Recaping the OscarsBy DANIELLE GILFORD
The 82nd annual Academy Awards were once again a great success hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Harris kicked off the show with an opening musical number. Martin and Baldwin followed with a humorous standup routine that made more than one comedic reference to Meryl Streep who was nominated for the 16th time.
This year, the Best Picture category was expanded to include ten nominees. The win went to the indie film, “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who also took home the award for directing. Bigelow is the first woman in history to receive the honor. “The Hurt Locker” also received awards for Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Writing (Original Screenplay). The film follows a group of elite soldiers who disarm bombs in the heat of combat.
Jeff Bridges won the Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role for “Crazy Heart,” in which he played an old country star who meets a journalist who helps turn things around for him. He paid tribute to his parents during his speech, saying, “Thank you mom and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession. They loved show biz so much and I feel an extension of them.”
Best Actress in a leading role went to Sandra Bullock for her honest and inspiring performance as Leigh Ann Tuohy in “The Blind Side.” Bullock accepted her award with genuine gratitude and class, acknowledging the talent and hard work of her competitors.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz accepted the Best Actor in a supporting role award for his work in the film, “Inglorious Bastards,” directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Best Actress in a supporting role was awarded to Mo’Nique for her riveting performance as Mary in the film “Precious,” based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. Precious also took home the award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) making Geoffrey Fletcher the first African American to receive a writing award from the Academy.
“Avatar” was also recognized more than once taking the win for Best Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects. Also, Pixar’s “Up” won best animated film. This is Pixar’s fifth award in this category in the past seven years.
Among the notable presenters was Ben Stiller, who was fully decked out in Avatar makeup to present the award for Best Makeup. Stiller joked with the audience saying, “This seemed like a better idea in rehearsal.” The award went to Star Trek. Zac Efron, Robin Williams, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana and Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner also presented awards.
Much has changed since the very first Academy Awards show. The first show took place on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Tickets were only $5 and there were few surprises as the winners had been announced three months earlier.
Real “Modern Warfare:” The system battle
“2010, the best year of gaming…so far.”By AUSTIN CONWAY
I doubt that I am the first one to say it and probably won’t be the last, but let’s be honest with one another, 2009 was somewhat lackluster when it comes to gaming. While the first half of the year alluded to an unforgettable lineup with AAA titles like “Resident Evil 5,” “Killzone 2” and “Halo Wars.” The second half of the year, in particular, the holiday season seemed to suffer due to the hulking giant which is “Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2,” pushing many titles later into the holiday season as well as the unknown which was 2010. Even though some excellent games did see a 3rd and 4th quarter release (“Uncharted 2,” “Assassins Creed 2,” and “Halo 3: ODST,” to name a few) the year still seemed somewhat hollow when compared to what had been promised and delayed. Dubbed by some as one of the “worst years for gaming in recent history,” 2009 has almost reached a notorious level as a yearlong “summer drought,” but its successor is primed to surpass it in almost every way.
The Playstation 3 witnessed its most successful year to date in 2009 with impressive releases such as “Killzone 2,” “Infamous,” and “Uncharted 2.” And they topped it off with a long awaited price cut and redesign to Sony’s black box we were convinced that truly “It only does everything.” Many seemed to believe that the PS3 had peaked with its success last year, but if 2010 is any indication, Sony was only setting up for an entertainment invasion more glorious than D-Day. In the first quarter alone (January- March), Sony will have released “MAG,” “Heavy Rain,” “Final Fantasy” and “God of War 3,” all of which flex the visual power of Blu-Ray. Last May, Sony revealed a new motion controller set to see store shelves this fall, the likes of which are similar in fashion to the Wii, and we all know that a motion controller generally come with a whole list of games that utilize it. If what is already announced doesn’t excite you, then you may be intrigued to know that “Gran Turismo 5,” “The Last Guardian” and “Socom 4” are set to round out this year on the Playstation 3, with many more announcements coming in June.
The Nintendo Wii holds first place in the “Console War,” and by the look of how many soccer moms and old people there are out there, it’s safe to say that it won’t lose it anytime soon. What makes the Wii so untouchable in terms of console sales this generation is the target audience that Nintendo has catered itself to, mostly what is considered the “mainstream.” Don’t get me wrong, Wii Fit Plus is fun for the first thirty minutes and then, like the Wii itself in all “hardcore gamer’s” homes, it too gathers dust. “Non-casual” releases in 09 didn’t do the greatest job in terms of sales, as can be seen with “MadWorld,” “The Conduit” and “The Metroid Prime Collection.” Nintendo saw most of its success in ‘09 with two releases, “Wii Sports Resort” (which included the Motion- Plus controller add-on) and the return of a true classic, “New Super Mario Bros.” for the Wii. It would appear that the “Big N” will at last shine light on its “most dedicated” customers again in 2010, for its first time in a long time (if ever), Nintendo is set to release its “Holy Trinity” all in one year. Oh yes, in the next twelve months alone we will see console installments of Mario (“Super Mario Galaxy 2,” 5/23/2010), Metroid (“Metroid: Other M,” 6/27/2010), and The Legend of Zelda (sometime this fall) grace the Wii. It’s okay, long time Nintendo Fans, the “Big N” has heard your cries and your gaming salvation is at hand.
Out of the three consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 seemed to struggle the most in ‘09. It would appear that not even two Halos (one being an RTS and the other being somewhat of expan- sion) could hold back Sony and Nintendo’s onslaught. Everything seems to have changed with the new year however, as the 360 has returned with a vengeance and a desire to take no prisoners. 2010 has already seen the release of the critically acclaimed “Mass Effect 2” to record-breaking January sales and very soon we will see the release of Xbox LIVE’s Game Room, an online digital arcade that will let you revisit the classics such as “Centipede” and “Asteroids,” with many more to come. Also headed to the 360 is the fifth installment of “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” series “Conviction.” It will be sharing the summer/spring spotlight with the much anticipated (and delayed) “psychological action thriller” “Alan Wake.”
Xbox’s second half of the year will see the release of the equally mysterious and anticipated Project Natal (code name), a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience” that is believed to revolutionize gaming as we know it. Project Natal has become so popular amongst third-party developers that over 70 percent are working on something for Microsoft’s “new experience,” a full launch lineup has even been promised with “Fable 3” at the helm with some sort of Natal functionality included. The promise of new console hardware is always exciting, but the true crown jewel of the 360 this year is “HALO Reach,” Bungie’s last game in the series and the “definitive Halo” set to release this fall.
The stage is set, and no matter who wins this year the customer who owns all three will be the only one truly reaping the benefits. Keep in mind, despite all the “awesomeness” coming our way, this is only a fraction, and all of these were more or less exclusive to their respective console. When you factor in all the multiplatform games to see releases (and believe me, we don’t know all of what’s hitting the shelf) it is clear to see why this is the greatest year in gaming…so far.