Calaveras County, where we live, covers more than 1,000 square miles of ranch land and forests. Our county has four traffic signals and one very precious movie house – Angels Theater in downtown Angels Camp.
For those of us who prefer story to explosions and special effects, the theater shows foreign films, art films, documentaries and small release films on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Because of our theater, Sweetheart Al and I go to the movies almost every week. We’ve seen such films there as "The Weeping Camel" and "The Girl with the Pearl Earring," "Winged Migration" and "Spellbound."
More recently we’ve seen "Coraline," "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Invictus," "A Single Man," "Up," "Julie and Julia," "The Princess and the Frog," "The Blind Side" and "Avatar."
So, of course, I was interested in the Oscars. Who would win what?
I couldn’t imagine anyone taking the best actress Oscar away from Julia Child (I mean, Meyrl Streep). But I couldn’t decide if Jeff Bridges did a better job as Bad Blake than Colin Firth did as George Falconer or Morgan Freeman did as my hero Nelson Mandella.
I was hoping for Morgan Freeman simply because I think it is much harder to play a living human being that everyone knows or thinks they know, and make him believable. And Morgan Freeman was as excellent a Nelson Mandella as Meryl Streep was a Julia Child.
Obviously, I’m not in tune with the academy. The only winner I chose that agreed with the academy was "Up" for best animated film.
But I loved the fact that two really nice people won for best actor and best actress. And I loved the fact that their two movies had very positive messages. And I loved that "The Blind Side" was all about the power of goodness and that it was a true story.
And I loved the way Jeff Bridges talked about his parents and his family. I loved watching his dad on "Sea Hunt" back when I was a kid. How nice to be reminded of that and of how much Jeff loves his parents, his wife and his daughters.
But did anyone else feel that "Crazy Heart" was a kind of retread of the 1983 film "Tender Mercies" staring Robert Duvall? Both films were about a down and out country singer who drinks too much. In both films, the main character falls in love with a single mother who has a little boy. And in both films, the washed up singer achieves redemption and makes a comeback.
Robert Duvall won the best actor Oscar for his performance in "Tender Mercies." And all the way through "Crazy Heart," I was thinking about Duvall and his character. And then, suddenly, there was Duvall in "Crazy Heart" mentoring Jeff Bridge’s character through his struggles with alcohol and his struggles with his estranged son.
It just made me laugh, like "Crazy Heart" was Tender Mercies continued or Tender Mercies Part 2. Did anyone else make those connections or is it just my imagination always looking for similarities?
I was glad to see that after 82 years the academy finally awarded a woman director the Oscar.
Not only was I surprised with who received the best actor and best actress awards, I was shocked at how old everyone has become, from Steve Martin and Robin Williams to John Travolta, James Taylor, Kathy Bates and Barbara Streisand. Everyone who’s been part of my movie and music world was lookin’ a lot older.
Sweetheart Al said what most surprised him was "The number of categories."
But all in all we enjoyed the Oscars. Hope you did too.
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