Monday, February 28, 2005

The Aftermath: Post-Oscar Analysis '05

Unfortunately, another Academy Awards have passed containing barely any surprises at all. Anticipating Chris Rock as being a “controversial” emcee, proved to be of no consequence. Although he did spice up the show (somewhat), he did not do or say anything surprising and/or memorable. Furthermore, with a vast majority of the favorites going home happy, the most unexpected moments of the night occurred with the anticlimactic announcements of both the “Adapted Screenplay” and the “Original Song” awards. However, at the pinnacle of the evening, the pieces fortunately fell into place.

At the onset of the night, it seemed to spell out an all-out Aviator evening with Scorsese’s picture taking home the awards for “Art Direction,” “Costume Design,” “Film Editing,” and “Cinematography.” However, towards the closing of the ceremony, Million Dollar Baby stole the momentum—taking four of the “Big Six” including “Best Supporting Actor,” “Best Actress,” “Best Director,” and “Best Picture.”

My only disappointments throughout the evening were that Clive Owen did not emerge victorious over Morgan Freeman’s overrated performance and that not one single soul delivered a speech worth storing in the brain. Jamie Foxx’s was probably the most emotional, but lacked structure; Hilary Swank’s was very warm and appreciative, but truthfully, she just read off a list of names; all things considered, every one of this year’s acceptance speeches was a little too lackluster for my liking. Oddly enough, the one that brought the biggest smile to my face was Charlie Kauffman’s brief, creative, and short-on-thank-yous speech.

On the upside, and from a more fashion-oriented lens, the ladies looked great – especially, Hilary Swank, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and of course Julia Roberts. Also on a positive note, the Academy did not fall under the spell of selecting Scorsese and his picture out of pity. Scorsese now joins the ranks of Alfred Hitchcock as a director who was denied an Oscar for his first five nominations. The true champion and crowd favorite, Mr. Clint Eastwood, won the bout by a close decision, and with his gloves held high, made the night his own.

In general, the night was not as fulfilling as I imagined it to be beforehand. However, with the exception of a few of the “smaller” nominees not triumphing over the competition, everything either went as I wanted or as I anticipated. All together, I was 15 for 21 with my predictions. On a percentage scale, that may be an average grade, but on the whole, I scored two points higher than last year--even with adding eight additional predictions this year.

Fortunately for me, my predictions improved upon last year’s, and fortunately for the Academy – over the past two years – their selections seem to be hitting the nail on the head more and more. All they need now is to shorten the ceremony a tad further and to oust the use of Beyonce performing the majority of the songs.

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005