And the Oscar winners were … only two of the six I predicted in the major categories, but who’s counting?
I’m a writer, not a clairvoyant, and if nothing else, the Academy Awards can be notably difficult to predict.
But at least I managed to nail down the winners in the male acting classes — more on that in a moment.
One very predictable aspect of the ceremony was, of course, the duration. This year things capped out at almost three-and-a-half uneventful hours.
Jon Stewart was a passable, if unexciting, host who proved his love for the underdog when he insisted on singling out Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s Oscar win for best original song for Falling Slowly from the indie film Once, and then made sure to bring Irglova back on stage after her moments of acceptance were cut off by a time-conscious producer.
Men the world over watching from home surely longed to be in the same room as the gorgeous-looking Katherine Heigl, Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett and Cameron Diaz, while all of us probably got a bit choked up when the annual death reel closed with a shot of Heath Ledger, who passed away in January.
Needless to say, it’s time to completely reinvigorate the world’s most-watched awards show, but that’s a very broad subject for another column.
It was nice to see that, at least in the male categories —- best supporting actor, best actor and best director (a male category as there were no women in the running) — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewarded those who truly deserved it.
I may have predicted a big win for Paul Thomas Anderson for best director for There Will Be Blood, but it was the Coen brothers who (deservingly) walked away with the trophy for No Country For Old Men, as well as best picture.
As I mentioned last Friday, Javier Bardem embodied the heart of evil as the sadistic killer Anton Chigurh in the film, sporting the most cringe-worthy haircut in recent memory. He took the award for best supporting actor and thanked his family members in an impassioned English and Spanish acceptance speech.
But of the male performances from the past year, it was Daniel Day-Lewis’ Academy Award-winning turn as the oil baron Daniel Plainview that was by far the most memorable.
In my view, this career-defining performance will be remembered for Day-Lewis in much the same way that playing the titular media baron in Citizen Kane has gone down as a watershed role for Orson Welles.
And that’s no overstatement. Day-Lewis brought the all-encompassing nature of hatred and greed to life playing Plainview — a performance that truly exceed the often malleable qualifications for best actor.