finally, in the end, shows us that we are indeed wounded by an economic storm that has left more men and women out of work than have been in 3 decades. Its real effectiveness, however, is in Reitman’s ability to draw out the flaws and desires of his central character, whose own heartbreak and ultimate realization mirror our own. We were ready for this easy film because it happily reminds us how to live. And we will always take that reminder.

-Heather Struck