The 2005 Oscars
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Date: 02 March, 2005
Surefish’s film critic Catherine von Ruhland casts her eye on Sunday night’s awards ceremony
Good on you, Halle Berry! Her humbly humorous acceptance speech for Worst Actress for Catwoman at the ' Razzies' on Saturday night set the tone for this year's real Academy Awards: she was decent enough to be there and she spoofed her tearful 2002 Monster's Ball Academy award-winning acceptance moment!
None of the nominated Brits - Imelda Staunton, Mike Leigh, Kate Winslet, Clive Owen or Sophie Okenedo - except newcomer Andrea Arnold for the short film Wasp picked up a statuette. But you couldn't help feeling proud when Berry revealed that her (British) mother had taught her that 'to be a good winner you had to be a good loser first.'
It's a lesson that poor Martin Scorsese has had to once again take to his heart. Like Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Altman he has now been nominated five times but never won. To lose to Clint Eastwood for both Best Director and Best Picture (for Million Dollar Baby) must have been a bitter pill to have to swallow. Especially since The Aviator seems a much more ambitious picture, reflecting its subject matter of the early life of Howard Hughes.
For those who remember the real-life Hughes in his dotage as a long-haired, long-nailed recluse (an image invariably used to show how money can't buy happiness), The Aviator reminded us of his genuine youthful achievements and made you feel for the man's brokenness. The marvellous Cate Blanchett deserves her Oscar too for a sterling portrayal of Katherine Hepburn.
The Aviator is a life-affirming film, yet, strangely both this year's Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film ( The Sea Inside) are - look away now if you have yet to see Million Dollar Baby - pro-euthanasia movies. Yet, ironically, that is their cinematic downfall.
The point is that these days we know of too many cases of individuals who have experienced the same dreadful injuries yet somehow get on with their lives. Rather than a change in the law, what perhaps is needed is compassion and a measure of leniency for what for most of us would seem unbearable constraints on our current lives.
Back to Halle Berry. Her and Denzel Washington's deserved 2002 Oscar wins were as much an overdue recognition of the Afro-Caribbean contribution to Hollywood history.
This year the fact that five black actors received nominations, including our own Sophie Okanedo, shows that the dam has burst, and that race is less of an issue.
Last week, Don Cheadle, nominated for Best Actor for Hotel Rwanda was asked 'What will be going through your mind if you win?' 'Jamie Foxx's fist,' he replied!
It wasn't because he was the only other black actor on the list in with a chance. It was because Foxx was the actor most expected to win, for Ray, which he did.