Despite a rollicking introduction from Dr. Horrible himself, the Oscars seemed a smidge muted tonight. Was this because Avatar got trounced? Or was it because the show was so damn long I had to zahelu with a bottle of Glenlivet?
Was the 82nd Academy Awards science fiction's coming-out party? Perhaps not, but speculative fiction of all stripes put in a solid showing. A glitzed-up Neil Patrick Harris opened the festivities, Quentin Tarantino's alternate reality World War II epic scored early with a Christopher Waltz's Best Supporting Actor statuette, and Pixar's Up nabbed Best Animated Picture. Science fiction proper struggled to get its foot the door for the show's first half, until Star Trek finally scored Best Make Up.
Of course, the real story of the night was The Hurt Locker blanking Avatar - Kathryn Bigelow's bomb squad drama positively wrecked the highest grossing movie of all time, snatching the Best Picture, Best Director, and a number of technical awards from the 3D space odyssey. Avatar walked away with Best Art Direction, Visual Effects, and Cinematography.
Other stray observations/factoids from the Oscars:
- Tina Fey makes a fine Wilma Flintstone. I'm pretty sure RDJ has a switch on the neck that oscillates between two settings: endearingly raffish and caddishly rakish.
- Ben Stiller had a rip-raring case of feline hepatitis. Good gag though, reminded me more of Heat Vision and Jack-era Ben Stiller and less Heartbreak Kid-era Ben Stiller.
- Speaking of Heat Vision and Jack, Ron Silver was mentioned in memoriam. Thanks for the memories, Ron.
- Also equally endearing to see Roger Corman get plaudits and Lost composer Michael Giacchino win for Up.
- Intepretative breakdancing is perhaps the only thing that could make breakdancing look uncool.
- Does Best Animated Short winner Logorama qualify as science fiction? Does Logorama qualify as good? Commentators in the know, go to town.
- The disproportionate amount of From Dusk Til Dawn footage in tribute to horror movies made me extremely happy. Also nice to see Leprechaun get Academy love.
- Although Avatar wasn't my favorite movie of last year, my heart broke a little bit when James Cameron's death-mask fake smile came on Kathryn Bigelow won. Sure, Avatar made enough for Cameron to smelt down Fort Knox into a chateau, but that joy on his face is downright golem-like.
In other news, science fiction rocked the Razzies this year. Here's the litany of ignominies:
- Worst Picture of 2009: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
- Worst Supporting Actress: Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe)
- Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel: Land of The Lost
- Worst Director: Michael Bay (Revenge Of The Fallen)
- Worst Screenplay: Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman Revenge Of The Fallen
- Worst Picture of the Decade: Battlefield Earth