By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Robert DeNiro introduced the Best Actor category by saying, “It’s hard to believe that Sean Penn has had so many roles playing a straight man.” When Penn won for Milk, the rest of the Red States turned off their TV sets, which even Penn acknowledged by calling out the audience humorously (but also truthfully) as “commie-lovin’ homo sons o’ guns” for choosing him. He spoke about “the great shame” of people who supported Prop. 8 and will be hated by their grandchildren. “We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.” And then Penn said he was “very, very proud that America is willing to elect an elegant man as president. And of a country [which] for all its toughness creates courageous artists.”
Penn also reached out to one of his fellow nominees, who must have been hurting terribly at having lost: “Mickey Rourke rises again. And he is my brother.” I did feel that Rourke was robbed. But while my heart was for Mickey, my head said Sean would win because Academy voters wanted to redress the 2006 wrong they did to Brokeback Mountain by picking Crash instead.
The only surprise came in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Though Israel’s Waltz With Bashir had been the favorite and France’s The Class also had taken honors, Japan’s mostly mediocre and barely promoted Departures won. Probably because it was the most shamelessly sentimental and manipulative, and the pic that makes people cry is always an Oscar plus.
But the high point of the evening — Slumdog Millionaire’s anointment as Best Picture — was only ho-hum because it was a foregone conclusion. It was distributor Fox Searchlight’s first such win after coming in second a couple of times (Juno, Little Miss Sunshine). As usual, by the time the Oscars ended with more Tonys-style music on a dark stage devoid of color or interest, I had lost the will to live — and agreed with my commenter who pledged “to walk over to Hollywood & Highland to start flinging my poo like an angry chimp on Xanax.”
Once again, AMPAS committed public suicide, only this time the show’s ratings rose by 13 percent (even if it was still the third-lowest in Oscars history). Fortunately, that’s not just gay, that’s festive.
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