[Updated: 10:25 pm]
10:11 pm Anne Hathaway has press room's most sincere line of the night, on why she said "it happened" during her acceptance speech: "I had a dream & it came true & that can happen & that's wonderful"
10:10 pm David Arquette was apparently in the press room for Sirius radio
9:56 pm Anne Hathaway in Oscars press room, giving thoughts on her song: "All I can hear are the notes I didn't quite hit...maybe I'll get over it some day"
9:55 pm Anne Hathaway, inexplicably saying: "You're always looking for the next job. No matter what's happened before you think no one's going to hire me again"
Perceived reality has a habit of becoming actual reality when it comes to the Academy Awards. It was with that in mind that we decided to funnel whatever influence we may have into "We'd Like to Help the Academy," an online column launched last month in order to highlight the outliers that should be nominated rather than wonder aloud about which front-runners will.
We first drew attention to a screenplay worthy of recognition -- Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt's Oslo, August 31st. About a recovering drug addict named Anders on what may prove to be the last day of his life, the film's observational approach reveals an ear for naturalistic dialogue and deft use of voice-over. Oslo is seeped in memory and loss, but it's so sensitively written that its beauty resonates as much as (if not more than) its sadness.
For a long time I thought of Matthew McConaughey as an actor whom I liked more than he deserved. He built some good faith with Dazed and Confused and other early roles, yes, but that had all but diminished by the time Fool's Gold, Failure to Launch, and others of their ilk cemented his status as the go-to guy for bland rom-coms.
But his bit part in the sporadically funny Tropic Thunder was a bright spot, not least because it was a reminder of how effective his natural charm and charisma can be when filtered through the proper channels. McConaughey next showed signs of life in last year's The Lincoln Lawyer before hitting the 2012 trifecta: Bernie, Killer Joe, and Magic Mike.
Finally, after years of me and a lot of others hoping he'd do it, the often shirtless Texan came into his own in a series of roles that both played to and transcended his strengths. (He was also in two movies that premiered at Cannes this year -- Lee Daniels's much-derided The Paperboy and Jeff Nichols's more warmly-received Mud -- but I've yet to see either.)
Perceived reality has a habit of becoming actual reality when it comes to the Academy Awards. Once enough people started talking about how much Oscar momentum Silver Linings Playbook gained after winning the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival two months ago, for instance, their prognosticating had the effect of creating said momentum. In attempting to keep up with the echo chamber, a lot of pundits end up becoming part of it. Rather than play into that, we've decided to funnel whatever influence we may have into our new column We'd Like to Help the Academy, highlighting the outliers that should be nominated rather than wonder aloud about which frontrunners will.
And why not? The Oscars are, after all, a meritocracy whose goal (at least in theory) is to reward the most worthwhile films of the year. In practice, they're more often like the SAT -- they don't really measure anything other than how well a given movie conforms to their own established standards -- but they do come through every once in a while. We want to believe in you, old white men of the Academy; give us reason to.
As it's true enough that every film begins with words on a page, it seems pertinent to start the proceedings with a screenplay worthy of recognition: Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt's Oslo, August 31st. Adapted from a novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle and directed by Trier, the film follows a recovering drug addict named Anders on what may prove to be the last day of his life.
"Where are the stars?"
Riffat Masood, the consul general of the Pakistani Consulate in Los Angeles, has hushed the crowd gathered in the living room of her palatial home in Beverly Hills. Now she just needs to find the guests of honor. "Where is the director? Where is the famous doctor?"
As the two make their way to her side, Masood explains what an honor it is to have them here this evening, the Friday before Oscar night. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is co-director and co-producer of Saving Face, the first Pakistani film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. The documentary explores the horrific acid attacks that disfigure hundreds of women in Pakistani villages each year, and its star is Dr. Mohammad Jawad, the plastic surgeon who labors to restore the victims to normalcy.
Ew, old people. They're so old! Especially that Billy Crystal. What is he, 105? Get off the stage! In your electric walker!
If you buy into the prevailing narrative of the post-Oscars Twitterverse, all Academy voters are elderly, with a quirky fondness for nostalgic moving pictures about moving pictures, such as The Artist and Hugo, which belong not at the Oscars but on the dusty VHS shelf at the Wheelchair-By-the-Sea Retirement Home. Last Sunday this band of old men conspired to send out their avatar, the ancient Billy Crystal, to perform the kind of offensive, Catskills-style vaudeville act that would make Al Jolson wince.
It's a narrative that has given everyone within 10 miles of Hollywood a license to try to prove how hip they are.
The 82nd Academy Awards were a referendum on what Oscar voters value, versus what moviegoers are willing to pay for.The headline will be Kathryn Bigelow's stunning, groundbreaking achievement as the first woman to win Best Picture. But considering the Academy's concerted effort to expand the audience for this year's awards by opening up the Best Picture category to 10 nominees, maybe this broken record is more significant: The Hurt Locker is the lowest grossing movie in decades (possibly ever, if adjusted for inflation) to win Best Picture. Two nights before the Oscars, I attended the Independent Spirit Awards, a less formal ceremony designed to honor lesser-known films, thereby bolstering the independent film community in the face of the Academy's total indifference to non-studio film. As the old joke goes, those who win at the Spirits are doomed to lose the same weekend at the Oscars. This year, it didn't quite go that way: winners at both events included Jeff Bridges, Mo'Nique and, maybe most surprisingly, Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher.