Five Memories From My First Awards Season

As Hollywood settles back into a more quotidian routine, its Oscargasm finally over and the glitz and glam neatly folded away till another season, it's a good time to take a look back at a few of this year's awards season highlights. And while the Academy may have swung its gates open to a list of ten best picture nominees, I don't believe in grade inflation. So, for old time's sake, here is a list of five memories from awards season I'll definitely be taking with me.

The Ladies Have It
Perhaps the best news from this year's awards season is that the glass ceiling for female directors has finally been shattered. It seems no accident that Barbara Streisand was chosen to announce the award for Best Director, since she was famously slighted by the Academy for her 1983 film Yentl, which earned her top directorial honors that year at the Golden Globes. Bigelow is only the fourth woman to be nominated for Best Director and the first woman to have won, most recently behind Sofia Coppola who was nominated in 2003 for Lost in Translation. And it was endearing to see a stunned Bigelow, who had clearly not expected to win either honor, hold an Oscar in each hand amongst the cast and crew of her finely made film.

Sarah Palin's Gifting Lounge Romp
Oh, Alaska. While former Governor Sarah Palin may be able to see Russia from the privacy of her own home, she was most assuredly in public when she rode in on a moose, kids in tow, through some of this season's gifting lounges. Presumably the Fox News host was searching for a few items to fill in the gap left by the GOP's repossession of her $150,000 campaign wardrobe. So, like other celebrities, Palin stocked up at lounges across Los Angeles. Some gifting suites, like GBK's W Hollywood-based lounge, used the opportunity to raise $300,000 in support of the charity Help for Orphans's relief efforts in Haiti.

The Indies win the Best of Ten
This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences blew open the field of potential best picture nominees to ten for the first time since 1944. While the larger field did ensure the inclusion of boxoffice favorites like Avatar, it doesn't seem to have effected the overall outcome of the kinds of films which took away top honors. The Hurt Locker, with barely $16 million in boxoffice swept Best Picture, Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay, while director Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to net honors as the top helmer in the business. (Even the award for Best Adapted Screenplay went to an indie scribe, Geoffrey Fletcher for Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire.) For all the talk of the death of independent film, that genre still seems to have a chokehold on the industry's top accolades.

Two for the Price of One
This year's Oscar co-hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin can pat themselves on the back, as the ratings for the telecast increased for the first time in recent memory. I'd wager that the bump in the ratings was probably due in larger measure to the fact that the Best Picture category was stocked with boxoffice performers, but all the same Baldwin and Martin kept the telecast moving fairly swiftly, entertaining enough, and antic free--that is, until a personal matter between Music for Prudence director Roger Ross Williams and his co-producer Elinor Burkett spilled over Williams' mother's cane and onstage during Williams's acceptance speech for Best Short Documentary.

Mo'Nique's Screaming Orgasm
And finally, though she may have just won an Academy Award for her portrayal of an abusive welfare mother in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, but as part of this year's Awards Roundtable series, Mo'Nique provided viewers with a decidedly more spirited performance while discussing what it's like for actresses filming sex scenes.