Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscars wrap

I really don't have much to say about Oscar night 2008. It was, on the whole, an unexceptional ceremony, which simply means that most of the stars were tastefully dressed and the Academy didn't commit any howling fallacies on the order of awarding "Crash" Best Picture. In fact, most of the winners were actually...gulp...deserving! even if they weren't necessarily my first choice.

Of course, the downside of Hollywood being on its best behavior is that it's, well, boring. We don't need a "Crash" upset, but where's Björk playing swan or Michael Moore ranting about fictional presidencies when we need 'em? Still, considering how little time the Academy had to put this show together, I think they did a decent job. Jon Stewart got some good lines in as host, and seemed more relaxed than he did the first time he took the gig.


"Once" winning for Best Song, Jon Stewart bringing Markéta Irglová back out so she could actually speak (good on him), and her lovely speech...genuinely uplifting because it was so clearly heartfelt.

Tilda Swinton's acceptance speech (She was also very funny on the red carpet: "I'm standing in a flower bed.")

Brad Bird on discussing his career path with his guidance counselor ("I said, I want to make movies. He said, What if you couldn't make movies? I said, I'd find a way to make movies. He said, What if movies didn't exist? I said, I'd have to invent them." Bravo, Brad, for never giving up the dream. You're an inspiration to us all.

Daniel Day-Lewis kneeling before the Queen, aka Helen Mirren. Have they ever been in a movie together? If not, they should.

"Bourne Ultimatum" winning all three awards it was up for...even if it resulted in my losing my Oscar pool. That was a damn good movie. If all "blockbusters" were that good, I wouldn't object to blockbusters.

DUMBEST MOMENT: Owen Wilson translating "Le Mozart des Pickpockets." But it's nice to see him back on his feet and smiling.

MOST DISAPPOINTING MOMENT: Toss-up between "Juno" winning original screenplay (though that was a foregone conclusion) and Amy Adams' performance of "Happy Working Song." It's not her, it's the lack of props and accoutrements. Where's her pretty princess dress and the CGI rats and roaches? Trust me, folks, this song is a lot funnier in the context of the movie. Oh well, at least she sang it well.

MOST OMINOUS MOMENT: Jack Nicholson chuckling "heh heh heh" just before reading some scripted line about films highlighting our "humanity," or something like that. Um, what does he know? I'm convinced he knows when the apocalypse is. He may even have some hand in it.

WORST OMISSION: Where were Roy Scheider and Brad Renfro in the Dead People Montage?


Amazingly, almost everyone looked really good. For the women, the theme of the night was The Red and the Black - with a handful of standout exceptions, like Amy Adams, who looked stunning in dark green, Keri Russell (sooo pretty as always), Marion Cotillard (the mermaid look actually worked on her), and radiantly pregnant Jessica Alba (hate to admit it, but I can't deny her hotness) and Cate Blanchett in purple. Not that the ladies in red weren't striking, too: for once Anne Hathaway didn't overdo the makeup, Katherine Heigl pulled off the nod to Marilyn, and Helen Mirren, man, is such a silver fox...I can only hope I look that good when I'm her age. Nicole Kidman looked radiantly pregnant, too, though she was wearing an awful lot of bling to go with her black gown. Oh yeah, and the men. Clooney dapper as always, darling wee Scot James McAvoy scruffy and adorable. Thought his skit with Josh Brolin (whom I'm starting to find more attractive) was funny and cute - more than I can say for the Seth Rogen-Jonah Hill pairing, which for me fell quite flat.

BEST RED CARPET MOMENT: Laura Linney, my personal goddess, rescuing Jennifer Garner from Crazy Gary Busey. Every time I see Gary Busey I think of him in "Entourage." Linney looked lovely, too; it's easy to forget what a good-looking woman she is cause she so rarely plays up her sex appeal. Garner looked uncomfortable, and not just because of Crazy Busey.

RUNNER-UP RED CARPET MOMENT: Viggo Mortensen, on being asked why he decided to take his (very cute) niece to the Oscars - "I like her." Awww...I love you, Viggo! The beard, not so much.

No disasters that I can recall offhand, sartorial or otherwise...Oh well, I guess every once in a while Hollywood does things right. Ditto the Academy. I'm quite proud of them this year, and quite disdainful of those who make much ado about Oscar "relevance" and the fact that "no one" saw the nominated movies. Nathaniel R. has a a terrific and passionate rebuttal of this disparagement on The Film Experience, to which I have nothing to add but: Amen. Preach it, brother!


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