The Oscars went to the dogs this year, SlumDogs that is! The $15 million budget 'SlumDog Millionaire' was expected to be the top winner of the 2009 Academy Awards, and it took the top prize for Best Motion Picture of 2008. A badly-coiffed and fake-bearded Ben Stiller, mocking Joaquin Phoenix, joked about the low-budget movie saying, “the whole film was shot with a camera phone”. Money not withstanding, the “little-film-that-could” won eight out of 10 nominations.  

From the couch, the three and a half hour 81st Annual Academy Awards were more than tolerable to watch.This year's production, intimate setting, multi-screen visual presentations and the Kodak theater itself looked magnificent and reminiscent of Hollywood's glory days.  Previous Oscar winners teamed-up on stage like All Stars of the trade, and presented top category winners with the golden statuette after delivering personalized tributes to each of the nominees. Anne Hathaway was visibly moved by presenter Shirley MaClain's words – a past Best Supporting actress Oscar-winner herself – as she told the young actress that she expected many more nominations for her to come after this one.

Hugh Jackman did a wonderful job as MC, multi-talented and a class act. After tonight, I will never think of him as Wolverine again. Hathaway also captivated the audience as she showcased her acting and singing versatility on stage in a number performed with Jackman. Is there nothing this girl can't do?

Not resisting temptation, cameras satisfied our curiosity when they cut to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie twice while Jeniffer Aniston was presenting awards. We were all thinking about Brangelina at that very moment anyway …

The obvious lack of teens and adolescents (except for HSM) in this years batch of movies had my teen aged daughter scouting out the audience for a glimpse of any of her famous peers. She was instantly rewarded when she spotted Robert Pattinson – not a teen, but plays Edward Cullen in the teen film 'Twilight'- sitting behind Mikey Rourke (nominated  for Best Actor in 'The Wrestler'), as the camera focused on Rourke while Sir Ben Kingsley addressed him before announcing the winner for Best Supporting Actor.

In case you didn't tune in, the Oscar winners this year were: Best Supporting Actress, Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actor, the late Heath Ledger, Best Actor, Sean Penn, Best Actress, Kate Winslet, Best Director, Danny Boyle and Best Picture, 'SlumDog Millionaire'.

Watching the Academy awards show with my family was a special treat this time; restraint resulted in limited use of the three second delay, and for us, five generations of actors and actresses on stage all at once, from Sofia Loren to Haley Berry, was the take-my-breath-away moment of the evening.

We even thought the telecast was shorter than usual. Did it have fewer commercials, or was the show just that good?


  1. Anonymous says:

    They were just that good! I agree with everything you said! I thought the idea of bringing out past winners to comment on the nominees was wonderful and moved me to tears with the ladies. I was also especially pleased to see how they “dressed up” some of the categories that are traditionally viewed as not as exciting as the acting awards. I am specifically speaking about the make-up, set design and costuming awards. I loved they way they rolled out sets/backgrounds that gave a visual feel to the categories.
    Hugh Jackman was WONDERFUL! I have to admit… I wasn't fully versed in all of his talents. When I heard he was hosting I kept saying to my husband… “The guy who plays Wolverine??? REALLY??”. I have always loved Anne Hathaway… I love her even more and now would like to see her do a musical!
    I was terribly afraid that given the economic state the Oscars would be toned down to the point of depression. I'm glad to see the producers gave us all something to make us laugh and remember why we love Hollywood!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Agree with your notes, and even added a Robert Pattinson video blurb in the piece I wrote a bit about it on Shaping Youth here:
    My topic was how new media formats are shifting the show and the conversation; engaging in dialogue vs. passive media observation. (e.g. backstage Twittering, social media commentary live chat, etc.)
    On The Red was the hot spot for ‘go to’ media and visual slideshows, so I highlighted it a bit since a quick look at the icon will reveal the platform is a simple Typepad blog!
    Now I want to do a piece about the 'Night to Make a Difference' party that Leeza G. and ONJ hosted, as I think the philanthropy needs reinforced to shift the narcissism to graciousness, particularly since Slumdog's topicality should drive this point home! (and I'm glad they're setting up trust funds for those kids, but there should be additional interplay in terms of leveraging the power of this 'win' for positive change to shine the spotlight on Mumbai and what needs to take place there to make a difference!)
    Keep in touch, –Amy

  3. Anonymous says:

    Amy, You make it clear that 'SlumDog' could be more than just an Oscar-Winning movie because the topic could have a far greater impact on the culture, and perhaps even in our own backyard … we certainly need more movies like this one to open our eyes to others' realities. And excellent news about the trust funds for the cute kids. I thought they stole the show!
    Love your blog too!

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