The Academy Awards do the right thing, again!

I don’t watch awards shows, as a whole. They’re mostly dull and boring. They feature people whom I don’t care about, and subjects that I couldn’t care less about.

But then there’s the Academy Awards.

I haven’t missed the Oscars since … well, since so long, I honesty can’t remember how old I was when I first saw the awards, but I’ve been addicted for years. Be it for Billy Crystal’s wit (Billy, please continue to do the show — you are without a doubt the best host since Bob Hope), or for the speeches, the surprises, the goofiness, it’s kept me captivated for years.

This has been a hard year for the movie industry. Not only plagued with piracy on a public level, the industry has faced the loss of talent on a level that hasn’t been felt before on a such a level during my life. Unlike years previous, there were tributes specifically for two of the Academy’s greatest starts, Bob Hope and Kathryn Hepburn. But when the tribute to the rest of the stars came, there were names in there that forever changed the way we watch movies. It was far too many names to see lost within such a short period of time.

The hard part of this is that the older I get, the more names I recognize. I suppose this is the way of things to come. The names in the future, I’ll know more often than not. One day, I’ll probably know them all. It’s almost like losing good friends, even if they’re ones I’ve never met.

And once again, like last year, I need to thank the Academy for doing the right things. This year was not really a year of surprises. Pretty much everyone who was pegged to win, won. There were no real upsets, no surprises, no shockers. Okay, yes, that is a little boring. But it means that those responsible for voting didn’t make political decisions — they went with the right ones.

Well, yes, the fact that Lord of the Rings swept every category could be construed as political, especially because it didn’t really win in previous years. But let’s look at reality, here. Let’s realize that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is the most influential set of movies seen in the last decade. And nothing like that had ever been done before. The people nominated were those who’d worked on all three movies. Certainly there were other movies deserving of awards, but given the sheer scope of work, and the body that it represents, not to mention the quality of the final product, there is no question of who is deserving.

Best Actor. Sean Penn. Perhaps I would have preferred Johnny Depp, but I can live with Sean Penn. There are a number of people who say he is the Marlon Brando of our age. With all due respect, Sean Penn is far more talented than that — I can actually stand to watch Penn’s performances.

Best Actress. Haven’t seen Monster yet, but if Charlize Theron is willing to go that far for the sake of a role, then she’s deserves it.

I could go on with the other awards, but let’s be honest. When Lord of the Rings wins all 11 of its nominations, there’s no reason to even bother mentioning the others. (Okay, maybe I should, but simply put, if you haven’t read about them, I’m not about to shed any light here — there’s plenty better places to see it all.)

Thank you, AMPAS. Thank you for realizing that Lord of the Rings isn’t just a bunch of fantasy-obsessed teenage boys who need to see wizards. Thank you for seeing that it’s more than just some interesting words in a very long set of books. There is something powerful to this, and only a mind like Peter Jackson could bring it to life.

And thank you for getting Billy Crystal back. Please make sure you keep up the good work.

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