Stars descended upon the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood last night, and another Academy Awards is in the books, or more correctly, the history books.
Viewers got a healthy dose of deja vu with a Broadway-esque Musical Theatre opening number, featuring a hoofin', beltin' Neil Patrick Harris. A tradition begun by Billy Crystal, the opening song and dance number alludes to the nominated films in most categories. Consensus has it that the smokin' hot opener performed by Hugh Jackman was better overall, but it was very gratifying (once again) to see rhinestone-bedazzled and feather-clad dancers gliding about and kicking out the Broadway-style choreography so prominently featured at an award show for movies.
The Broadway musical turned Musical Theatre film, NINE, did not win any gold statuettes, but Oscars were handed out to other award-worthy music endeavors. Best Animated Film and Best Score went to the amazingly touching, funny, and well-written film, UP. While I was personally rooting for the Musical Theatre animated film, PRINCESSANDTHEFROG to win Best Song, the award went to CRAZY HEART's country ballad, "The Weary Kind."
Producers continued the ridiculous tradition of just talking about the song nominees rather than allowing the composers and singers to actually perform them. However, even more perplexing than not hearing the nominated songs being sung was having to sit through an interpretive dance sequence forced upon the show by producer, Adam Schankman. Note to Academy: PLEASE bring back the composer and singers who EARNED their place at the Academy Awards and leave the abstract dance numbers to reality TV shows.
Months of pre-show talk had surrounded James Cameron and his film AVATAR, Oscar newcomers Mo'Nique and Gaborey Sidibe from PRECIOUS, and perennial nominee, Meryl Streep. Secretly, most people were rooting for Sandra Bullock for Best Actress, and she ultimately won the award---reminiscent of the moment another popular, romantic-comedy actress, Julia Roberts, won Best Actress, suddenly becoming legitimized as a serious actress.
Kathryn Bigelow made history when she became the first woman to win Best Director. While the winners are supposedly secret, it can be no accident that Kathryn Bigelow was handed her award by the one-and-only Barbra Streisand, the woman who pioneered women's place in show business on the production side of a project, not just the pretty face-for-hire in front of the camera. Many a Babs fan still thinks Streisand was cheated out of a Best Director Oscar for YENTL all those years ago, thanks to the good-ol'-boy network in Hollywood. It is no understatement to say that women can do what we do as directors, creative talents, and designers because Barbra Streisand blazed that trail for us in the last four decades.
The 82nd Academy Awards served up several memorable moments for women, African-Americans, and other minorities, not soon to be forgotten, or under appreciated for their importance for equality in show business.
***TRISH CAUSEY, (Performer, Composer, Vocal Coach - AGMA, ASCAP, ACF, VASTA, ATHE; SCL (Assoc. Mem.) is a soloist and composer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her new online show is “Musical Theatre Talk with Trish Causey”. She is on the MAC Artist Roster and the SAF's Southern Artistry. She is currently writing a book on the theatre due out in 2010. Feel free to follow her on Facebook or Twitter. http://www.TrishCausey.com***