Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Being Well Watched

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards were held last Sunday. Among the winners were:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro

Best Achievement in Directing
Winner: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Winner: El secreto de sus ojos (Argentina)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Winner: Up - Pete Docter

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original [^] Song
Winner: Crazy Heart - T-Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham(“The Weary Kind”)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: The Hurt Locker - Mark Boal

Best Short Film, Animated
Winner: Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Winner: Music by Prudence – Roger Ross Williams, Elinor Burkett

Best Documentary, Features
Winner: The Cove (2009) – Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens

Best Short Film, Live Action
Winner: The New Tenants – Joachim Back, Tivi Magnusson

Best Achievement in Makeup
Winner: Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, Joel Harlow

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Winner: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Geoffrey Fletcher

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Winner: Avatar – Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair

I’d seen Avatar, Up, Inglourious Basterds, and Star Trek, plus I kinda knew what The Blind Side was, but that’s it. I was embarrassed not to have been more familiar with films which were being touted as the best. I can’t feel too bad about not being familiar with the short films, documentaries, and foreign offerings. Unless, one lives in New York, or a college town, it’s pretty hard to be exposed to such fair. Still, I must admit that Hank Green, a video blogger whom I follow, recommended The Cove months ago, and I pretty much shrugged it off.

So what? After all, the academy has praised some real stinkers in the past. I still can’t watch Harvey Keitel in a movie without having flashbacks of his free willy from 1993’s, multiple Oscar winner, The Piano. And, don’t even get me started on American Beauty. Yet, for a guy who listens to Fresh Air & Writers’ Almanac, keeps up on the news, a prides himself on his academic prowess, it feels weird to have to admit that films such as The Hurt Locker, Crazy Heart, and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire weren’t even on my RADAR, man.

I consider myself to be a pretty well read guy. OK, I could stand to brush up on my Melville and Hemingway, but, for the most part, I’m familiar with many of the classics and a good share of contemporary fiction. However, in a day of multiplexes, straight to DVD releases, independent films, and original web content, perhaps being well watched is as important as being well read. To that end, I’ve added the Oscar winners, including 2007's Juno, to my Netflix queue, and I plan to see such movies as The Green Zone and The Ghost Writer when they hit theaters. Will such an endeavor help make me more well rounded as a writer and a person? Hell, I don’t know, but it’s a question worth exploring.


  1. You had seen about as many of the oscar winners as we had. Of course now we put 'hurt locker' on the seen list. it was actually pretty good, but a little long. I guess sometimes I ignore a lot of the oscar winners because I know that even though a million people love a movie, I might still think its a stinker.

  2. I hear ya. I've seen some Oscar winners which I thought just plain stupid and/or dull as dirt. However, I just saw Juno, and I don't think I'd have gone out of my way to see that if it hadn't won for best screen play.