I originally planned on doing a running diary, rather diatribe, for the Grammys a few weeks back, but I figured the Oscars would be even better since I was able to see all but one of the Best Picture nominees (Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood…sorry, Atonement isn’t my cup of tea). Here goes…
Nice intro if you’re like me and watching the Oscars on HD…when they invented HD, I’m sure they were picturing people watching the Super Bowl, Die Hard movies, and the Academy Awards…
This segment is plugging every big budget movie that has never won a major Oscar winner…like Terminator starring California’s own Arnie Schwarzenegger and Transformers starring…Optimus Prime!
Once again, Jon Stewart is back to host…seeing him reminds me of #35 on the list of Stuff White People Like.
Man, I’m sure glad the writers strike ended…and I see the Oscars producers (and ABC) have given Stewart quasi-carte blanche to make fun of the strike that costs millions, if not billions, of dollars for all the rich people in the Kodak Theatre. I hate how they tried to make the writers strike seem like some battle between blue collar and white collar entertainment types. In reality, these poor, working class writers were simply trying to get more money from producers before Barack Obama gets rid of the “tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”
Anyways, I’m glad the strike ended because it would’ve been a tragedy for the Oscars to miss out on its 80th anniversary. Speaking of 80th birthday…it’ll be fitting if Obama is inaugurated next Jan. 20th, just a few days after what would have been Martin Luther King’s 80th birthday.
There sure was a lot of blood in this year’s movie lineup…how can people attack video games and rap music for spreading messages of violence when I’m sitting here looking at a room full of college-educated white people who are giving away gold-plated statues to other white people? Should we tell our kids to not pay attention to the best movies of 2007? “Tiffany…this is a grown-ups movie…go back in your room and watch Miley Cyrus.”
Well, I have to take back the part about the room being full of white people…I see a handful of Spanish (Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz) and Black (Denzel, Will and Jada) people.
Here’s another message we’re sending our youth…teen pregnancy is hot! Knocked Up and Juno weren’t just critical favorites this year…they also made a shitload of money. Less-than-Clooney actors like Seth Rogen and less-than-Blanchett actresses like Ellen Page became household names this year on the strength of unplanned pregnancies. Gotta love those writers!
Oh, there’s Jon Stewart with his first political joke of the night…did you know John McCain is six years younger than Clint Eastwood, who won his second best director Oscar a few years ago for Million Dollar Baby he was approaching 75 years old…I don’t see any Oscar voters saying Eastwood is too old to be considered…just saying…anyways, seniors are a major voting bloc, at least more so than 20-somethings, and I don’t think they much care if the next president is 45 or 75, so long as he does a better job than W.
“Pick the Democrat you’ll vote for”…now that’s a line worth quoting.
Diversity Alert: I see Wesley Snipes sitting next to Spike Lee…whatever happened to Snipes…he peaked in the mid-90s and now he’s watched as guys like Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Terrence Howard have passed him by. Maybe Spike can resurrect his career with a movie called The End of White Flight - “Why Brooklyn Isn’t Brooklyn Anymore.”
Here we are with our first award of the night…Jennifer Garner Affleck presenting the award for Costume Design to…Alexandra Byrne for her work on Elizabeth: The Golden Age…that may be one of the top awards going to that film seeing as how much critics hated it and how Cate Blanchett doesn’t have a chance in hell of taking the Best Actress trophy home for such a bad movie.
This Alexandra lady gave a nice short acceptance speech…I’m sure the director (more like the official timer) is thrilled. I wonder if they give all of the nominees a “talking to” before the show to let them know they’ll need to be brief up there…or if they just send letters to the less-famous types and hope they leave plenty of time for ratings boosters like George Clooney and Denzel.
Back to Mrs. Affleck, she had a pretty good year…her hubby directed Gone Baby, Gone to critical success…she made $7 mil for her role in The Kingdom and started in Best Pic nominee Juno and she’s working on This Side of the Truth, which co-stars Jonah Hill, making Garner one of the first to work with both Superbad stars after working with, although not sharing scenes with, Michael Cera in Juno.
Not just because he played the role of Ocean in Ocean’s 11, but I’m starting to wonder if George Clooney is our Sinatra … the guy that just owns the room no matter who is there. Sure Will Smith makes more money and Tom Hanks wins more awards and Denzel has a better filmography and Brad Pitt is better looking, but Clooney is seriously the most important person in the entire Kodak Theatre by the looks and sounds of it. I mean, he’s got that front-row, corner seat (a la Jay-Z at the Grammys) to prove it.
And here’s Jon Stewart with his first product placement/attack of the night…trying to subtly tell us that we should keep spending $11.50 to go to the movie theatres instead of $3.95 for the DVD on our iPhones.
Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, stars of the upcoming flick Get Smart, are out to present the award for Best Animated, which will be Brad Bird’s Ratatouille running away… reason 1) it was good by all accounts and reason 2) Pixar is behind it and they pretty much own the Best Animated award.
The 2007 “Rookie of the Year” Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) gives the award for Makeup to La Vie En Rose’s pair…more short and sweet acceptance speeches = happy director.
Amy Adams (Charlie Wilson’s War) sings “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted and let’s just say they didn’t put that much money into putting together a show.
Man, Michael Douglas is showing 60+ men everywhere how it’s done with Catherine Zeta-Jones at his side. Both rich, both attractive, both Oscar winners. Tim Robbins/Susan Surandon…Joel Coen/Frances McDormand…any other Oscar pairings I’m forgetting?
Nice original commercial from McDonald’s…Black people dancing and listening to music while they eat their fast food…I’ve never seen that before. Talk about pushing the envelope.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is also in the upcoming flick, Get Smart. Visual Effects…looks like Transformers is going to get shut out on Michael Bay’s (big-budget, non-artsy) reputation alone…oh well, he’s a mega-millionaire…Golden Compass wins. Nice…four white guys winning for best visual effects…celebrating 80 years of diversity in Hollywood.
Cate Blanchett presenting the award for Art Direction - Sweeney Todd..man, that woman is smiling like she’s doing a Cindy McCain impersonation.
Sorry, but everytime I see Harrison Ford I think about how small his junk must be to be married to Calista Flockhart/Ally McBeal.
I like these little montage/reflections from Oscars past…man, Cuba Gooding, Jr., may have fallen from the Hollywood A-list, but he’s still got one of the best acceptance speeches on record when he won best supporting for Jerry McGuire in ’97.
Is it just me or does (last year's Best Supporting Actress winner) Jennifer Hudson have one hell of a fiery Black woman face?
Casey Affleck - I called it…the guy is one of the next great actors…only 33 years old and he’s already a better actor than his older brother Ben…although he owes Ben for having him as the lead in his directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone.
Javier Bardem, easily walks away with the Best Supporting Actor award. Very sweet of him to give his mom some Spanish-language spotlight. Dude is on his way to Best Actor if Killing Pablo, in which he will play Pablo Escobar opposite Christian Bale, is as good as Vince Chase thought Median would be.
The next best song nominee…from August Rush, “Raise it Up”…but why is Keri Russell telling us what the song is about? Why not just let us get our own meaning? Maybe that’s why the song won’t win the Oscar…if I can’t figure out the meaning of the song without some former WB actress telling me what it’s about, it’s not good enough to win an Oscar. That’s a rule.
Oh, and why are all the good choirs in Harlem? Harlem Boys Choir, case in point. Malcolm Gladwell should research this for his next book. Nonetheless, it’s a strong, moving performance. Looks like they put a tad bit more thought into the show than the Enchanted folks did.
Owen Wilson to present Best Short Film - Les Mozart Des Pickpockets
Jerry Seinfeld/Bee Movie to present Best Animated Short - Peter and the Wolf
Alan Arkin to present Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett is supposed to win for her Bob Dylan-portayal in I’m Not There, and Ruby Dee is the honorary nominee for her five minutes in American Gangster, but the trophy goes to…
Tilda Swinton for her role in Michael Clayton!!! I thought she’d win it the moment I left the theatre last fall and glad the voters got it right. Too bad Swinton’s designer (let’s hope she can blame a designer) didn’t get it right.
Sidney Poitier…it’s Black history month, after all, so the Oscars had to remind us that they didn’t wait until the 2000s to start giving Black people Academy Awards.
Jessica Alba and Miley Cyrus…are you kidding??? What is this, the Teen Choice Awards?
James McAvoy, in the same category as Casey Affleck and Christian Bale for best actors under 40…you could put Matt Damon, Ed Norton, Leo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling in that group too…McAvoy is next up in Wanted alongside not-under 40 actor Morgan Freeman and pregnant Angie Jolie and fast-rising rapper-turned-actor Common.
Josh Brolin…he’s a stud actor…next up in Gus Van Zant’s (Good Will Hunting) film Milk with Sean Penn, Emile Hirsh and James Franco then a potential Terminator resurrection with Christian Bale, led by The O.C. creator McG.
Coen Brothers pick up their likely-first trophies of the night for Adapted Screenplay…the Grammys should have a category like this so that guys like Kanye can win Best Album and Herbie Hancock, who just worked from some old Joni Mitchell material, can still win a trophy.
Judi Dench, Halle Berry…no, it’s Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen doing a nice comedy routine…those guys may not make People’s 50 Most Beautiful List, but they’d make the 50 Funniest List if one existed…Bourne Ultimatum’s peeps win for Sound Achievement.
Speaking of Bourne…why the hell did it not get nominated for Best Picture??? If Lord of the Rings, the best trilogy of all time, wins for the third installment - Return of the King - then why can’t an action flick be nominated? I would like someone to show me a better-made and serious action film series ever? Anyway, we can’t get everything we want with these award shows, right?
Word on the street is Forrest Whitaker’s Oscar winning performance in Last King of Scotland, last year, may not even have been nominated this year. I can’t say I disagree.
The Tilda Swinton win was seen as a surprise, but this is the night’s first major WOW!
Marion Cotillard wins Best Actress for La Vie En Rose…gotta say, part of me thinks there’s a bit of vote-splitting between the more-known actresses like Laura Linney, Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett, not to mention 21-year-old Ellen Page for her awesome job in Juno.
Another nice product placement…Nintendo Wii.
Colin Farrell isn’t as cool as he was a few years ago, but he’s still a decent actor…he’s next up in Monty Python creator Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and whoever they decide is good enough to fill the spot left behind by Heath Ledger.
Jack Nicholson, the coolest guy in L.A., presenting 80 years of Best Picture winners. I’m sorry, but I want a do-over or at least a tie for ’94 … Shawshank Redemption (and Pulp Fiction if you really want to argue) are both as good as Forrest Gump in my opinion. And check out IMDB’s fan ratings…that’s right…Shawshank is tied for first (with more votes) with The Godfather, arguably the greatest movie of all-time.
Best Editing - Christopher Rouse, Bourne Ultimatum
Legendary Art Director Robert Boyle picks up an Honorary Oscar … yet another USC film school alum. A USC film degree is to Hollywood what a Harvard MBA is to Wall Street.
Penelope Cruz is sexy.
Best Foreign Film goes to Austria’s film about the Nazis…why do they present the award to the country? I mean, imagine if there were Oscar-like awards in Europe and Michael Moore received the award on behalf of the United States of America for Fahrenheit 9/11 or Sicko…
I hear those escort/models get paid like $10,000 for one night.
John Travolta … man, this is the guy who started out making dance films like Stayin’ Alive and Saturday Night Fever … those were the Stomp the Yards and Step Ups of its day. I hope Columbus Short, my favorite young actor, can have the kind of longevity Travolta has had.
Nice performance of Once’s “Falling Slowly” by the film’s stars and band The Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova). It’s a crowd pleaser.
I wonder if Travolta gets request from family members to fly them places? If so, do they route through someone like an agent or something? “Hey, Johnny…your Aunt Ida needs to go to Tampa next weekend, what should I tell her?”
Steven Spielberg is, in my opinion, the greatest director ever for his vision and his range. We’re talking about the guy that invented the summer blockbuster with Jaws, and followed it up with E.T., Indiana Jones, The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich. The Holocaust, Jim Crow Era, World Wars, space age…you name it and the guy has worked with the biggest stars to make the biggest and best films. He’s like the Phil Jackson of Hollywood.
Classy move of the Oscar producers to let Marketa Irglova come back out to give an acceptance speech for “Falling Slowly”…that must be what they save that extra time for when the acceptance speeches run short and sweet.
Cameron Diaz, next up in What Happens in Vegas with Ashton Kutcher and Queen Latifah.
Best Cinematography - There Will Be Blood…unquestionably
I know a lot of people like Julia Roberts and talk about Cate Blanchett, but Hillary Swank is the only actress in our generation of stars to pick up two Best Actress trophies…she may be the Russell Crowe of actresses…highly talented and captivating on screen, but not a big box-office draw.
You can feel everyone waiting for Heath Ledger’s name to come up in the In Memoriam segment, but I’d like to take a minute to honor the late Jack Valenti. Longtime head of the Motion Pictures Association of America who (did you know) was in charge of press during the Dallas trip that resulted in Kennedy’s assassination. Not unlike Guiliani’s attempt to win the presidency, Valenti parlayed his press savvy into a strong Washington reputation and job in LBJ’s administration.
Best Original Score - Atonement…again, I didn’t see it and am not that interested. Maybe I’ll watch Atonement, Titanic and Cold Mountain in a triple-header one day.
Tom Hanks. Other than Clint Eastwood, the guy is just a Hollywood giant. More skills than Clooney, more likeable than Gibson, more range than Cruise, and more work than Denzel. All the other guys aren’t in the running.
Nice showing of diversity in our nation’s armed services. Also, nice plug by the anti-war, pro-D, Hollywood types to show “hey, we support our troops” by letting some men and women in uniform present the nominees for Best Documentary. Of course the winner is Taxi to the Dark Side, which IMDB says is “an in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.” Not that is has anything to do with our foreign policy or anything.
Best Screenplay goes to Juno’s Diablo Cody as expected…she’s a former stripper, but that doesn’t excuse the tacky, leopard printed dress.
Last year’s best actress winner Helen Mirren gives out the award for Best Actor to Daniel Day Lewis. Big surprise. Pause. Not.
I must say, though, it was a strong year for Tommy Lee Jones…Valley of Elah and No Country for Old Men. Let’s just hope they don’t do another Men in Black sequel.
Best Director … yet another pair for the Coen Brothers…what? You thought Paul Thomas Anderson would win?
Denzel does his thang with a gangsta lean … he’s next up in The Taking of Pelham 123 directed by Tony Scott who he’s previously worked with on Déjà vu, Man on Fire, and Crimson Tide.
If Clooney isn’t The Man, Denzel sure is. That’s why he gets to hand out the Best Pic award to none other than, the Coen Brothers for No Country for Old Men. Fitting ending on a great night for the brothers who like their “corner in the sandbox.”
That’s all folks.