Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Oscars

While over 35 million people spent their Sunday nights watching the 2010 Oscar telecast, I and 3 million of my closest friends had to choose between Dateline and the Amazing Race because Cablevision pulled ABC from the air OR ABC didn't allow Cablevision to broadcast their otherwise free channel. Cablevision even offered to allow its subscribers to watch Movies on Demand for free but when we went to try and do that, but of course, it didn't work. Thanks Cablevision.

Regardless of who is right in this argument, I was pissed and wanted to watch the Oscars. So instead I watched Undercover Boss as I trawled (or is it trolled) the internet on my laptop looking for an online telecast of the show and not just the red carpet entrances, but to no avail. Then at around 10:30 I realized one of my facebook friends mentioned that miraculously the telecast had come back on. Did the superpowers behind the ABC/Cablevision have mercy and call a cease fire for a brief moment to bring peace to the world and allow the viewers to come together in harmony to watch the Oscars? I didn't care what the reason, the Oscars were on and I was going to finally watch it. So I watched the cinematography award given out , the horror film montage, the memorial montage, sat through one dance number and decided the magic was gone and went to bed. Sorry, too little too late. The enthusiasm was gone.
Not that I am an Oscar junkie or hold Oscar parties to rate the star's wardrobes, or even have a pool to bet on the winners. I do none of that. As a matter of fact, I can't stand the self congratulatory, god worshipping that goes on in Hollywood and its Romanesque triumphal parade which is the Oscars. That's not to say I don't dream one day of winning one of those gold statuettes for myself so I can look out at all my peers and say, HA! For ONCE, I am better than you! No. I enjoy watching the Oscars for other reasons.

1) To see who wins Best Animated Feature, because animation am my business. I learned this morning the winner was UP. Shocker! Who'd have guessed it that a small little studio like Pixar would run away with this years award. Why did the other films even bother showing up? Actually the fact the "The Secret of Kells" was nominated was a great inspiration for smaller studios who are still holding on to the notion that traditional animation is alive and well. Disney's "Princess and the Frog" helped too. I Actually have not seen "Secret of the Kells" yet, but the images and scenes from Ireland's Cartoon Saloon's production are beautiful and confirm why I got into this industry in the first place.

2) To see who wins Best Animated Short so I can wallow in self pity that I haven't created an Oscar worthy short. Yet!
As for the short film winner, Logorama, I happened to have watched it the week before and was really impressed by the overall concept and idea. It was extremely clever and imaginative and I guess had a statement to make about the over saturation in our lives of corporations and mass marketing but the world created of logos almost was a gimmick instead of a story point. Nonetheless, it was amazing to watch and try to spot each of the thousands of logos and corporate iconic characters in the film. Really enjoyable to watch. Congratulations to the winners, the French artistic conglomerate of H5. What will Nick Park do without another Wallace and Gromit Oscar?

3) To see the montages. I love to watch the film montages so I can rattle off, "seen it", "wanna see it", "never heard of that one", as each clip rolls by. I also like to see the montage of the people who died the previous year so I can say, "he/she died THIS year?", or "I didn't know they died" or "I didn't even know they were still alive".
After the broadcast finally came on I DID see the memorial montage, and is it just me or was Farrah Fawcett left off from the montage? What was that all about? Is it because she was mainly a TV star and not a film star? Has the world forgotten "Saturn 3" already? It's bad enough that her death got eclipsed by Michael Jackson's but to totally get left off the montage? It's like the day Princess Diana died,another death got totally overshadowed. A little known woman known as Mother Theresa.
And now, I found out that there was a montage remembering John Hughes's iconic teenage comedies of the 80s. The man whose films defined my generation was honored and I missed it. I must go and watch the tribute and pay my respects to the man that gave us Lloyd Dobler and Long Duk Dong.

4) Mostly, this year I wanted to see Steve Martin, my all-time favorite comedian, and Alec Baldwin, who has become one of today's greatest comedic actors and backbone of the great 30 Rock, host this years awards. Although, their lackluster film It's Complicated only got a few good hearty laughs from me, I was excited and willing to give these two power houses another chance. Missed it. Will have to catch it on YouTube.

5) Seeing James Cameron lose. Not that I don't like James Cameron or his films. Terminator and Aliens 2 were iconic Sci-Fi films of my youth. But two things really tainted my overall view of this man. Firstly, his "I am King of the World" speech after winning for Titanic was the most obnoxious and saddest thing I ever saw. You know this guy was not popular in High School and he was sadly giving the finger to all the spitballs he's had flung at him over the years. But really dude, it's an award for a movie. I didn't hear President Obama scream "I am King of the World" when winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Secondly, while interning one Summer at DreamQuest Images special effects studio in Simi Valley CA, I had the pleasure of working briefly with Mr. Cameron on the effects for his film "The Abyss". Okay, working WITH is a little strong. At the time we were creating video storyboards which involved puppeting cardboard ships on sticks to illustrate the shots that the effects artists would later create with real models (not those virtual CG models the kids are doing these days). The first day, I was dutifully (and quite competently) puppetting one of the ships doing exactly what Mr. Cameron instructed in every shot. On the second day his own effects guys, assistants and lackeys and hanger on-ers, started taking over the puppeting and I was relegated to the task of slating the shots. Not a glamorous position but an important one and I was happy just to be on the set. But when King Cameron started yelling at me because I wasn't getting the slate out of the shot fast enough I realized that the free internship I had didn't list being yelled at by a megalomaniacal, narcissist as one of its selling points. I decided to spend the next few days with the amazingly talented matte painters Bob Scifo and Ken Allen that I spent the rest of the Summer with.

So, thanks a lot ABC and Cablevision for messing up my Sunday night, and now my Monday morning, seeing as though I have to catch up on replays of the events on the web. All, I can say is don't you dare screw with my Tuesday Night of LOST or I may have to break out the old rabbit ears on your butts.