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Not too many surprises

Post by News Tribune Staff on Feb. 22, 2009 at 9:51 pm with No Comments »
February 22, 2009 9:51 pm

At least not to me.

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I had one of my better nights as an Oscar prognosticator today.

“Slumdog Millionaire” for Best Picture. Well, everyone saw that one coming. Me too.

“Slumdog” director Danny Boyle and Heath Ledger as Best Supporting Actor. I figured they were locks. And so they proved to be.

I was a little uncertain that Penelope Cruz would take the Best Supporting Actress prize and I had a few doubts that Kate Winslet could wrest the golden guy away from “Doubt” star Meryl Streep, but I decided to go with the two of them anyway. Bingo!

I thought Mickey Rourke’s underdog-triumphant turn in “The Wrestler” would persuade voters to honor him with the Best Actor prize. But it could be his weird behavior in other awards ceremonies leading up to Oscar night might have given voters second thoughts about giving him a worldwide stage to do who knows what.

Sean Penn was certainly powerful in “Milk.” And the fact that Hollywood wanted to push back against Proposition 8, California’s recently adopted ban on gay marriage, and let the world know it condemned the passage of the measure likely tilted the vote in Penn’s favor.

Penn’s acceptance speech, in which he thanked “you commie, homo-loving sons of guns” for honoring him with the big prize struck a defiant note that went down well with the audience in the hall.

And keeping with the gracious tone of the presentation speeches given by past winners in each of the acting categories, he honored the man he beat. “Mickey Rourke rises again,” Penn said, “and he is my brother.” Rourke, his eyes obscured by dark glasses and wearing an enigmatic smile looked very pleased.

All in all, it was a satisfying evening as the Oscars go, though I thought Hugh Jackman was a pretty bland host. Oh, how I yearn for Billy Crystal.

And it was over by 9, remarkably speedy by Oscar standards. Though in some cases its haste worked to its detriment. And there were still far too many montages! Old habits die hard.

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