Well, ain't that something?
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won some Oscars. In fact, it won ELEVEN of them, which is 8 more than I thought it would win.
Like in the 2 past years, I figured the movie would slink out of there with 3 or 4 bull-crap technical awards.
But I was wrong, and I don't mind admitting it. It's a good kind of wrong that comes from devil's advocacy.
If it had lost, my headline would have been There And Screwed Again.
The movie won every award that it was up for. It tied the 11-win record of Titanic and Ben Hur. It's the third movie to sweep all of its nominations, after The Last Emperor and Gigi.
(That's Gigi, not Gigli.)
Above and moreover, it's the first fantasy film to win best picture in Oscar history. Other big genre things have been nominated: Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and E.T. But Oscar voters traditionally only vote for things that could actually happen.
Quite a shakeup this year. The Academy finally took their heads out of their bums long enough to reward a really deserving piece of work, never mind its non-real elements. Peter Jackson even mentioned that in his acceptance speech.
Does this mean that Spider-Man 2 and Blade 3 will be up for Best Picture next year? Well, no. It'll be back to business as usual, and the Academy will be back to slathering butter on gut-twisting melodramas and afterschool specials.
But it's nice that the Academy finally acknowledged, kicking and screaming, that the best of genre stuff, just like the best of non-genre stuff, is what they should be rewarding.
And without genre stuff, for them there would be no industry which supports $20 million paychecks, gold-crusted toilets, and gentle, polite jesting from Billy Crystal.
An easy way to pick your Oscar winners: Did someone die? Did someone cry? Is someone retarded?
Return of the King met all 3. King Theoden died, Sam cried (twice!), and Pippin acted like a doofus by picking up the Bowling Ball of Evil.
In other news, every acting winner got their first win. Beloved favorites of mine Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin got nothin'. But the people who did win the acting prizes all have long and rich histories in the science fiction business.
Best Supporting Actor Tim Robbins. I have to applaud the Academy. Finally years later, Tim Robbins wins for his moving, earnest portrayal of Phil Blumburtt in Howard the Duck.
That's right, Howard the Duck. Someone who was in that is AN OSCAR WINNER!
Robbins was also in Mission to Mars, but did that have a talking duck? Seriously, I'm asking. I didn't see it.
Sean Penn is finally rewarded for his tragic turn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Party on indeed, dear Spicoli. Party on, indeed.
Renee Zellwegger won for her bravura acting in Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and My Boyfriend's Back. You want to see some acting? Reacting to zombies and crazy killers is now proof that you can get a little gold guy. Or an Oscar.
Charlize Theron is a genre actor's dream. She has been in Astronaut's Wife, Mighty Joe Young, and a third movie in a wonderful trilogy, Children of the Corn 3.
I for one have never seen more believable, compelling acting from a child. Or from corn.
A win for Charlize Theron, handler of Mighty Joe Young, is really a win for giant apes everywhere.