used to be able to watch this awards show with the adrenalin rush of a celebrity-obsessed ‘tweener. The beautiful people, the rich clothes, the who-knows-what-will-happen element (I had no idea who Christine Lahti was but I laughed with her after her bathroom mishap…then I got to know her and wondered how she ever won an award.) This year, however, the Pittsburgh Steelers were more bearable to me, and even the faintest whiff of the red carpet sent me to bed faster than calculus homework.
Now I can wake up in the morning, drink piping hot coffee with my comatose dogs, and read the news wire online to find out what happened, without the 4 hours of brain-cell destruction, not to mention commercials. (Downloading shows means you get used to no commercials, and when you next see them you feel homicidal.) Imagine my surprise when all the headlines shout about the unexpected sweep of Slumdog Millionaire .
Now this movie, it just so happens, I have seen. Danny Boyle is an interesting director, and technically quite capable. But one thing that I’ve found true about all his films (that I’ve seen) is that they can be very difficult to watch. Slumdog is no exception. The brutality, and misery, and helplessness and betrayal that Dev Patel (a charming British actor who I am very glad to see has moved on from the cultural embarrassment known as Skins) as Jamal has to endure, throughout his entire life is gut-wrenching and at times unbearable. Fortunately I was able to pause, and take a break sporadically; I can’t imagine seeing it in the theaters.
Still, it was beautifully made. And most importantly the hero endures, love and life find a way to win. It is so common to see films, shows, comics these days that exclusively revel in destruction and tragedy, without a single redeeming plot line or character trait. Jamal however is a deeply good person, and remains so no matter what horrors the world heaps upon him. Still, it is not nearly as light as all the descriptions and marketing led me to believe. But it deserved to beat out the other must-be-joking nominations, such as Frost/Nixon or Revolutionary Road .
Then I read that Anna Paquin won the Globe for Best Actress for her “work” on True Blood , which really calls into question the entire integrity of this awards show. Especially since she was up against the stellar January Jones of Mad Men and Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer . True Blood is a show I have avoided discussing, in an attempt to curb my negativity, but it seems I have no choice. What an unbelievable flaming pile of horse shit. No one is better suited to be a fan for this premise as I am, a lifelong Buffy-obsessed fan and vampire lover, but I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. The pornography and gore that Alan Ball suffuses every episode with, the slaughtered grandmother and ah-maaazing drug trips that come from drinking vampire blood, are laughingly set around the waifish putrid acting of Anna Paquin as “Sookie Stackhouse” and her completely unconvincing chemistry-less love with vampire Bill. I thought Alan Ball had hit bottom with Towelhead (having a white ex-army man rape his 13 year old Muslim girl neighbor as political statement) but he continues to impress me with his supreme lack of taste. Seeing Paquin clutching an award makes you wonder if the “Hollywood Foreign Press” (three liberal bastions rolled into one entity) suffer from the same ailment.
P.C. Token Award of the Evening: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight . Wow I really didn’t expect that. (<—sarcasm)
Retarded Category/Award of the Evening: Lifetime Achievement for Steven Spielberg. Maybe we should wait till he stops making movies to give him this one, since he’s achieved some spectacular failures in his career, and has plenty more on the horizon.
Even More Obvious than Heath Winners: Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock . Has anyone actually watched this show since the first 5 episodes aired? Or do they just all assume its maintained the same slightly-above-mediocre quality? Cause it hasn’t. They’ve slacked off bigtime, and tried to hide it with a constant tsunami of celebrity guests. It’s kind of like they jumped the shark, and nobody has noticed yet since Tina is just so easy for them to love.
Most Deserved Awards: Everything that anyone from John Adams won.
Congrats to Mr. Boyle and his cast and crew, and might I suggest an attempt at some lighter fare? Comedy can be just as poignant, and it doesn’t linger and make me depressed for 3 days after seeing it (usually).