The Flash-Sideways Oscars

hurtlocker-2We all know that Avatar got stuffed into The Hurt Locker at the 2010 Academy Awards, a “David-beats-Goliath” victory, with the added spice of knowing that Avatar director James Cameron divorced Hurt Locker’s Director Kathryn Bigelow about the same time he decided he was the King of the World. She obviously gets custody of this years Oscar…

… but what if Cinemagogue controlled the Academy in some world-bending, LOST kind of reality-reshaping flash-sideways event? What might have happened to 2010’s film awards? There are seven simple changes we would have made to the ceremony itself:

oscar_left1. Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin would not have co-hosted.
2. It would have been two hours or less.
3. Joel McHale
would’ve hosted, with Ryan Seacrest (on a stool)
4. It actually would have been FUNNY.
5. All stiff Oscar presenters would have been replaced by justifiably stiff robots
(in other words, ALL presenters would have been robots)
6. Nominees would not have had a bevy of actors gushing about how AWESOME they are.
7. No one would have tried to “explain the editing process”. Ever. Again.

Next, who would have won major award categories? Rest assured, TWO would definitely stay the same:

1. Actor in a Supporting Role – Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds 10bestinglourious_basterds_christoph-waltz
(indisputably one of the best performances of the year)

2. Visual Effects –Avatar
(despite better blockbusters in ’09, nothing beat the mind-boggling visuals of this sci-fantasy epic)

And now, for 10 MAJOR AWARD CHANGES Cinemagogue would have made:

jj-abrams-star-trek1. Best Picture – Star Trek
(sorry Hurt Locker, but the reboot of this film was light years ahead)

2. Actor in a Leading Role – Sharlto Copley, District 9
(this love him/hate him protagonist role had so many nuances, it was a wonder to behold Copley’s performance)

inglourious-basterds-image13. Actress in a Leading Role – Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
(the performances in this movie were fantastic and hers was no exception)

4. Animated Feature Film – The Fantastic Mr. Fox
(funny for all ages and innovative style and approach)

5. Art Direction –Avatar
avatar-movie-image-3(the sheer weight of artistry and innovation put into the “world” of this film was staggering)

6. Cinematography – Star Trek
(from lighting and camera choices to creative/incessant use of lens flare, this film used truly innovative techniques without Avatar’s budget)

7. Costume Design –Watchmen
minutemen_poster_watchmen (from alternate world, century-spanning clothing to vintage superhero chic, this was costume designer’s heaven. They just should have designed a little more costume for the blue guy).

8. Directing – Star Trek
(yes, the starship Enterprise would have taken home 3 Oscars for its innovation – one for Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the hands of J.J. Abrams)

Moon_Sam Rockwell still9. Writing (adapted screenplay) – Watchmen
(Alan Moore’s work was FINALLY translated to the silver screen with panache)

10. Writing (original screenplay) –Moon
(overlooked and snubbed, this film starring Sam Rockwell was one of the best of the year, with a truly innovative, claustrophobic story)

What do YOU think?

Anything get overlooked or snubbed?

How would YOU retool the Oscars?

And now, just for kicks, and because you ask, here’s Cinemagogue’s TOP 10 films of 2009:

  1. Star Trek (read the review)
  2. Watchmen
  3. Avatar (read the review)
  4. District 9
  5. Moon
  6. Taken (read the review)
  7. Inglourious Basterds
  8. Paranormal Activity
  9. Knowing (read the review)
  10. Sherlock Holmes

Last and least, “Guilty Pleasures” of the year? Underworld, Rise of the Lycans and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Sorry razzies, but G.I. JoKe was the worst film of 2009, though bitten-neck-in-hairy-neck with the pasty New Moon).

As for The Hurt Locker, why didn’t it show up on any of my lists? Believe it or not I’m not all-seeing, so now I have to see it now in honor of Kathryn Bigelow’s historic win. It may soon alter this list. I’ll let you know.

  1. Alex Davidson

    best film: the dark knight

    it came out last year, but it deserves to win this year because its just THAT GOOD.

    having seen both the hurt locker and star trek i have to say star trek trumps the hurt locker on every level and (in my opinion) should have gotten the best picture, cinematography, and directing.

  2. admin

    You’re right, Dark Knight should win because it got snubbed the year before. Thrilled for third Nolan pic.

  3. Dan S.

    I actually thought District 9 was better that the Hurt Locker. I just saw it yesterday and I wasn’t that impressed. The plot of was fairly predictable, “War is a drug” motif that we hear a lot about. It was good but just fell flat for me. It didn’t leave me in awe like Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek or District 9 did. I want to see Up in the Air.

  4. Ted Cook

    Sorry Senior Cinemagogue, but I must disagree with you. Now I haven’t seen hardly any movies in the last year (make that the last seven years… tis hard being a graduate student) but I did see Star Trek on my father-in-laws 72″ HDTV, and it was no best picture. It was fun and entertaining and generally good, but also in large degrees laughably ridiculous (and yes, the lens flair caused me laugh out loud).

    For instance: how is that the Enterprise can have a warp drive that allows it to travel faster than the speed of light, but it can’t escape the pull of a near-by black hole when it wasn’t even anywhere near the event-horizon? As I said, laughable.

    Agreed on Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I’ll give you District 9 should’ve been somewhere in the awards. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any other movies so I can’t comment from experience, but I’m going to go ahead and assume Hurt Locker is better than Star Trek because… it just has to be.

  5. admin

    Ted, you obviously missed the inglorious technobabble about how the event horizon and a nearby wormhole caused a latent flaw in the warp nacelles and bleah-bleah-bleah Trekky geek-speak explanation. I’m sure there is a Trek-fanatic who can jump in with the entirely fictionally plausible Roddenberrific answer:)

    My main problem with the Oscars is, generally, “fun” seems for some reason to be a disqualifier in the Academy’s opinion. It apparently can’t possibly be art if “it was… fun”. Speaking of Academy Award winning movies, this little diddy illustrates my point quite well… but unfortunately it’s fun. //

  6. Robin

    LOVE the Lost reference. Also, I think I agree with all of your choices. Especially Ryan Secrest on a stool. Or perhaps Tina Fey and Steve Carrell could host.

    A friend of mine in publishing said that the Oscars always honors the “literary fiction” equivalent in film. That helps it make sense to me. 😉

  7. Dan K

    The Oscars need to add a “Best Stunt” categories. Stuntmen and women should be able to win Oscars.

    Ben Stiller should host.

    The actors praising the nominees things has got to go.

    New Moon was unbearable. And I liked Twilight!

  8. admin

    I looked up “literary fiction” to make myself ever smarter, Robin… but it only made me feel as if the Academy noses are tipped higher. Read the link and chase the literary merit sub-link.

    “The concept of ‘literary merit’ is practically impossible to define, and it is hard to see how such an idea can be used with any precision or consistency by policy makers, magistrates or judges.”

    I appreciated the humility of John Updike:

    “In a June 2006 interview with John Updike on The Charlie Rose Show, Updike stated that he felt this term, when applied to his work, greatly limited him and his expectations of what might come of his writing, and so does not really like it. He said that all his works are literary simply because “they are written in words.”

  9. Richard Harleman

    9. Writing (adapted screenplay) – Watchmen
    (Alan Moore’s work was FINALLY translated to the silver screen with panache)

    Actually, Mr Cinemagogue, the Silver Screen is Television (because of its silver coating), Cinema is the Big Screen… (nitpick)

  10. solomani

    Not a fan of the Hurt Locker but glad it trumped Avatar purely out of spite for Cameron. Cameron seems to be heading the way for George Lucas (inflated self-worth).

    But I digress. I like your list. I haven’t seen some of those films yet.

  11. admin

    (imagine me, doing a victory dance…)

    “A silver screen, also known as a silver lenticular screen, is a type of projection screen that was popular in the early years of the motion picture industry and passed into popular usage as a metonym for the cinema industry…”

  12. Maureen

    Agree with the posts emphasizing writing/literary fiction. Whether it’s on a page or on a screen, it’s about storytelling. Movies get to translate and interpret some of the things we imagine when we read.

    Your idea for Joel McHale as host is brilliant.

    Other ideas for improving the Oscars:
    Now that we have the technology, winners should just tweet their lists of “thank you’s” then they could run them across the big screen like credits.

    Get the actual bands to perform the songs live while we watch the montages.

    Do more “body of work” tributes. Loved the John Hughes thing. His stories were so universal and accessible.

    My favorites of 2009 so far:
    District 9
    Inglorious Basterds
    A Serious Man
    Julie and Julia
    The Hurt Locker

    I left space on the list because I still want to see Star Trek, Paranormal Activity, Knowing, The Road, Crazy Heart, Precious & The Blind Side. I expect to fill the last two slots and maybe even knock something off the list.

  13. Francisco Bórquez

    Those are some way better awards…
    By the way… it would be awesome to read a full review of Watchmen. That movie deals with lots of deep stuff that should be contrasted to ther Gospel.
    This webpage is great
    c ya !

  14. admin

    I’ll work on catching up with Watchmen. If it made my list I think I owe them all a review ASAP!

  15. D. Scott Phillips

    I was surprised to see so much love given to The Watchmen adaptation.
    “Alan Moore’s work was FINALLY translated to the silver screen with panache”
    Sure, it was “translated,” but apart from the VERY good opening montage, it felt very sterile to me (more like it was “cut and copied” than “translated”). It felt like it was trying TOO hard to be everything Alan Moore wanted it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was pretty darn good, but it certainly wouldn’t make any of my lists for best-of anything. It seemed to me that Mr. Snyder didn’t seem to understand that graphic novels are one medium, and film is another, and he was trying to make a “graphic film” or a “written movie,” or something equally at-odds.

    I was sad to see that Moon didn’t make it into the Academy.
    I was happy to see that The Road didn’t get any nods (I thought for sure that The Academy was going to give a nod to Viggo for best actor, or to the kid for best supporting, but it seems that this year was What Women Want: Academy awards). I thought The Road did a great job of translating the look of the book, but without Cormac McCarthy’s balancing prose, I was left with a hideous depressive mood watching it. Viggo’s scattered voice-over readings from the book just weren’t enough to curb the absolute pessimism to make this movie were recommending.

    Am I the only one who thought Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin were decent? I mean, c’mon, the Paranormal Activity spoof was at least worth a chuckle.
    And the Tina Fey/Robert Downey Jr. exchange was CLASSIC!

    Overall though, I think your post was great, though I would insert District 9 or Avatar in place of Star Trek as best movie of 2009, though Star Trek was also enjoyable.

    (on another note, I was very happy that the train wreck that was Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen received the Razzie for Worst Film of 2009. Apart from the amazing Optimus voice, and some amazing robot eye candy, this movie was truly godawful. I mean, how many more humping creatures can we fit into one film? Maybe some aliens from Independence Day humping Will Smith’s leg in the background of the desert?)

  16. admin

    Scott, I didn’t get the “sterile” aspect and it just translated to my cinematic taste buds, but I respect the criticism!

    I DO want to see The Road and see where I fall on the mixed reviews.

    I think Martin/Baldwin just felt forced overall, and I actually think one host should be sufficient.

    Seriously though, have you SEEN G.I. Joe?

  17. D.Scott Phillips

    I am curious about what you think of The Road. To my friends with macabre sensibilities, I will still recommend it (I watched it with a friend who doesn’t do horror/suspense at all, and he said it felt like he’d been punched in the stomach and he wanted to throw up).

    And I have not seen G.I. Joe. I think I will have to save this one for a Riff Trax viewing..

  18. Dave Roper

    Knowing is an awesome film, although it seems to have been much better received in the States than over her in the UK. Most UK film critics seemed to just think it was silly and that Nic Cage should cheer up a bit. It was so refreshing to hear James Harleman’s analysis of it at Film & Theology and to consider the film in the light of more favourable reviews like that of Roger Ebert. I also love that America didn’t get to save the day. Films about the end of the world are cool.

  19. James

    Cheer up a bit? Wow, I’m not sure what to think of that. “Cheer up, Nic, it’s just the end of the world”. Sounds kinda Monty Python…

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