Academy Awards: Winners and Losers

By David Mumpower

February 23, 2009

Mission accomplished on the Oscars invasion!

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The 2009 Academy Awards are in the books and BOP's staff is ready to take a look at the winners and losers on the night. While I have written most of the text here, the suggestions came from several staff contributors. Special thanks go out to Reagen Sulewski, Jerry Simpson, Calvin Trager, Kim Hollis, Tony Kollath and Jim Van Nest for their suggestions. BOP is fully aware that you will see dozens of similar lists over the next 48 hours, so we tried to be as creative as possible. Some of these, however, are not rocket science. For instance...

Winningest Winner Out of all the Winners: Slumdog Millionaire

This movie was the Tiger Woods of the evening, absolutely eviscerating the competition. Danny Boyle's cinematic masterpiece won 80% of the ten awards for which it earned a nomination. Its only two losses were in the minor category of Sound Editing and the category of Best Song, where it lost to itself. That's right. The joke here is that the only thing that could beat Slumdog Millionaire last night was Slumdog Millionaire. The bar trivia from last night's proceedings is that the only other movie that did in fact beat Slumdog Millionaire was The Dark Knight. The Mumbai epic's eight Academy Awards victories are the most for any movie since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King famously went 11 for 11 five years ago. To put Slumdog Millionaire's accomplishments into perspective, simply consider this. It won as many awards last night as No Country for Old Men and The Departed combined.


Losingest Loser: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This statement is accurate not only from a meta viewpoint but also from a literal one. The film earned 13 nominations, yet only won in three categories, all of which are minor. When the nominations were announced, no one involved with this production was thinking its only wins would come in Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction. It was perceived as a co-favorite in the Best Picture race just a few weeks ago but something odd happened along the way. Slumdog Millionaire gained more and more momentum throughout the end of awards season while Benjamin Button's candidacy fell apart. As Kim Hollis stated, the key to that may have been the fact that the Academy finally got around to watching both films and realizing just how clear cut the choice was. Whether you agree with this harsh assessment or not, there is no disputing the fact that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button lost ten out of 13 times last night and won no major awards. For the producers of the film that received the most nominations of any title since 2002's Chicago, a movie that won six Oscars including Best Picture at the 2003 awards, last night was a miserable disappointment all the way around.

Winners: Homosexuality

The 78th edition of the Academy Awards was dubbed "The Gay Oscars" due to the nominations of such gay-themed titles as Brokeback Mountain, Transamerica and Capote. While only one of this year's major nominees, Milk, features adult homosexuals -- unless you have a certain interpretation of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character in Doubt - this year's awards were as rainbow-centric as any in the show's history. With Broadway's favorite son, Hugh Jackman, hosting the show, musicals were always going to be a strong part of the presentation. The combination of key winners happening to be gay, the show's producers editing several scenes of boys kissing boys into the clips, and a lavish tribute to Hollywood's greatest movie musicals, however, made this incontrovertibly the gayest Oscars ever. Clearly, the lingering ill will over the passage of Proposition 8 in California led to a decision on the part of the show's producers to be combative rather than run away from the issue. How well this choice played out in the flyover states remains to be seen, but BOP applauds the bravery displayed here even if we did think that the tribute to musicals was a good 45 minutes too long. Or it at least felt that way.

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