Thursday, 26 February 2009


The stakes were high this Sunday, February 23, for the 81st Annual Academy Awards ("The Oscars"), because of the terrible ratings of last year's telecast on ABC (

So, last september, Sid Ganis - president of the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) - gave the production of the event to Laurence Mark and Bill Condon ( Then the AMPAS asked Australian actor Hugh Jackman to host the show (

At the time your humble French servant made a cheap joke: « Wolverine: The AA’s Final Cut… ». The fact is I wanted Brit comedian extraordinary Ricky Gervais. Then I learned (how ignorant I am!) that Jackman hosted the prestigious Tony Awards - which recognize achievement in live American theatre - three times (2003-2005) and that he's a consumed entertainer.

I don't want to be trivial but the view of Hugh Jackman in a tux almost made cry the old James Bond fan I am, as he would have made an an acceptable 007 (even if Clive Owen is still my personal choice). The intro jokes were great, especially the « I'm an Australian, who played an Australian in a movie called Australia - Hosting ». And the « Next year I'll be starring in a movie called New Zealand » because of recession downsizing was brilliant.

All started rather well then came that - er, how to put it - embarassing opening number qualified by Nikki Finke as « Worst Academy Awards opening ever » ( She adds that the infamous 1989 opener with Rob Lowe and Snow White ( looks « like a masterpiece in comparison ». How cruel... But no, Snow White stays N°1. Poor Anne Hathaway, by the way...

The introduction of the nominees for the Best actress in a supporting role by five previous recipients of this category was heavy. But hearing Whoopi Goldberg saying « Your love interest is always off screen » when talking about nuns in the movies, made us wish she stayed to host. Is this line from former Hollywood Squares alumnus Bruce Vilanch - one of the authors?

One of the highlights of the evening was Tina Fey and Steve Martin for the the Best original screenplay category. Tina Fey was the best reason to watch SNL before the election, and Steve Martin is one of my childhood heroes - that's why I find Pink Panther 2 very sad. This segment was a great moment of fun but also of emotion, with the touching acceptance speech of Dustin Lance Black for Milk. Personnally, I would have given the Oscar to Martin McDonagh for In Bruges, one of the best films I've ever seen in my life of movie buff.

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), winner for the Best adapted screenplay, thanked his wife « for whom repressed English writers have to write love stories because they don't really say what they mean ». Wonderful! That's why the UK is the country of Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen.

(To be followed)

Part Two:
Part Three:

No comments: