Yes, my six for nine showing with the major awards was pretty underwhelming. In my defense, I can only say that when it came to my recommendations for who ought to win, I was a less embarrassing 8 for 9 (way to go, Academy), with only Tilda Swinton's very unexpected supporting actress eluding me. In any case, I did recommend betting against me in any office pools, and I hope anyone who made out nicely on this advice remembers the source of their good fortune. A few scattered thoughts:
I was very pleased by Marion Cotillard's best actress win. It's only the second time an actress has won for a foreign-language role, and the previous instance was a far-better-known Sophia Loren taking the statuette for her turn in already-legendary director Vittorio de Sica's 1961 film Two Women (La Ciociara). A real upset, and a worthy one.
How Tilda Swinton snuck past favorites Cate Blanchett and Amy Ryan (and, arguably, Ruby Dee) to seize her award is more of a mystery. My best guess is that this was a highly split vote and that Swinton received strong support from fellow actors, who make up the largest bloc of Academy voters and were widely credited with helping Michael Clayton earn its unexpected raft of nominations. Also, don't discount the everbody-loves-George-Clooney factor. He knew he wasn't going to win himself against Daniel Day-Lewis and that his film had a low "ceiling" for best picture, but he presciently predicted Swinton had the best chance for a Clayton win.
I was even more delighted than I thought I would be that "Falling Slowly," from the romantic Irish indie Once, won Best Song, presumably thanks in part to a split vote among Enchanted's three nominees. Regular readers have doubtless grown tired of my proselytizing on the film's behalf, but let me assure any newcomers that it is an tiny gem, one of the very best movies of a very good year. (Carpetbagger captured a nice backstage moment after the win: "Hansard was effusive... including walking into the press room
and saying, 'I just got a text from Bono. That is the biggest thing in
the world that can happen to an Irishman.' ")
Speaking of the Enchanted songs, it was almost painful to see Amy Adams up there performing "Happy Working Song." The movie may have been a silly confection, but her performance in it was irresistible and well worthy of an Oscar nomination. (It could have taken the place of Blanchett's reputation-driven nod for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, an equally silly movie that actually took itself seriously. Did anyone else notice her look of embarrassment-verging-on-horror when they showed the clip from the movie?)
Some cameraman at the ceremony was seriously in love with Laura Linney. And who can possibly blame him?
P.S. Anyone suffering from Oscar withdrawal who missed my bloggingheads discussion with Ross Douthat over the weekend can find it here.