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Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Expectedly, royalty reigned at the 79th Academy Awards. There was no fight for Helen Mirren's portrayal of The Queen. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Queen" she said rather matter of factly, earring in one hand, the clutch of her purse in the other. I wanted her to win so I cheered.

I was also pitting for Forrest Whitaker's brutal portrayal of Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. It was heartening to see him take home the coveted statue for his first Oscar nod.

Ditto for Jennifer Hudson, whose vocal chords did it for her in Dreamgirls. She got the well-deserved Best Supporting Actress nod, never find the fact that "America didn't vote for her."

The Academy though did vote for some blue-blooded film royalty. 26 years, 6 Oscar nominations later, they handed it over to the creator of 'Raging Bull' and 'Taxi Driver.' Martin Scorsese was expectedly shocked. "Could you check the envelope?" he requested. They did and 'The Departed' ended up walking away with the Best Picture Oscar too. Fantastic news for remakes. So what if the East is stealing the thunder, at least the remakes are. The Departed took inspiration from the popular 2002 Hong Kong thriller, 'Infernal Affairs' and went back with four Oscars. Significant, considering no picture was - including Best Picture.

Not that I cared much for the Best Picture as long as the over-hyped Babel didn't take the gold star home. Babel didn't work for me. The story lines appeared far too contrived to be connected, in particular the rifle that brought the Japanese strings together. It seemed like one of those movies that give you the grand globalisation spiel with a clear eye on the awards. Cate Blanchett was wasted in most of the movie, where she lay dying for the better part. It had its moments, pity they were too far and few between.

My favourite remains 'Dreamgirls' but that didn't even make the cut. So there you are. The Oscar showed that the best or the most lobbied films and stars don't always get it. Blood Diamond another memorable movie hardly got its Oscar moment nor did actors Leonardo di Caprio or Peter O'Toole.

Deepa Mehta's Water didn't win either.

In the end, like most other years there was no shock and no awe. Another year where the Oscars went by doing some predictable things and facing some 'Inconvenient Truths'.