Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his performance in The Dark Knight, which is pretty fantastic and in a lot of ways related in my mind to the site. I remember when true posted that the role had gone to Heath Ledger, and I remember thinking "Wow, what an odd choice." I remember when pup posted that he had been found dead in his apartment and remember being stunned. We were born something like three days apart, Heath Ledger and I, on opposite sides of the world.
So Heath Leger won an Oscar, and the only thing I can think of, besides the fact that it's a shame he's gone when he had so much promise, is how crazy I would've said you were if just a short time ago you told me that he'd be winning that particular Oscar.
An Oscar for a super hero movie? An Oscar for the role of villain, when Jack Nicholson came before? An Oscar for that but not for his other powerful performances? An Oscar after his death? An Oscar for a role in one of the most commercially successful films in many years? It just seems so unreal... yet it happened.
I'm surprised and pleased. It's great to see talent recognized, even if it came too late. It's inspiring too.
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|Suskie - February 22, 2009 (08:33 PM)
Yeah, that performance has literally become one of the most iconic of all time at this point. His winning an award tonight is both a recognition of his role as the Joker and a tribute to his short but prolific career. I'm glad he won.
On that note, Winslet just won for The Reader. She's an excellent actress and she deserves an Oscar, but it would have been nice if she'd won for, y'know, a good movie.
|honestgamer - February 22, 2009 (08:57 PM)
Kate Winslet is my favorite actress working today and has been for a few years. Her presence in a film always elevates it beyond whatever level it would otherwise have reached. Sometimes I forget how much I love movies but the Oscars this year made me remember.
|Suskie - February 22, 2009 (09:02 PM)
I just read some live Oscar blog thing that summarized my thoughts perfectly: "Winslet just won for Eternal Sunshine, in my mind."
|wolfqueen001 - February 22, 2009 (09:15 PM)
Argh. Blog font too small.
Anyway, Heath Ledger's the reason you should never, ever, ever,under any circumstances combine sleeping pills and painkillers. Period.
But it's a terrible shame that he's gone. I'm glad he won that Oscar, too, despite being dead - that shouldn't change matters, really - because his role in that movie was absolutely brilliant. I was like Jason, except maybe worse in some ways because I doubted how someone like Ledger with his previous acting focus could pull off a role like Joker. I was also skeptical that a role portrayed in the way it was (from seeing previous and such) would actually be appealing, but it was and it was fantastic.
I actually didn't watch the Oscars, so this blog is the only source of news for them for me. But I didn't really watch a whole lot of movies from last year, so it doesn't really matter. I honestly can't be botheredd to sit through a program like that anyway the entire length. It's one of those where I just like watching the ones I'm interested in.
|honestgamer - February 22, 2009 (09:34 PM)
This was the best Oscars year I think I've ever seen. I've only watched 4 or 5, true, but this program was entertaining most of the way through... even for boring categories. Hugh Jackman really put himself into the role of host and I loved how past winners came and spoke pieces to each of this year's nominees in the big categories. It was pretty great all around.
I didn't watch many of 2008's movies at all. I saw Iron Man--which was great--but otherwise my viewing was all from previous years. There's been some really great stuff lately. I think I've magically turned an age where I start giving a crap about stuff that never mattered to me before. I don't know what it is, but tonight's show really struck an emotional chord with me.
I think part of my problem is that I just love entertainment too much. Games, movies, music, books... I can get so passionate about those things and I can't possibly put all of the focus and drive behind them all that I wish I could. Increasingly, though, I find myself drawn to storytelling and books and movies. Maybe 10 years from now I'll be building a site about movies. It's a scary thought.
|Suskie - February 22, 2009 (10:41 PM)
As a counterpoint, this was a bit of a breakthrough year for me because I pretty much managed to see every movie I was interested in. Living in Philly definitely helps, because a lot of the more independent releases never make it to smaller areas.
This was honestly one of the more predictable Oscar ceremonies in recent memory, with most of the winners being set in stone. With The Dark Knight snubbed in all of the major categories (except for Ledger, of course), Slumdog Millionaire was set to be the big winner of the night and I'm cool with that. I seem to be one of the few who didn't understand what was so great about Milk and was disappointed to see Penn (who already won an Oscar anyway) beat out a far more deserving Rourke. Also, I think Penelope Cruz is overrated as an actress altogether, though I haven't seen Vicky Christina Barcelona.
They said they'd be making a few changes to the ceremony and hiring a non-comedian as host was an interesting move, and I agree that he took on the role very well. I also agree that all of the acting nominees being individually recognized was a nice touch. Seemed like a zippier presentation than usual, though it actually wasn't.
|JANUS2 - February 23, 2009 (02:07 AM)
Lots of safe choices here.
It always strikes me as a bit lazy to give multiple awards (especially the top ones: best film, director, etc.) to the same film. I find it hard to believe that Slumdog Millionaire was THAT good. I haven't seen it, but I did watch Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon and they definitely deserved something.
I liked the year when Crash won. At least they made some interesting and difficult choices then.
|darketernal - February 23, 2009 (02:49 AM)
It seems Joker in the end really got his Killing Joke.
That aside, you know you are out of the movie loop when the one that won, what, 8 oscars is a movie you never heard of.
|bloomer - February 23, 2009 (06:53 AM)
I normally don't apologise for long posts, but this one will be very long, so sorry! (or... TOUGH)
I've watched the Oscars ceremony in full for 28 years, as a film maniac and somebody who used to hope to be there winning best director one day. But before I get romantic, consider how freaking difficult it is for me, living in Sydney today, to watch the ceremony without hearing any results first.
In the USA, it goes out live in your evening. Here, it traditionally plays about 8 real hours after it happened, in my evening of the next day. That's 8 hours for all my news services to try and tell me who won everything. If I want to maximise enjoyment, I have to avoid all contact with the news and with idiotic human beings for those 8 hours.
It was easier in the past. I'd just avoid watching the evening news, and pretty much any TV between then and the ceremony start, because they will try and tell you who won everything during any 5 minute break they get, and because any other shows will start trumpeting about any Australians who won anything. That was pre-internet. Now I have to stay off the internet as well for the whole day. For instance, had I visited this site (I never dreamed of doing so), I would have been exposed to updates before the thing had even finished happening.
Today, I didn't even venture out of the house til 3 pm, to get a Japanese 'Wild At Heart' movie poster framed. That was all I had to do, but while I was in the shop, a radio was on, and Oscar results started coming through. I had to ask the guy if he could please turn it off.
Having said all that, this year was a local first - the oscars were broadcast pretty much live to us midday, then repeated with highlights in the traditional evening time slot - but edited down as well. I have just complained a lot, but I like my Oscars at night, so I recorded the day showing then watched it at night. That way I avoided losing anything, with the bonus power to FFWD the ads. This was my first HD Oscars too, and they looked killer.
The actual Oscars... The atmosphere change between last year and this year was probably the largest it has ever been from one year to the next. The venue looked and felt different, the front row was closer to the stage than ever, they had song+dance Hugh hosting, they had the so-earnest-I-almost-couldn't-bear-it personal passing from the actors to the nominees. So I was definitely energised by that much difference.
That said, I am always energised by watching the show. No matter how corny or intense some moments are, it's a relief to see people involved in some art and entertainment form being that enthused about their involvement in it, and to demonstrate they have a sense of its tradition.
I care more about the general excitement than I do about the specifics of winners, as the mechanisms are kind of gruesome (the millions spent on campaigns to plug particular films to voters, the way only 3 films are even nominated in technical categories, which is clearly ridiculous). I like it when people I like win, but I'm no longer insulted by any of the thing's shortcomings. As some tutor once comfortingly said to me at uni, 'There's no point complaining about the Oscars being something they never try to be.' IE - Some bulletproof awards for film greatness. There's a coincidence in them of the genuinely good and the commercially driven, which reflects the nature of Hollywood films in general.
Jason, re: your surprise at Heath. I feel like most of the reasons you listed for surprise are reasons that only increase my expectation of him winning :) OK, respect for a super hero movie, I agree on that, that has certainly increased over time. Ironically, films like 'The Dark Knight' have become a lot artier than average Hollywood material. Death... it increases fame, especially in the short term, and helps remind people of what you've done, which also attends to the idea of giving Heath an Oscar for this but not Brokeback Mountain, for instance. And re: commercial success, the majority of Oscar films are commercial successes. Re: Jack... people have short memories, and remake turnover speed is increasing. (I mean they're looking at rebooting Superman yet again, and Superman Returns was only 5 bloody seconds ago!) But more kindly, it's good people don't enshrine material as only being allowed to be one way now.
Having said THAT, I vastly prefer Tim Burton's 'Batman' and 'Batman Return's to all other incarnations. And apart from The Joker, I prefer Batman Begins to The Dark Knight.
|zippdementia - February 23, 2009 (08:45 PM)
I'm too lazy to try to post my emotional reactions to the Oscars. I will mirror the sentiment that they were very good this year. In particular, they seemed more humble and I liked that.
One thing I didn't like was the "in memorium." There seemed to be a lot of people missing, not least of all George Carlin, Heath Ledger, and Eartha Kitt.
|Suskie - February 25, 2009 (08:12 AM)
Ledger was in last year's, but yeah, not throwing Carlin in there was a fucking travesty.