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Oscars, Oscars, one, two, three

So. I used to really enjoy the Oscars. I mean, not so much the show itself—it’s supposed to be awful, as far as I can tell, although not as bad as what I watched for a while last night. But I used to enjoy the awards, the discussion about which films and performances would be nominated and which would be robbed, and which would win, and the whole thing. Somehow, not so much anymore. I figure it’s largely because I see so few movies these days, and very very few in the theaters.

It came as a surprise to me, actually, when I discovered that I had seen three of the five nominees for Best Original Screenplay. Gentle Readers may remember that I spoiled In Fucking Bruges, and then I saw Milk on Xmas Eve, and WALL-E on video. I liked all three of them, actually, and although I enjoyed WALL-E the most, and it was really well-written, I would have enjoyed a Martin McDonough victory the most. And presumably there is some question whether Mr. McDonough will make more films, which Andrew Stanton, not so much. Of course, there’s another sense in which I want Martin McDonough to get disgusted with film and go back to the theater, but then, I’ll get to see any of the films, eventually.

The winning screenplay was for Milk, and I don’t mind, because it was a good screenplay, as far as I could tell, although I have a sense that I would have been weeping all the way through it even if it stunk on ice. My complaint about the movie is that I wanted more Moscone and less White; I have never really had a sense that I got Mayor Moscone in any of the versions of the story I have read or seen. Perhaps that’s just me, as certainly other people seemed to be happy with the amount of Dan White, as Josh Brolin was nominated for the role despite the performance being, to my eyes, perfectly good but not terribly interesting. Ah, well.

In the other writing category, I found it interesting that two of the five nominees were playwrights adapting their own successful stage plays. Although, oddly enough, Peter Morgan was a succesful screenwriter (and television writer) who decided to write a play, Frost/Nixon, which became a huge success and then was adapted for the screen; this is the opposite of Mr. McDonough. As for Mr. Shanley, he of course won for Moonstruck and was inexplicably passed over for Joe versus the Volcano, as well as having a long (although not notably award-filled) career as an Off-Broadway playwright before Doubt took off. David Hare was another nominee; he has recently had more success in film than theater, but I still think of him as a playwright. Mike Leigh, on the other hand (we’re back in Original Screenplay again), I think of as a film director, although of course he started as a playwright.

But the point is that I saw three of the five nominees for Best Original Screenplay. And two of the five for Short Animated Film. And that’s it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,