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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 24, 2009 @ 12:31 pm


    Fiona McCann

    No real surprises on Sunday night, apart from Mickey Rourke not getting his gong. Expecting a snooze (and boy did I need one) I will say that Hugh Jackman’s dancing was a hoot, I loved all the musical razzmatazz, and the new format was a strangely moving tribute to the undeniable longevity of the Academy Awards. The sight of Hollywood legends like Eva Marie Saint, Sophia Loren (if that was, in fact, Sophia Loren) and the divine Christopher Walken made for some good milking of the old cinema magic, though it did result in a bit too much onstage hugging for the winners.  Tina Fey and Steve Martin’s Scientology dig was delightful, Ben Stiller’s impression of Joaquin Phoenix skittily spot on. So yeah, the winners were predictable for the most part, and the dresses largely dreary, but so help me, the Oscars won me back, though I should point out I watched most of it on YouTube. Speaking of which, here’s Sean Penn’s worthy, but, you know, worthy, acceptance speech. YouTube Preview Image

    • clom says:

      I had to content myself with a squint at Sky’s desultory highlights coverage having forgotten that I could have watched the whole thing “on E!” and sur le vif as it were.

      What I didn’t see: Jackman & Hathaway dancing, Franco & Rogen stonering or Beyonce warbling.

      What I did see: Fearne Cotton waving at Brad Pitt, Fearne Cotton saying “now back to more awards” and Anthony Hopkins missus saying that Fearne had lovely eyeshadow (in the manner of an auntie who believes that her niece is actually a right little hussy who could do with a good scrub).

      Things are bad when one of the highlights of the night are Whoopie Goldberg.

    • Fiona says:

      Clom: Gah! who mentioned Whoopie as a highlight? Yegods, have we come to that? As a fan of big brassy onstage musical melees (and yes, I stand over that, for the most part, at least if they’re well done), I have to say I enjoyed the surprise that was Hugh Jackman’s voice (and impressive dance moves)? But missed all those hilarious Fearne Cotton moments, alas. Thanks for keeping me up to speed on that!

    • I liked the musical numbers too! I especially loved the redonkulous Jackman/Beyoncé extravagagnza. But I am a huge fan of old-school musicals anyway, so perhaps it’s not hard to impress me.

    • clom says:

      I was quite annoyed that I didn’t get to see Jackman, I’m a big fan of his big happy smiley australian mug. And had heard he was a great dancer. Unfortunately no dice. I trust youtube will be able to provide all the vaguely dissatisfying footage I want after the fact of me wanting it.

      Goldberg’s quip about the nun was pretty funny. At least it was in comparison to the rest of the 90 minute Cottonfest.

      Poor Fearne, i hope she’s not reading this.

    • Quint says:

      Didn’t see it at all. Huge pity that Mickey Rourke didn’t win. His performance in ‘The Wrestler’ is one of the most natural, affecting pieces of acting I’ve seen, truly heartbreaking. I’m still baffled at the success of Slumdog, it’s good, worth seeing but it’s very overrated. I saw ‘Benjamin Button’ yesterday and David Fincher should have won best director. What he’s pulled off with this film is staggering. The aging process for both leads is so well done it seems seamless, the attention to detail, the nearly 3 hour running time whizzes past and it’s very funny.

    • Suzy Byrne says:

      Who dressed Whoopie? Someone had it in for her big time!

      Loved the dancing and singing and I spent last night being terribly bitchy and questioning the sexuality of the host in a straight men can’t sing and dance sort of way…But I’m told he has a wife and children!

    • adam says:

      Benjamin Butt is a schmaltzy, gooey embarassment in the near-perfect canon of Senor Fincher.
      Oscars were great and Jackman was superb. He hosted the Tony awards a few times (won an Emmy for it?)and his background is musical theatre so no shock he was so good.
      No real shock either that Rourke didn’t win – he burned his Hollywood bridges a long time ago. He’s astounding in The Wrestler though.
      And Tina Fey and Steve Martin’s bit was top notch, as were the visuals during their presenting.
      A great show all-in-all

    • John Self says:

      Agree wholly with Quint on Mickey Rourke and Slumdog. Haven’t seen Benjamin Button but if a large part of the pleasure is the brilliance of the ageing effects, then at least it did win some technical awards for that.

    • Fiona says:

      Penny: Wheee! Redonkulous is such a wonderful word for it.

      Clom: By now I’m sure you’ve caught up via Youtube – so what did you think?

      Quint: I agree that Slumdog was good but overrated (though, surprise, I did love the big dancefest at the end), but still haven’t seen Benjamin Button. I think I’ve been avoiding it because it just looked too Forest Gumpy for me, but I may reassess given your recommendation.

      Suzy: Big congratulations on your blog win! And yes, agreed – Whoopie’s dress was wojuss. I’ve heard too that Jackman has a wife and children, but then again, that doesn’t necessarily proove anything . . .

      Adam: I didn’t know Jackman had a musical background – explains a lot, actually.

      John Self: So should I go and see it then? How does it work as a literary adaptation (you being the literary man!)?

    • John Self says:

      Sorry Fiona, I haven’t seen Benjamin Button either. I understand though that what was a flighty little piece by Fitzgerald, knocked off for the money (as almost all his stories were: read the intro to the Penguin Pat Hobby Stories for a dismal look at how desperate he perpetually was for money), has been made into a sober reflective epic by that chap who wrote the screenplay for Forrest Gump, whose name escapes me. I don’t have time even to see films I’m enthusiastic about at the minute (I’d love to see The Wrestler again), so Benjamin Button remains an outside prospect.

    • adam says:

      I’m not joking, people. Benjamin Button is really, really dull and pointless. And long. Did I mention dull?

    • Fiona says:

      Adam: So you didn’t like it then? Hehe. Nah, you’re right, don’t think I’ll bother!

    • adam says:

      Haha,obvious much? I just want those 2 hours, 40-something minutes back! The Oscars go and recognise excellent fare such as The Visitor, Frozen River, Waltz With Bashir, Wall-E, Man On Wire and The Wrestler, so why do they feel the need to include such ‘worthy’ fluff as Ben Butt? I know, I know, it’s the Academy and so on. Some day, they’ll get the whole thing right, eh?

    • Lynda says:

      Adam, reading your thoughts on Benj Butt. makes me feel very glad I stuck to my guns and refused to go see it based on the schmaltzy trailers!

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