Monday, February 28, 2005

And the Envelope, Please...My Post-Oscars Dish

Wow, it is distinctly weird to finish watching the Oscars and realize there's still 3+ hours left to bedtime...spoken like a true East-to-West Coast transplant, I know.

So - no Picture/Director split after all. Poor Marty. In my heart I think I knew "Million $ Baby" would sweep, but was hoping that sentiment/sympathy would win the day. (Alas, that stubbornness, plus a last-minute impulse switch to Virginia Madsen for Best Supporting Actress, lost me this year's Oscars pool.) As for the rest - no surprises, not a one. The Academy is awfully disappointing that way. The last time I remember being genuinely surprised was when Ian McKellan *didn't* win Best Supporting Actor for "Fellowship of the Ring." Oh well, there's some comfort in predictability - and Jamie Foxx delivered a nice acceptance speech, even if the upshot of it seemed to be "Whup your kids and/or grandkids good - they'll thank you for it some day."

I haven't decided what I think of the show's changed format - it did seem to move along a bit quicker than usual, but I don't like the way it basically created three distinct tiers of awards: the Important awards (presented the traditional way), the Somewhat-Less-Important awards (where all the nominees gathered on stage), and the Nobody-Gives-a-Crap awards (where the award was handed to the winner in the audience). I mean, I suppose that's the harsh reality of these things, but then why give out the third-class awards publicly at all?

Chris Rock was adequate as host - intermittently quite funny - but hardly the loose cannon some were hoping/fearing he'd be, unless you count his hilarious riff on Bush and "Fahrenheit 911"...which to me was just telling it like it is. The bit with the people at the Magic Johnson Theater - a total ripoff of Leno's Jaywalking, incidentally - was a pretty trenchant reminder of the wide variance of moviegoer demographics, especially across race. But I think the funniest part was Rock's little interchange with Sean Penn - who, bless his soul for sticking up for Jude Law and the working actor, but he really has no sense of humor about some things...this of course being the same guy who wrote an angry letter in Rolling Stone re: "Team America," basically telling Trey Parker & Matt Stone to f**k themselves. Sean, honey, no one's disrespecting you, but maybe you'd better work on not letting your hair resemble Lyle Lovett's if you want people to take you as seriously as you'd like.

No dance numbers this year, thank the lord, though we couldn't escape the songs. (They should really eliminate the Original Song category altogether.) A little too much Beyoncé, but she was pretty good (her duet with Josh Groban was much less cringe-inducing than I was expecting), and looked stunning - except in the one number where she had more black eyeliner than a club full of Goths and Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" combined. Fashion-wise generally, I saw lots of simple elegance and nothing hideous on the level of Lara Flynn Boyle/Bjork hideous, though the night had the usual round of questionable fashion choices - like Laura Linney's fairly ugly getup, Samuel Jackson's tracksuit-meets-Star Trek funeral, and Hilary Swank's love-it-or-hate-it dark blue gown. (I didn't hate it, but I did find myself wanting to take half the material from the front and move it to the back.) And what's with the craze for cleavage-holding breastpins?

Classy-as-always solo by Yo Yo Ma made a nice accompaniment to a particularly big-star-studded Dead People Montage. But why no tribute to Arthur Miller? Or did I miss it?

Final random comment, courtesy of someone at the Oscars-watching party I was at: With his lunatic 'fro, Adam Duritz really does look like Sideshow Bob from "The Simpsons."

And that's it from the Best Coast...night, all. Tune in same time next year!


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