Last night’s Oscars ceremonies may have been slack and devoid of many surprises when it came to awards handed out, but it was filled with cool little surprises when it came to being geeky. Sure, on its surface the 82nd Annual Academy Awards appeared to be just another glitzy self-fellation by the Hollywood elite, but in a lot of ways it was the triumph of genre and B-movie making. And that’s without even taking into account the fact that two science fiction films were nominated for Best Picture, and that movies like Star Trek won Oscars themselves.
Roger Corman gets an Oscar. This was announced months ago (and the untelevised awards ceremony happened many weeks ago), but that doesn’t make it any less cool to see Roger Corman sitting in the audience during the Oscars last night, and getting a rousing ovation.
Must-Own Movies: Shout! Factory recently got the rights to the entire Corman library, and they’re releasing new versions of his most famous films in the coming months. Look for Blu-Rays of Death Race 2000 (click here to pre-order) and Rock and Roll High School (click here to pre-order) this summer.
Kathryn Bigelow wins big. Yeah, Bigelow is the first woman to ever win the Best Director Oscar, and yeah she’s James Cameron’s ex-wife. These are the things the mainstream press goes on and on about. But what about the fact that directed Near Dark, one of the great modern vampire films? That deserves to be mentioned, especially on a night when two of the lumps that star in the Twilight movies were allowed to take the stage.
Must-Own Movie: There’s a brand new Blu-Ray of Near Dark that you can get for a measly 9.99 right now! Click here to order.
SWAT gets mentioned at the Oscars. Yeah, it’s not a great movie, but fans of B-action were pretty psyched to not only hear Colin Farrell reminiscing about working with Best Actor nominee Jeremy Renner on SWAT, but they even showed a still from the movie! Nobody who made that film ever imagined their movie would be even in spitting distance of the Oscars.
Must-Own Movie: None. But if you really, really want to have SWAT in your home video collection, you can buy the DVD and Blu-Ray cheap. Click here to order.
Fisher Stevens gets an Oscar. When you were watching Fisher Stevens mangle an Indian accent in Short Circuit, did you ever imagine he’d be holding a gold statue in his hand one day? Well, maybe you did, but that’s because you were a kid the first time you saw the adventures of Johnny 5 and friends. And it certainly wasn’t acting (and definitely not acting in brown face) that got Fisher Stevens his Oscar, it was producing the dolphin slaughter doc The Cove.
Must-Own Movie: Good news for you: Short Circuit is on Blu-Ray, and you can order it by clicking here.
Clu takes home Oscar gold. No, not Clu Gulager, star of Return of the Living Dead. I’m talking about Jeff Bridges, who helped pioneer all the CGI stuff for which Avatar was praised when he starred in Tron. Bridges won for Crazy Heart, and his next film is going to be the very long awaited sequel to Tron, Tron Legacy. Don’t expect Clu to be such a cut and dried good guy this time. Bonus: Jeff’s shout out to his late dad Lloyd included a reference to the classic (and cheesy) aquatic B-action show Sea Hunt.
Must-Own Movie: You can buy Tron on DVD right now, but I imagine a Blu-Ray release is coming as we near Tron Legacy. In the meantime hunt down the out-of-print Sea Hunt DVDs by clicking here.
A clip from Evil Dead 2 appears on the Oscar telecast. I thought we’d have to wait until Sam Raimi or Bruce Campbell passed to ever get a look at Ash at the Oscars, but last night’s half-assed ‘Tribute to Horror’ included at least one awesome moment: Ash being chased through the cabin by a Deadite. It’s actually a very famous moment for true Evil Dead 2 fans, as the camera angle allows you to see the top of the cabin set itself.
Must-Own Movie: There are enough versions of Evil Dead 2 on home video to swallow your soul. Get your hands on this Blu-Ray edition now.
The Whedonverse visits the Oscarverse. Besides Dr. Horrible himself doing a song and dance in the show’s opening, a guest star from the first season of Angel was up for an Oscar last night. SWAT wasn’t Jeremy Renner’s only weird previous gig – he also played a vampire named Penn in the first season of Angel, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off. Penn gets killed in a very cool scene where guest star Kate can only stake him by also staking Angel.
Must-Own Movies: Well, none. But you can get the complete Angel box set by clicking here. Highly recommended!
Slurm appears in an Oscar-winning short. Logorama, the short that won Best Animated Short, is made up of corporate logos and mascots and nothing but corporate logos and mascots. But amidst the Exxons and McDonalds and even the movie logos, one cool phony logo made an appearance: the one for the futuristic cola Slurm, from Futurama. I’m willing to bet there are other near easter eggs hidden in that short for the sharp-eyed.
Must-Own Movies: I won’t lie – I haven’t liked any of the Futurama movies. But you can get the complete series collection inside a Bender head, and that seems like a bargain at any price. Click here to order.
Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead and Chucky menace the Oscars. While the ‘Tribute to Horror’ was partially baffling (Marathon Man? Edward Scissorhands?) and partially depressing (Twilight? No Let the Right One In, or anything new and smart?), at the very least it allowed some of the most iconic modern monsters a chance to visit the Oscars. The black and white segment of the montage was cool – I’m always happy to see the Universal Monsters crash any party – these characters are more or less accepted. But Jason smashing through the window at the end of Friday the 13th Part 2? There is simply no way in hell you ever imagined you would see that shit happen at the Oscars.
For a fairly complete list of the movies in the ‘Tribute to Horror,’ visit the Raising Hell blog.
Must-Own Movies: You can take your choice of Friday the 13th films here, A Nightmare on Elm Street films here, Halloween films here, Child’s Play films here and Hellraiser films here.
Mr. Spock’s ears get a shout out. And we’re not talking about the ones we saw being applied to Zachary Quinto when Star Trek won for Best Make-Up. We’re talking about those worn by Leonard Nimoy and owned by Ben Stiller. His gag wasn’t a gag – the actor and director is a huge Trek nerd, and owns a ton of memorabilia.
Must-Own Movies: Go for the best of the original series, The Wrath of Khan (click here to buy) and with the surprisingly strong kick-off to the new series, Star Trek (click here to buy).
The man who put Cannibal Holocaust on DVD gets an Oscar. I shouted for joy when Bob Murawksi won Best Editor for The Hurt Locker. Not because I love The Hurt Locker (it’s good but it didn’t make my Top 15 of 2009) and not because Murawski edited the Spider-Man films (even though he did). No, it’s because Bob Murawski, along with Sylvester Stallone’s son Sage, is behind Grindhouse Releasing, the DVD distribution company that is putting sick classics out in wonderful special editions. Bob and Sage did great work with the repulsive Cannibal Holocaust and last year they worked magic with the underrated splatter gem Pieces. Next up: they’re putting the original Evil Dead back in theaters. Let’s hope all this Oscar gold doesn’t keep Bob too far from his Grindhouse duties.
Must-Own Movies: Buy Pieces right now (click here to buy). It’s hard to recommend the brutal Cannibal Holocaust to everybody, but if you think you can stomach it, click here to pick it up. And visit the Grindhouse Releasing website for more on their great work.