82nd Annual Academy Awards: a long, mildly entertaining evening

Rainbow Bracey

Assistant Spectrum Editor

The red carpet rolled out for an evening of stars, awards and tribute. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday, March 7 at the Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif. The importance of this Academy Awards was evident by the dividing of hosting duties. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin opened with the help of a rousing number by Neil Patrick Harris, accompanied by Vegas-style dancers. Martin has hosted solo twice before (73rd and 75th) while Baldwin’s venture into the hosting role is new.

The stage’s rounded design made presenting groups of stars the new trend of the evening. The first award of the night came after all nominees for Best Actress and Best Actor were called on stage for applause and then seated in the first two rows of the theater. This process allowed the home audience to see favorite actors while also keeping the evening organized.

The producers of “The Hurt Locker” were surely in no pain as they rejoiced at the film’s success. Winning awards in six categories (Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Writing [Original Screenplay], Best Picture and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow) cemented it as a winner, regardless of box office results. For Bigelow, the evening had greater meaning, as she became the first woman to win a Best Directing Academy Award.

The popular box office hit “Avatar” won a number of awards in Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects, as expected. However, the theme of non-traditional winners continued with “Crazy Heart.” The creativity of the film nabbed awards for veteran film actor Jeff Bridges for Actor in a Leading Role while Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett won awards for the  movie’s theme “The Weary Kind.”

Precious: based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” left an impact on the Academy. The raw story earned Geoffrey Fletcher an award for Writing (Adapted Screenplay). Fletcher tearfully thanked those who believed in the movie and its message. One of the film’s stars, Mo’Nique, also won an Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role.

The tradition of Academy tribute continued as filmmaker John Hughes was honored. He was recognized for writing pop culture classic films such as “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Weird Science.”  Several actors and actresses, including Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick, spoke of his style, genius and ability to bring the best performance out of his actors.

Also of note, the tribute to this year’s film industry’s passed members controversially excluded Farrah Fawcett.

The Best Actor and Actress nominees were introduced and congratulated by their co-stars and peers before the announcement of the winners in each group. Sandra Bullock won for “The Blind Side” and Jeff Bridges won for “Crazy Heart.” This new style gives each nominee  personal accolades before the winner is annonced. The actors and actresses get the opportunity to hear their peer’s reverence for their individual work.

Animated film had an uplifting evening as well. “Up” received awards for Animated Feature Film and Music (Original Score).

The show ran three hours and had only one performance, a dance choreographed to the theme songs for each of the nominees for Best Picture. The hosts did a good job at keeping the audience’s attention for the last awards, but the length of the program was noticeable. If the 82nd Academy Awards are any indication of the new tradition in films, everyone should ready themselves for a year of great, impacting, meaningful films.

Other winners

Actor in a Supporting Role

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Costume Design

Sandy Powell for “The Young Victoria

Documentary (Feature)

Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens for The Cove

Foreign Language Film

The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)” Argentina

Music (Original Score)

Michael Giacchino for “Up

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