The Oscars have been outsourced

As expected, Slumdog Millionaire triumphed with 8 Oscars. But there were a few surprises in the mostly predictable telecast.

By Ben Rossi

Well, well, well. Another Oscar night is over, and I’d say we’ve all come out of it just a little bit more enlightened than we were before. I, for example, now know what it’s like to have hysterical blindness–in my case, induced by the sight of Sophia Loren, who was doing her best impression of a post-nuclear fallout zombie complete with melting facial features.

Oh, and Slumdog. Slumdog, Slumdog. Well done. 8 Oscars you’ve picked up; you lost out to The Dark Knight in the Sound Editing category, but hey, you can’t win ’em all. Slumdog Millionaire can now nestle in beside such timeless classics as The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, Gigi, and Braveheart, all films that snagged best pic, but failed to be nominated for any of the acting categories. Although Slumdog‘s Oscar sweep was a foregone conclusion (see William Glick’s article), it’s pretty interesting how the film has been received in India.

Biggest surprises of the night? Waltz with Bashir got the shaft in favor of Japan’s Departures, and that’s about it. Penelope Cruz was favored for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and she got it, although Viola Davis was a serious contender. I was a bit disappointed that Mickey Rourke didn’t get the Best Actor Oscar, if only out of sympathy for the “one trick pony.” (Speaking of which, for those of you who have heard Bruce Springsteen’s song, “The Wrestler”–what the hell is a “one-legged dog?” How could such a creature ever dream of “making its way down the street?”)

Favorite Moments–

Philippe Petit balancing an Oscar on his chin, and his magic trick. He’s like an impish French street performer–except I don’t want to punch him in the face.

Adrien Brody, who looked like he had just been dumpster diving behind the Kodak Theatre.

Werner Herzog. Anything he does or says is gold.

Kate Winslet’s father whistling at her–and the fact that in his black fedora he looked like, to quote my friend, “Someone who shot JFK.”

As if I didn’t already know, Jerry Lewis’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award montage proved that he is a better human being than I’ll ever be. Hey, as long as helping the sick kids keeps him from making another movie, I’m happy.

Alan Arkin introducing “Seymour Phillip Hoffman.”

The sheepish look on Baz Luhrmann’s face after the overblown, nonsensical musical number he staged was met with polite applause.

Bill Maher barely holding back his rage about Religulous getting snubbed.