It wasn't as enjoyable as last year's ceremony in my opinion, but the 2010 Oscars will nevertheless have a firm place in history. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director, while her film, The Hurt Locker, also took home Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and both sound categories. With six total wins, it was far and away the evening's big winner, with James Cameron's Avatar scoring a consolation prize with a modest three victories. Precious, Up, and Crazy Heart all took home two each. I ended up a decent 17/24 on my predictions and, like a lot of people, took a beating with the short films.
Contrary to popular belief, I thought that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin did a fine job hosting the ceremony. In an article he wrote for the Huffington Post, Baldwin stated that, "Steve Martin and I worked rather hard, along with the writers and producers, to make sure our contribution did not detract from the primary purpose of the evening, honoring the highest achievements in film. We tell some jokes and show some clips, but the night belongs to the great talent in that room." I'm glad to hear Baldwin say that because I thought that's exactly what they did. They had several solid jokes along the way -- most notably, the Paranormal Activity spoof -- and by night's end, I would've loved to have seen more of them.
The evening's big shocker, and certainly one of the biggest shockers in recent years, was Geoffrey Fletcher's win in the Adapted Screenplay category for Precious. Of course, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner were the perceived favorites for Up in the Air, but the film failed to capitalize in each of its six nominated categories. Contributing to the evening's historic impact is the fact that Fletcher is the first African American to win a screenplay category. Fletcher was evidently as surprised as we were by his victory, starting his speech with, "I don't know what to say," and ending it with, "I'm sorry I'm drawing a blank right now." His feelings were genuine nevertheless, and he still managed to carry the film's lasting message by dedicating his award to "precious boys and girls everywhere."
In a very personal category for me, Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett won Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind," which is, simply put, one of the great cinematic achievements of 2009 in my eyes. I'm not sure I've ever seen a better use of an original song in a film. The lyrics manage to be both resonant and relevant, and Bingham's 28-year-old voice somehow sounds as if he actually is a broken down boozer. Among many others, Ryan thanked his wife by saying, "I love you more than rainbows, baby." That's the songwriter in him. It's a shame we didn't get to hear T Bone speak at all, but in a way, it almost contributes to his persona.
I also really enjoyed Michael Giacchino's onstage speech. Giacchino won Best Original Score for his beautiful work in the film Up. After describing a childhood in which the people around him greatly encouraged his created endeavors, he had this to say to the less fortunate: "I know there are kids out there that don't have that support system so if you're out there listening, listen to me: If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It's not a waste of time. Do