» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments

Oscars 2010: Academy Award winners

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 8, 2010; 12:30 PM

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday was online Monday, March 8 at 12:30 p.m. ET to discuss this year's Academy Award winners, announced at the Oscars on Sunday, March 7.

Full Coverage: 2010 Academy Awards

____________________

Ann Hornaday: Good afternoon chatters! So...Let's talk Oscars!

_______________________

Minneapolis: Hi Ann -- Thanks for taking questions today. I found it somewhat odd that in their speeches neither Mo'Nique nor the screenwriter for "Precious" acknowledged Sapphire, the very talented writer who wrote "Push," the amazing book on which the movie is based -- the screenwriter especially, given that he won for best adaptation. I know he was not expected to win, but come on. Her name is in the title of the film! If I were Sapphire I'd be more than just a little annoyed, but maybe it's just me -- I'm a writer.

Ann Hornaday: Greetings Minneapolis, my ancestral hometown! Hope you're enjoying some spring there like we are! You're right that Mo'Nique nor Mr. Fletcher mentioned Sapphire by name, but in their defense: I can only imagine being up there and having to think on your feet (in Mo'Nique's case high-heeled fabulous feet) and, as Fletcher himself said, "drawing a blank." If I'm not mistaken, that was Sapphire herself sitting next to Lenny Kravtiz, looking happier than anyone when they won...So I would venture to guess there are no hard feelings. One of my favorite Oscar speeches of all time was when Steven Soderbergh very calmly said he would thank everyone he needed to privately. Classy. And a good way to deflect the inevitable 'D'oh!' moment the next morning!

_______________________

Los Angeles, CA: I've heard it said that Actors couldn't win a major Academy award for playing a Nazi given the Jewish influence in Hollywood, and no Actor won one before Cristoph Waltz. Some say that's why Ray Fiennes didn't win Best Supporting Actor for his role as Nazi Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. Was that saying a just a myth, has the Jewish Hollywood influence declined somewhat, was Cristoph Waltz really that good compared to other nominees, did Quentin Tarantino's brilliance play a role or what?

Ann Hornaday: Hmm, you're testing my Oscar trivia now. I admit I've never heard that theory, and something tells me it can't be true...As for Waltz's performance itself, I do think it was very strong, probably my favorite thing about that particular movie...The only other one I could see besting it was Matt Damon in INVICTUS, I thought he did a great job with that role. And actually, if they had nominated Stanley Tucci for JULIE & JULIA and not THE LOVELY BONES, I think he might have had a good shot.

_______________________

Least Gracious: The woman who accepted for best costume design. Her acceptance speech, summed up: "Well, I already have some of these (Oscars), (e.g., so big whoop), so this one is really for all of my competitors, but I'm taking it home." Snotty, snarky, and she was wearing an ugly green dress and dreadful hat thingy.

Ann Hornaday: That *was* something, wasn't it? Except I did like it when she recognized her colleagues working in contemporary dramas and indie films...And then tartly announced she'd be taking the statue home, thank-you-very-much. Couldn't tell if she was exhibiting deliciously dry wit or breathtaking arrogance!

_______________________

10 is at least 9 too many: Where are the Classic Movies of tomorrow? I am a huge movie buff, and I watch everything from classics to new to blockbusters to documentaries to foreign films. I even studied film in college. But for the past 10-20 years, I've been dismayed at the lack of any truly "great" films. And by "great" I mean films that will be remembered and studied for decades to come. The last truly great film decade I think was the 1970 (think The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and many many others) Avatar will be studied for its technology. But if you took away the 3-D special effects, it would never have been nominated. Try to name one film that won the Best Picture Oscar in the past 20 years that will be studied and loved in another 50 years. I think Schindler's List will be on that list (1993), but nothing else. It's kind of sad. On the other hand, I think the documentaries have gotten much better over the past 20 years. It's too bad more of them aren't nominated for Best Picture. I think The Cove and Food Inc were both better films than any of the Best Picture nominees this year.

Ann Hornaday: I think you have a point. There has been a sense in recent years that the luster has gone out of the Best Picture category...That sense of timeless, epic greatness. However, it's easy to forget that there have been some lame ones in past years too (who can forget the year ROCKY stole it from ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, TAXI DRIVER and NETWORK?) Still, I *love* your idea of including documentaries in the category, which I agree it's past time to do. They've broken the animated barrier, it's time for nonfiction -- and, for that matter, comedies. Another genre that's been unfairly snubbed.

_______________________

Do they still give lifetime achievement awards?: Although the Best Actress and Best Actor awards state, as far as I know, "best performance," referring to one performance, they often blatantly seem rewards for a career (especially if one's individual works haven't so far been judged to be the best in a particular year). Martin Scorcese's Best Director award and Jeff Bridge's Best Actor award come to mind. Do academy voters worry in such cases that they might not have more chance to reward the person? If so, what about Peter O'Toole, who was royally snubbed when he didn't bet the Oscar for "Lawrence of Arabia"?

Ann Hornaday: I make no claim of understanding the motivations of Academy voters. ... I do think there are those years when they vote because "it's time" -- but I also think they take the work and the award seriously enough that they would never reward a sub-par outing just because "it's time." As for Bridges, it was a terrific performance -- as were the other four. If any of the others had won, it would have been just as richly deserved. This is a roundabout way of saying that I think being nominated is a huge deal that often gets overlooked, which is why the Academy has added the element of past winners coming out and honoring the nominees. I know it sometimes feels starchy and weird, but I love it. Hundreds of movies come out every year and having your work recognized as one of the five best is *huge*!

_______________________

Boonsboro, MD: A little off-topic, a question on the show itself: What was with Alec Baldwin and George Clooney and the staring contest? Did I miss a joke?

Ann Hornaday: I'm not sure -- there has been some chatter today about Clooney seeming kind of tense...Or maybe it was part of a pre-conceived act. There were moments when the camera scanned the audience when I thought the whole room looked really subdued and almost dour. The vibe was strangely downbeat and edgy. That said, I do love Clooney's little comic takes when the camera lands on him, they're usually pretty spot-on.

_______________________

Cambridge MA: I saw the "Hurt Locker" several months ago before it became so well-known, and thought it was a well-done, deeply sad picture of war and what it does to the soldiers who fight it and survive. I never expected it to win the Oscar for Best Picture, mostly because the American public has been so averse to Iraq war movies. Perhpas its winning has in part to do with our new willingness to look at the wars we have been fighting for several years. Your thoughts?

Ann Hornaday: Hi Cambridge -- I'm glad you saw THE HURT LOCKER and felt, as I did, that it was a powerful work of art. As for whether the Best Picture nod reflected the American mood, I'm not sure...We must remember that filmgoers don't vote on these awards, they're given by film professionals, who really do look at the technical and artistic prowess and sensibility of the films they're assessing. That said, I'm hoping that the added awareness will send more people to see THE HURT LOCKER, which may indeed prove that people are willing to confront some painful truths in a new way.

_______________________

Best picture award?: Did Hurt Locker "win" or did Avatar "lose"? Did the Academy decide that a) Cameron didn't need the props since he made a bazillion dollars or b) they weren't yet ready to honor a sci-fi film? (2001, arguably a better sci-fi film, didn't win Best Picture but remains an iconic achievement.)

Ann Hornaday: I haven't seen any post mortems yet today on the why's and wherefores of how THE HURT LOCKER edged out AVATAR, which I think qualifies as a major upset. I don't think sci-fi had anything to do with it; more likely, the Academy simply thought Bigelow and her producers did more with less, delivering a stunning cinematic achievement with ingenuity, grit and a wise use of limited resources.

Another possibility is that the actors who make up the biggest voting bloc in the organization didn't want to reward a movie that used computer-generated characters -- a step toward making actors themselves irrelevant!

_______________________

Kanye like takeover: I was stunned when one of the short filmmakers was interrupted in his acceptance speech by a seemingly random older woman shouting "They never let a woman speak. Let a woman speak!" Then she totally took up all his time with incomprehensible blather. What happened there? Who was she? Why was she so rude? Did that filmmaker get another forum to speak later? I felt badly for him.

Ann Hornaday: That was, as they say, "awk-werd!" Turns out that the producer, Elinor Burkett, and the director, Roger Ross Williams, had had a falling out. Salon reported on it, and I'll post the link. Too bad they couldn't come to terms before the big moment.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: Salon -- The story behind Oscar's "Kanye moment"

Ann Hornaday: Here's the link:

_______________________

Annapolis: Perhaps I was reading too much from the facial expression, but when Alec Baldwin was picking on George Clooney during the opening, didn't Clooney look perturbed? If so, why? Its all in fun.

Ann Hornaday: This will be the continuing mystery, obviously...The fact that they repeated the bit tells me it was all in fun and maybe just didn't "read" for the TV audience...?

_______________________

Maryland: Unfunny. That's my one word to describe the combo of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I might also add boring. I thought the spoof of Parnormal Activity was sort of funny. But the rest was very, very bad. IMO.

Ann Hornaday: Wow I totally disagree! I thought they were hilarious, and agree that the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY bit was great...Also the Slankets...But then again I love those guys, so maybe I'm biased! Chatters, anyone want to weigh in on Alec and Steve?

_______________________

Dupont Circle, D.C.: What in the heck was Sean Penn babbling on about?

Ann Hornaday: I'm not exactly sure. As best as I can guess, he might have been alluding to the fact that, with only five nominees, the Academy perforce has to leave some wonderful actresses out...And maybe he was referring to having not thanked Robin Wright Penn last year? That's all I could come up with. If anyone has a better theory -- or actual facts! -- please share.

_______________________

Silver Spring: Ann, I was so bored by the show -- at least one real upset would have been nice. The best line was missed by everyone -- Ben Stiller's Na'avi speech where he incorporated Passover and the Hebrew blessing for wine.

Ann Hornaday: LOVED Ben. Loved him. I agree that the results themselves were mostly unsurprising...But there *were* a couple of upsets: THL besting AVATAR for Best Picture, for example. And I thought Geoffrey Fletcher winning for Best Adapted Screenplay was a surprise (I expected UP IN THE AIR to win). Oh, and I don't think anyone expected the film that won Best Foreign Language Film to win over THE WHITE RIBBON or A PROPHET. A genuine shocker!

_______________________

Herndon, VA: Avatar wins for cinematography? Really? Pointing a camera at a green screen gets you an Oscar these days?

Ann Hornaday: Well....I think it was slightly more than that. And Cameron *did* invent a new 3-D camera to make AVATAR, so...I think they were rewarding innovation. I kind of thought THE WHITE RIBBON might win that one, its black-and-white photography was so stunning. And/or Bob Richardson, who is so brilliant (love him).

_______________________

Ellicott City, MD: "The Hurt Locker" is Best Picture? Seriously? I'm a big fan of war movies, and I thought this one was just average. What am I missing?

Ann Hornaday: Well...I'll admit I thought it was a masterpiece! I think what Bigelow achieved -- capturing the chaos of war in a way that rendered it legible on screen -- is immensely difficult to do. With a great script, bold camera work, superb performances and brilliant editing, she created as immersive and immediate a cinematic experience as James Cameron did with millions upon millions of dollars worth of computer effects and 3-D.

I could go on, but we're running out of time. I'll link to my review, where with luck I was more eloquent and convincing!

_______________________

Bigelow win: Do you think Kathryn Bigelow won in part because "The Hurt Locker" was a masculine movie? Did "The Hurt Locker" being a war movie rather than "women's" movie make it easier/safer for voters to break the gender barrier in the Best Director category?

Ann Hornaday: Not sure about that -- I think the professionals in the Academy recognized that she just shot the heck out of that movie and quite simply did a magnificent job of bringing it in. I think for them it was a feat of sheer chops, and they had to reward it. As I've been saying, good for them not for finally giving a Best Director Oscar to a woman, but for giving it to the *right* woman.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: 'Locker' Serves as Iraq Tour De Force

Ann Hornaday: Here's my review of THE HURT LOCKER.

_______________________

Bridges = Kristofferson: There was much comment in last night's blog/chat about how much they resemble each other. I agree, but it should be noted that Jeff Bridges is now filming a Coen brothers remake of the 1960s Western "True Grit," which explains why he still has his beard and long hair from "Crazy Heart." A well-deserved win, and he seems like a genuinely good guy.

washingtonpost.com: Transcript: Live Academy Awards chat

Ann Hornaday: So true, and I think his wife was the prettiest woman in the room.

_______________________

Arlington, VA: All of the animated shorts were wonderful. I thought Wallace and Gromit was going to win another, but Logorama was stunning. Loved it when I saw it, and I knew that it was W&G's only competition. Let's hear it for French animators!!!

And Charlize Theron's stylist needs to be fired for that dress.

Ann Hornaday: Oui oui! I hated to see my beloved W&G lose, but Vive La France! And I'd add Zoe Saldana's stylist to the Out list...

_______________________

I'd like to thank the Academy: ...for sticking it to "The director formerly known as King" James Cameron. I didn't stay up to watch, so it put me in a good mood this morning to learn of the results.

Ann Hornaday: I was in a good mood, too! So nice when the Best Picture is actually the best picture!

_______________________

McLean, VA: I know it's not one of the big categories, but having seen 4 of the 5 Best Score movies, how the heck did Up (deserving of a nomination but weakest of the 4 I saw) beat Sherlock Holmes??

Ann Hornaday: You're kidding, right? Please tell me you're kidding. If you're not...We'll have to agree to disagree on both the sublime UP and the execrable SHERLOCK HOLMES. I have a feeling some chatters will have thoughts and feeling about this one...

_______________________

Erik Gaull, Washington, DC: I thought Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech was the best of the night -- topping the others with its class and humor. Thoughts on the subject?

Ann Hornaday: Per. Fection. Throughout the pre-Oscar awards show and campaign season, she has been unfailingly delightful. I was really sorry to read today that she thinks The Washington Post "hates" her. Because I, for one, *love* her. She deserved that Oscar and her speech could not have been more funny, smart, gracious and moving. Brava!

_______________________

Arlington, Va: Was the expansion of the number of Best Picture Nominees from five to ten simply a way to boost DVD sales ("Academy Award Best Picture Nomination" plastered on the covers)? Theoretically, a movie could now win with little more than 10% of the total vote. That doesn't seem like a great method to select an award.

Ann Hornaday: I think the conventional wisdom is that the Big Ten was a way to boost TV ratings (by including more popular movies) adn DVD sales (which have been flagging of late). It'll be intersting to see if the gambit worked in either regard.

_______________________

Harrisburg, PA: Thank you for hosting, Ann- love your insights! What was going on with the Prudence speech? It was like that lady pulled a Kanye and was talking about something else entirely. Also, Martin and Baldwin's reactions to Clooney in the opening- why were they acting that way towards him?

Ann Hornaday: Thanks for joining us, Harrisburg! See previous comments and links vis-a-vis your questions. Always great to have you!

_______________________

Falls Church, VA: Do you think Hurt Locker won because of split voting with the now higher number of 10 nominees, or is it because people finally realized that without the special effects, Avatar was really a pretty mediocre movie with bad acting, plodding storyline, etc).

And didn't it seem suspicious that Barbara Streisand seemed strategically placed to give the award to the first female director, even incorporating that possibility prominently into her own remarks? Like she knew in advance?

Ann Hornaday: I have to admit, when Streisan walked out, I said "Babs means Kathryn." It did seem pretty sealed and delivered. As for the new voting system, I came thisclose to flunking math, so I defer to the wiser among us to decipher the percentages! I'm just glad a great movie won!

_______________________

Washington, DC: I was disappointed that Up in the Air won nothing, considering all three leads got nominations--what happened there? Was that why George Clooney looked so cranky?

And why didn't Crazy Heart get nominated for best picture, particularly with two nominations for the leads, and a much larger field for best picture?

Ann Hornaday: I was surprised UP IN THE AIR didn't get *something* (like Adapted Screenplay), I loved that movie, too. I'll revert to my "the nomination is the award" stance. It deserved all the love it got, even if it didn't get all the love it deserved! And I too thought CRAZY HEART might have been a good contender for Best Picture, but...just not this year I guess.

Chatters, we have tons of questions and comments and unfortunately I need to file a review, so with your forbearance I'll fly through a few more with a minimum of blather on my part so you can share your thoughts.

_______________________

Oscars on Sunday: How come the Oscars aren't on Saturday night, which would be better for party attendance? If it's going to last 3 hours, why doesn't Hollywood play it up like a Super Bowl, with a musical act at an intermission?

Ann Hornaday: Hmmm, bold! Although the thought of one more musical act makes me want to bolt for the hills...

_______________________

Short Documentaries: I know no one cares about the short docs, but--"Music by Prudence"? Seriously? Seriously? Why? I would have ranked it fourth of five. It was a nice enough snapshot, but I didn't feel it tread any new territory.

Ann Hornaday: Interesting...

_______________________

Good wins: So glad Kathryn Bigelow, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock won. Now, if only I could squeeze in time to go see their movies...

Ann Hornaday: Believe me, they're all worth it! Go!

_______________________

Can you explain the joke behind the Clooney scowling during the monologue?: I didn't get it.

Ann Hornaday: One more for the "huh? column...

_______________________

I was surprised (and happy) "Up in the Air" was snubbed for adapted screenplay: Did Reitman's initial denial that it was based on the other guy's original draft come back to bite him?

Ann Hornaday: Oh I didn't realize he initially denied it, I always thought he was pretty gracious about that first draft...But maybe.

_______________________

Go Hurt Locker! Totally deserved.: I hope people seek out this amazing film - chilling thrill ride!

Ann Hornaday: Of course I second this emotion!

_______________________

Downtown DC: You know, I'd like to see a year where the best performances won, not just the person who was "due." I like Bridges and Bullock as much as the next person, and agree that both did a solid job in their respective films, but Colin Firth and Meryl Streep gave that shining performances on the year (IMO). And it would be more fun if we did not already know who will win the acting awards ahead of time. Thoughts?

Ann Hornaday: I would have had no problem with Firth winning, but I didn't think Streep's Julia Child was on the same level of SOPHIE'S CHOICE or KRAMER VS. KRAMER. I thought Bullock deserved it for a deceptively subtle performance.

_______________________

Best Actor: Jeremy Renner and Dug the Dog were robbed. One of them should have won! Dug really needs his own show...

Ann Hornaday: Love that Dug! And I was thrilled that Jeremy Renner got the recognition for a truly amazing performance.

_______________________

Ann Hornaday: Chatters, I'm so sorry but we've run out of time. Thanks to everyone who joined the chat today, and apologies to those whose questions and comments I didn't manage to get to. With luck we'll have time together again in the near future! On to Oscars 2011! Start making your lists! Cheers everyone!

_______________________

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


» This Story:Read +|Watch +|Talk +| Comments
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity