Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Joy

I've always loved movies. I've been wanting to work on them since I was little. I've had an opportunity to do that to a small degree since I've been living in LA. The Oscars have always been a fun night for me, not just because they celebrate some of the best films of the past year, but also because they give me an opportunity to put my prognosticating skills to the test.

I've been making Oscar picks since the mid-1990's, and I usually do pretty well (65%+). Last year, for the first time since 1997, I won my Oscar pool with 17 correct picks out of 24 (71%). This year, since it was so difficult to see them, I didn't make any picks in the short film categories, or in Foreign Language film. I went 13/20 in the categories I did call, right at my typical 65%. Though I am a trained film composer, I extended my streak of failing to correctly call the Original Score category to 6 years.

I was very pleased to see the Academy recognize the superior technical work done on the Bourne Ultimatum. I think those movies have reinvented the action genre, making it much more immediate and cerebral than other recent films. That innovation came across in the editing and, particularly, sound work on the films. Think of how many gunshots we've heard in movies; somehow, Bourne made that sound harsher and more visceral than anything I'd heard before. It was like hearing that sound for the first time again. Brilliant.

I was watching the awards with my wife and our friends, K&K, and we all jumped for joy when "Falling Slowly" from Once won for Original Song. After years of rewarding slickly produced, cheesy pop ballads that didn't appear in the movie until the end credits, I think the Academy has been getting this award right for the most part recently. "Lose Yourself" and "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" showed that the voters could look beyond genre to find the song that meant the most to the film that featured it, which, to me, is the spirit of the award. All of the nominees this year embodied that spirit (but where was the pie song from "Waitress"?), but Once was the film that depended the most upon music for its success. The earnestness with which the actors performed the songs made a very low-rent indie into something extraordinary. Inspiring for those of us who aspire to make films without having a lot of money with which to do it!

Favorite moment in the telecast likely thought up by a writer: Oscar's Tribute to Binoculars and Periscopes.

Favorite moment in the telecast likely not thought up by a writer: Bringing Marketa Irglova back out on stage to give her acceptance speech.

Quick Twins note: It's heartening to hear that Gardy is leaning toward having Mauer batting 2nd, and that he thinks he'll start with Young batting after Morneau. My lineup looks pretty good so far! Good reports on Jesse Crain's progress - hopefully Liriano will look as good when he shows up tomorrow.

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