There has been so much stuff I’ve wanted to put in this blog, but it all ended up being slipped into something over at Rakes, going out in an e-mail or disappearing somewhere on the way to the keyboard. But there’s too much to talk about – half a season of television, the revving up of the Oscar races, the NBA continuing its climb of quality and relevance and so much more - to let this old horse of the internet lie dormant any longer.
For some reason, a lot of critics are claiming that 2008 was a bad year for film and they’re under whelmed by the films floating around Best Picture lists. This confounds me, especially after the last two years provided a host of films which were vastly overrated. I realize I’m in the minority in thinking that a film should have a coherent ending or at least show the climax between the two characters the majority of the movie follows (No Country For Old Men) or perhaps provide some sort of motivation beyond “He’s an incredibly greedy misanthrope!” to a three hour character study (There Will Be Blood), but I guess I'm old school. Any time one of your Best Picture nominees is Atonement, that is not a good year for movies.
After Wall-E and The Dark Knight were both critical and box office home runs this summer, I assumed that despite their quality, they’d be forgotten as the weather turned cold, replaced by the usual Oscar fare the old hats of the Academy deemed more worthy than a trite cartoon or comic book movie. As more and more “Best of” lists roll out from critics across the country, it’s actually starting to seem like two movies that were well-made, worthy of repeat viewings and seen by millions of people might end up actually getting some love come nomination time besides the obvious (Wall-E for Best Animated, Heath Ledger for Supporting Actor). I’d just like to thank Oscar-bait films like
The best of the best will be the race for Best Original Song. The Academy released the shortlist of songs (not that short, really, at 49), and scanning it reveals the potential for an absolutely fantastic Oscar ceremony. With Hugh Jackman hosting (the revenge of Van Helsing, finally), the whole night should hopefully be streamlined down from the bloated four hours it usually approaches. The number of nominees fluctuates between three and five, but I imagine we’ll be seeing a full slate of contenders this year.
It seems like two of the shoe-ins are going to be Bruce Springsteen for “The Wrestler” in The Wrestler and Peter Gabriel for “Down To Earth” in Wall-E. It also seems realistic to think that one of the tunes from Slumdog Millionaire, either “Jai Ho” from the opening or “O Saya” from the Bollywood musical sequence at the end, will slip in. I would also say that since it has eleven – eleven – on the shortlist, High School Musical 3 will get a song in. That alone is pretty exciting, when you consider that Peter Gabriel, The Boss, a Bollywood extravaganza and Zac Efron (That’s a thing, right?) would all be involved. But what, friends, could put it over the top?
Vampire puppets, because yes, even though there is no Infant Sorrow or Huey Lewis, Jason Segel’s “Dracula’s Lament” is on the shortlist, competing with Norah Jones, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce for the final nomination. If you give bonus points for the song actually being relevant to the movie – like “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” was for Hustle & Flow – then Forgetting Sarah Marshall should get some serious love from the Academy. I’m not sure if words could encompass (in fact, I’m sure they could not), just how perfect an Oscar ceremony would be where The Dark Knight and Wall-E jostled for Best Picture while Bruce Springsteen and Jason Segel shared a stage.
So if there is any justice in this depressed, collapsing world of ours, “Dracula’s Lament” will get nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. Without question, it is the most uplifting song to ever end with the lyrics "Die...die...die...I can't" and deserves the giant stage of Oscar night.