Oscar mired in predictability

“Expect the unexpected,” the female announcer boasted at the beginning of the 82nd Academy Awards last night.

Sure, if you didn’t expect the show’s outcome to be predictable..

As predicted, it turned out to be a two-picture race with the two movies that had the most nominations. So the logic behind nominating 10 movies must have been just for show.

The Oscars went according to script —- except, ironically, for the adapted screenplay award which was almost guaranteed for “Up in the Air” but eventually went to “Precious.”

The intense Iraq war action-drama “The Hurt Locker” was the big winner, beating the biggest money-maker of all time, “Avatar.”

“Hurt Locker” was predicted to win and it won —- as did all of the performers in the acting categories.

“The Hurt Locker” win proves that a movie doesn’t have to make any money at the box office to win best picture. It also proves that Oscar, like in this case, goes for the dramatic films over the fantasy special effects extravaganzas everytime.

The Academy likes to show the rest of America that it has a conscience and will alwyas honor realistic movies instead of pure fantasy.

Oscar has a fear of being thought of as too frivolous (frivilousphobics?)

Even though the most popular movie didn’t win, Oscar compensated by giving awards to the odds-on favorites like Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges.

So everybody’s happy. And isn’t that Hollywood’s job?

The telecast was too long as usuual. Academy, again, give the short subject and min-documentary awards or whatever they’re called at an awards ceremony before the actual show. Nobody except those in the industry care about those awards, and the winners always tend to try and pad their resumes.

The fact that the honorary Oscars were given out long before the telecast, it would’ve been more interesting to hear what the great Lauren Bacall and mentor-to-Oscar-winning directors Roger Corman had to say.

Kathryn Bigelow made Oscar history by being the first woman to win the directing Oscar. Her win was a foregone conclusion once it was announced that Barbra Streisand was presenting the award. The Academy didn’t dust her off to present the Oscar for directing to Bigelow’s ex-husband, “Avatar” director James Cameron.

Streisand was extremely vocal for the past 20 years saying she was determined to be the first woman to win the directing Oscar. It was more than obvious that Streisand was rooting for Bigelow. When she opened the envelope on Sunday night toannounce the winner, Streisand prefaced it with “Well, the time has finally come.”

Babs just couldn’t let the “herstoric” moment alone without incorporating a played feminist sexual politics reference that’s so 1970s.

Bigelow earned her Oscar the hard way. Unlike Streisand, who when directing a film had the studio system at her beckon call with unlimited financing and unmatched distribution.

Bigelow was literally in the trenches directing an action war movie without much financing or backing from anybody. She did it with grit and determination.

Now that’s a feminist.

Still, it would’ve been funny had Bigelow — in a jab at her ex —- got up on stage, grabbed the Oscar and said “I’m queen of the world!”

Meanwhile, hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin did their best Burns and Allen or Abbott and Costello only with each taking turns as straight man.

Many of the jokes worked —- especially those targeted personally at some of the big stars in attendance. However, some of those who were the brunt of the jokes looked uncomfortable —- as if they wanted to say, “I didn’t know this was going to be a roast.”

However, Martin may have accidentally stumbled onto something that won’t bode well if he wants to host the Oscars again: When introducing young Hollywood presenters Miley Cirus and Amanda Seyfried he jokingly said “two people who have no idea who we are.”

The Oscars either needs to get younger hosts or drop the hosting duties. Conan O’Brien is available —- unless Leno host-blocks him.

Note to the Academy: Stop nominating Meryl Streep for best actress. She never wins anymore. She won earlier in her career and now she’s something like 2 for 16.

She’s a great actress, but the poor thing has to sit there and wear that gracious in defeat look on her face year after year.

Meanwhile, every actress who beats her in competition in one way or another ends up acknowledging Streep’s greatness.

How to win a best picture Oscar:

1. If your film is rated R it has a better than 60-40 chance of winning.

2. It’s not a comedy, a sci-fi or fantasy film.

3. Critics have to go berserko grande over it.

4. Somewhere in your movie title the word “the” should appear.

Almost 30 best picture winners in Oscar history have it. Even the most famous Oscar winner of all has it: “Gone With The Wind.”

Most of the winners start off with the word “the” — like last night’s winner “The Hurt Locker.”

But you also have:

“The Godfather” and “The Godfather, Part II”

“The Best Years of Our Lives”

“The French Connection”

“The Sting”

“The Departed”

“The Greatest Show on Earth”

“The English Patient”

“The Deer Hunter”

“The Apartment”

“The Sound of Music”

Some Oscar winners have more than one “the”:

“The Bridge on the River Kwai”

“In the Heat of the Night”

“The Silence of the Lambs”

“The” winner though was a movie that won 11 out of 11 Oscars:

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

5. Make it a guy’s picture. You know, gangsters, war, intrique, lots of action and tension, explosions, an occasional Western. Romance as a subplot.

Kathryn Bigelow discovered the action genre a long time ago.

She’s since mastered her craft.

Welcome to the guy’s club, Bigs…..

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