Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Diary of Magecraft

Being a Chronicle of the Inner Secrets of, and Spells of Magick as Wielded by, the Philosopher of the Internet and Unofficial Sorcerer-in-Residence of the City of New York

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Location: New York, New York, United States

As New York's Unofficial Wizard, my mission is to encourage the Mortals of Manhattan to imagine responsibly!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2011: The Chronicle (@ Long Last!), Episode Three

Well, here it be, as promised, dearests: the exciting conclusion to your humble Dragonmaster's look back at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards! Huzzah!

Now we've covered all of the key awards, except for Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Short, and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Cinematography. Let's start with the animation awards, as presented by Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

There were basically two reasons that Disney/Pixar put out Toy Story 3 in 2010: One --- to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar (which is usually presented solely to that film's Director, in this case Lee Unkrich); two --- Nobody. Beats. Pixar. EVER.

Here, then, Lee's remarks on accepting the award: "I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but thank you to the Academy. I wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for the vision of three incredible guys: John Lasseter, Ed Catmull and Steve Jobs, the founders of Pixar Animation Studios, which, by the way, is the most awesome place on the planet to make movies. .... To every single person who had absolutely anything to do with making Toy Story 3 and getting it out into the world, I share this with you ... and finally, thank you to audiences all over the world who came out in historic numbers and embraced a movie about talking toys that hopefully had something very human to say."

In the Australian-made animated short The Lost Thing, a young boy discovers a strange creature while strolling along the beach. Showing some compassion, the lad decides to find a home for the thing. "Our film is about a creature that no one pays any attention to," explained producer-director Shaun Tan, "so this is wonderfully ironic. This award really goes to our producer, Sophie Byrne, the real champion of this project for the past 10 years." Andy Ruhemann, the co-director of the film, dedicated his share of the award "to all lost things everywhere." Ooooookay!

Tom Hanks, as noted last episode, presented Art Direction and Cinematography. Robert Stromberg, Production Designer; and Set Decorator Karen O'Hara triumphed for their work on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, wherein Alice, now aged 19, escapes from her imminent marriage to an obnoxious Victorian aristocrat, only to once more tumble down the legendary rabbit hole, where, she soon discovers, the weirdos of Wonderland have been waiting for her return.

Stromberg was the more overzealous of the two, thanking all in the Alice Art Department and wondering why he didn't lost that twenty pounds. Hmph!

Inception won the last key tech Oscar of the evening, and here's what Wally Pfister thought: "Good God, what have you done? This is a phenomenal honor for me. Thank you, Academy, for this great honor and for the respect you have shown for all cinematographers. I gotta take a breath here for a minute. Where's that thing that shows how much time? --- There it goes! None of what I did would have been possible without the incredible vision of my master, Christopher Nolan. His work has inspired me for 12 years and continues to; he's a brillant filmmaker, as we all know..."

Well, we're up to the Big Six Oscars now. We begin with Best Director, presented by Hilary Swank, and the previous year's winner --- the first female Best Director Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (whom I'm still mad at for having filched Avatar's thunder!). Anyway, here's Tom Hooper's bedtime story, for those of you Mortals who are into such things:

"Most of all, thank you to my parents, my Mum and Dad, who are in the audience tonight. And I know there's been a whole lot of thanking of mothers, but this is slightly different because in 2007, my Mum was invited by some Australian friends --- she's an Australian in London --- to a Fringe theatre play reading of an unproduced, unrehearsed play entitled The King's Speech. Now, she's never been invited to a play reading in her entire life before, and she almost didn't go because it didn't sound exactly promising. But thank God she did, because she came home, called me up and said, 'Tom, I think I've found your next film.' So, with this tonight, I honor you; and the moral of the story is: Listen to your mother."

Your Dragonmaster, of course, always listens to his dear Mumsey.

It has long been Academy tradition that the previous year's winners in the Acting awards serve as presenters in the same category on the following year's Oscar telecast, and 2010 was (somewhat) no exception. Sandra Bullock presented Actor in a Leading Role; Jeff Bridges, Actress in a Leading Role; Reese Witherspoon, Actor in a Supporting Role; and 94-year-old Kirk Douglas, Actress in a Supporting Role. At this point, I'll just let you read the thoughts of the winners, starting with....

  • MELISSA LEO, THE FIGHTER: "OMG! Oh wow, really, really, really, really, really, truly wow! I know there's a lotta people that said a lotta real nice things to me for several months now, but I'm just shaking in my boots here. OK, alright, thank you David O. Russell; I wanna thank the actors .... Ok, yeah, I am kinda speechless. Golly sakes, there's people up there, too. .... Thank you so much, opening your hearts to all of us to make this film. I wanna thank, the very most of all, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Board of Governors, and all their members, many of whom are here tonight. This has been an extraordinary journey in getting to know what the Academy is all about, and first and foremost, thank you, Academy --- because it's all about selling motion pictures and respecting the work!"

  • CHRISTIAN BALE, THE FIGHTER: "Bloody hell! Wow, what a room full of talented and inspirational people; and what the hell am I doing here in the midst of you? It's such an honor. David O. Russell, what a great spirit, you know, on the set. Just fantastic! And thank you so much, mate, for making the work that all of us actors did actually mean something. Y'know, I mean, that's the director's job of translating it all to the audience and making it all mean something. Melissa, I'm not gonna drop the f-bomb like she did; I've done that plenty before. Dicky's out there somewhere, mate --- eh, mate? You're the best; I can't wait --- and listen, he's had a wonderful story, and I can't wait to see the next chapter of his story, y'know? If you wanna be a champ, if you wanna get trained with him, go meet with him., go do it. Check him out, OK. Alright, he deserves it. So many movies are just brilliant, but nobody ever knows about them, y'know. So we're so lucky to be here tonight and have people recognize that....."

  • NATALIE PORTMAN, BLACK SWAN: "Thank you so much to the Academy. This is insane; and I truly, sincerely wish that this prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees. I'm so in awe of you! I'm so grateful to be able to get to do the job that I do! I love it so much! I wanna thank my parents, who are right there, first and foremost, for giving me my life and for giving me the opportunity to work from such an early age and showing me every day how to be a good human being by example. And I wanna thank my team who works with me every day....."

  • COLIN FIRTH, THE KING'S SPEECH: "I have a feeling that my career has just peaked. My deepest thanks to the Academy. I'm afraid I must warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings. Somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage. So I'm gonna do my best to to be brief with my gratitude, first for being on this extraordinary list of fellow nominees. Something quite formidable and possibly the greatest honor of this --- and, of course, Harvey, who first tok me on 20 years ago, when I was a mere child sensation. And those who've been rooting for me back home; and to the Anglo-Italian-American-Canadian axis which makes up my family, and Livia, who put up with all my fleeting delusions of royalty, and whom I hold responsible for this, and everything that's good that's happened to me since I first met her. Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have some impulses I have to tend to backstage. Thank you very much."

    The most recent Oscar telecast tradition has been to have the final award of the evening, Best Picture, presented by the most powerful man in the Multiverse, alias Steven Spielberg. And when the time came for the King to ascend to his throne, producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin were there with their tributes.

    There were a few memorable announcements, too, the biggest of them coming from Anne Sweeney, President and CEO, Disney/ABC Television Group and Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, that the Academy Awards were going to stay on ABC for the foreseeable future. Still the one, indeed! There was the return of beloved and glorious Billy Crystal, whose presence makes every Oscar show worthwhile. And even old Bob Hope showed up to make a somewhat ghostly guest appearance!

    But no moment on Oscar Night meant more than this one:

    JAMES FRANCO: "Anne and I have had an amazing time tonight, helping celebrate so many extraordinary films and filmmakers. Wherever in the world you've been watching, I hope you've enjoyed it, too."

    ANNE HATHAWAY: "And as Oscar turns 83, we're reminded once again how each generation rediscovers the magic of the movies for themselves. And whether you're one of the fabulous Fifth-Grade Chorus from P.S. 22 in Staten Island, New York --- or an Oscar winner tonight, our final song reminds us that dreams really DO come true!"

    Y'know, ya gotta work real hard, even on Hollywood's Biggest Night, to make even an old Mage like me blubber tears of unexpected joy --- and these wonderful kids did just that! Just this one moment alone is reason enough as to why the 83rd Annual Academy Awards has been nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Direction of a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special!

    Anywho, that'll do it for Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2011. Hope you've all enjoyed it. Now, if you'll all kindly excuse me, there are a few Mortals I must go grumble at for making me late when I should have shared all this with you on the immediate morning after! Toodles for the moment!