I’m excited about the Oscars this year. I look forward to the show every year, it’s kind of a holiday at my house – starting at about 3:00 with all the red carpet shows. We eat dinner in front of the TV and I stay up for every minute no matter how long it takes.
You might not know this about me, but I’ve actually been to the Academy Awards – twice! It was in the 80’s, when I was a Page at ABC. I didn’t get to wear any designer gown, I was in my Page uniform, consisting of a polyester long grey skirt and a navy blue blazer with the ABC emblem over the chest. Regardless of my outfit, I loved the experience – I got to meet Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, and Meryl Streep. And I got to be on TV, standing right in front of the big Oscar at the bottom of the steps, saying “watch your step” to the winners as they ran up to claim their award. I vowed that one day I would be back, walking the red carpet instead of supervising it.
I had that chance more than a decade later when I bid on a pair of tickets at a charity auction. My friend Curt and I got all dressed up, boarded the limo-bus with the other attendees, and drank champagne on the way. We even walked down the red carpet – until we got to the ticket-taker who declared our tickets to be bogus. Oh, well, back on the bus – and we watched the show on the bus TVs on the ride home.
I think the ceremony itself is kind of dictated by the movies that are nominated. Last year we had There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Both heavy, dark, depressing and violent. This year we have an interesting mix. The nominated films include Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I’ve seen them all, and I loved them all, each for different reasons.
Milk is a thoughtful portrait of a remarkable man. Frost/Nixon is smart and compelling. The Reader is intense, and thought-provoking. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is magical and expertly executed. And the film I think will win, and deserves to win, is the one that has the biggest heart, Slumdog Millionaire. It was by far my favorite film of the year. The other two films I loved, but which were left out, were Gran Torino and Australia. I think Australia will win for Catherine Martin’s fabulous costumes.
Here are my other predictions:
Actor: Sean Penn in Milk. He totally becomes this character, there is no trace of Sean Penn to be seen. He makes you forget you’re watching a movie.
Actress: Kate Winslet in The Reader. This has to be the toughest role to come along in a long time – Kate Winslet manages to walk take this very complicated, confused and tough woman and make her vulnerable.
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. I thought so right after I saw him as the Joke in Batman Returns – and I never wavered. This is a mesmerizing performance.
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona. This is another time I had that instinct right after the movie. She is just on fire in her performance, I don’t think anyone else could have played the part.
Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire. It was his choices that made this such an amazing film. Gotta give it to him.
Animated Film: Wall-E – by a mile.
I’m looking forward to seeing a new host, Hugh Jackman! Hugh is such a showman – he’s done a great job hosting the Tony’s. He is the whole package, charming, talented, handsome – and an A list actor.
The countdown has begun… you know where I’ll be on Sunday!