The 80th Academy Awards was the best awards show in my memory. Two other Oscar memories that come to mind were last year watching Marty finally get his best director award (even if it was for The Departed) and the year before that, John Stewart’s joke after the best original song statue was given out to the group from Hustle and Flow: “For those of us keeping track, that’s Three Six Mafia one, Martin Scorsese zero.”

 

I was glad to see my favorite films of this year all walk away with top honors.

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“No Country for Old Men” took best picture. Adapted from the brilliant Cormac McCarthy’s novel, No Country follows a man who tries to keep money he just happens upon and the panoramic effects of greed. In the film, during an intense dialogue between the serial murderer, Anton Chigurh, and a countryside filler station attendant, Chigurh flips a coin and tells the attendant to “call it, everything is riding on this.” He continues to explain that the quarter was made in the 70s and has been living its life so to speak up until this very moment, where it was intended to be for the very purpose of it determining the attendant’s fate. Themes of predestination and everything-for-a-reason are surprising in such a chaotic film.

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Winning the best actor category was Daniel-Day Lewis in his role as an oil tycoon in “There Will Be Blood.” This film gets in your face from the first shot of the hills. The dissonant score will not allow distraction. There is blatant tension between faith and money in this film. For some, it runs long (about two and half hours), but the descent in madness portrayed by Lewis was widely accepted as the performance of the year.

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“Juno” won best original screenplay. A decided “upper” to No Country and Blood’s “downer” feel, this follows a teen who gets pregnant and decides to keep the child; actually, the catalyst for change comes when Juno is sitting in the abortion clinic and finds out that her baby already has fingernails. This is a great story with a strong supporting plot that manages to not get too creepy (well, almost). Adoption vs. abortion is the big lesson in this flick.

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the best song winner and speech. Love the song or hate it (it was the later for a girl at the party I attended who heartily let everyone know), Glen Hansard’s acceptance speech for “Falling Slowly” was the most poignant moment of the entire evening as he exclaimed “Make art!” over and over. When Marketa Irglova stepped up to the mic to accept, it was turned off. After the commercial break, John Stewart invited her back out to a roar of applause.

win_originalsongl.jpgMy wife and I caught the Swell Season (Hansard and Irglova) when they opened for Damien Rice in January ’07 and were moved to tears without knowing a lick of their music. Since then, we’ve been faithful devotees. Please check them out if you haven’t already.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Chad

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Comments
  1. rickhogaboam says:

    thanks for your thoughts!!! I haven’t seen juno but was wondering if ethics were at all a leading factor in the decision to keep the baby.

  2. Heidi says:

    I thought Juno was funny and cleverly written, deserving of the best screenplay award. However, after talking to several people about it afterward, some felt there was too much raunchy sexual humor. I’m either desensitized or it went over my head, or both. Just thought I’d throw that out there so anyone reading this is prepared if they decide to see it.

  3. Veronica says:

    As positive as it was that Juno decided to give up her baby for adoption rather than terminating her pregnancy, I think that “adoption versus abortion” is a secondary message in the film. I believe that the overarching triumph of the film–and for Juno herself–is discovering what it takes for two people to stay together…whether that be a childless couple, high school friends and crushes, or a divorcee and her newly adopted child.

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