This year’s Oscar ceremony was very different from the usual. I was glad that they skipped all of the cynical humor that usually comes with this evening. Given the current worldwide situation, jabs at Hollywood, any political administration or even banks would have been out of order. As always The Oscars are meant to take us back to the glamour and glitz of old Hollywood. They’re supposed to take us back to that Hollywood that really doesn’t exist any more and possibly never really did, except in people’s fantasies. The Swarovski crystals, the blue design, and the backdrop were truly fabulous and did evoke that Hollywood fantasy for me. And given our current situation, what’s wrong with fantasizing?
Hugh Jackman was suppose to bring back that old sense of Hollywood as well, I guess. He was very congenial and fun, for the most part. But is he supposed to be able to sing? Dance, yes… But sing? I really didn’t get the whole tribute to The Musical, especially when none of the nominees had anything to do with musicals. It seemed like it was more of a tribute to Broadway but the song and dance didn’t work for me, especially that scatterbrain medley with Beyonce.
I did like the way the actor and actress awards were presented. I thought it added a personal and human touch that the show needs. I was pretty much spot on with my Oscar predictions, with the exception of Original Screenplay, which went to Milk instead of In Bruges. I was thrilled at the Academy’s honoring of Milk and Sean Penn as much as I was that they gave Slumdog Millionaire as many awards as they did. It was one time when I thought they really got it all right.
The highlight of the evening for me, however, was Sean Penn’s acceptance speech. After Proposition 8 passing in California, Obama choosing Rick Warren for his benediction and the gay bishop who was never broadcast at the inauguration, it was time that some public event went in the direction of equality and gay rights. Sean Penn‘s speech brought tears to my eyes and I agree with every word of it. Let’s just hope that enough straight people stop passively agreeing with him and start actively talking about how gay marriage is a right that is worth fighting for.
Here is Sean Penn‘s speech: