The 84th Oscars are airing on Sunday Feb 26th on every other station. So gather your friends, organize your pool and settle in for 3 plus hours of everything movies. This years host was scheduled to be Eddie Murphy, which I thought was a bold and daring choice- if you know Murphy live, you know how he rolls. This was hoped to revive his career, but in a show of uncommon solidarity for Hollywood, he opted out after his buddy Brett Ratner stepped aside after some controversy. Now Murphy has more to lose from this move than Ratner, who has a pretty solid string of hits under his belt, while Murphy has been flagging for years.
Anyway---enter Billy Crystal. This is his 9th turn at the wheel and to my mind there is no one better suited to the job. Think of last year’s disaster with Anne Hathaway and James Franco- both talented actors, but clearly out of their depth. Even very accomplished ‘live’ performers can struggle with the format/venue-remember Steve Martin who was marginal at best, and David Letterman who was one of the worst ever. So with Crystal as host and heavyweight Brian Grazer producing, I expect a great evening.
For decades there were only 5 nominations for best movie, but a few years ago they changed that. This year, they have chosen the seemingly random number of 9. Now a lot of these movies are still in the theatre at the time of this post, and some are still too recent to be out on DVD, but rest assured that CPL’s crack team of selectors will have these ordered as soon as they become available. We do however have 4 of the 9 on the shelves at the moment- well, maybe not on the shelves so much as available to place holds on. The 9 nominees are:
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.
There are some real heavyweight producers/directors/usual suspects in these 9 choices- Spielberg, Woody Allen, Scorsese, Fincher, Columbus, Kennedy. There are also some more obscure and unknown---and the movies of course have spawned nominations in many other categories. Interestingly, although they chose 9 nominations for best picture, they only chose 5 for best director. I guess the other 4 movies directed themselves ! But this isn't unusual. Sometimes best picture doesn't win best director and visa versa - think of 1972 where The Godfather won for movie, but Coppola didn't for director. It went to bob Fosse for Cabaret. 2005's best picture was Crash, but Paul Haggis lost on best director to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain. And Roman Polanski won for best director for The Pianist,- in 2002, but Chicago won for best picture.
I have two left to see and plan to get through them before the 26th. From where I sit right now, I am hoping for Spielberg's War Horse, but I think it will go to The Artist- which was something different than usual and sometimes different gets the Academy's attention.