Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Feedback

Brother Andy of the IRAs had this to say:

Why was it that most of the key actresses this year felt that the ultimate coif was to band their hair in a pony tail--all that was missing was a scrunchie--as if they were headed to the laundromat?

Jessica Alba deserves an Oscar for reading all the technical nominations and winners clearly, gracefully, and with the right inflections. She is a model of enunciation and served all of the nominees well in her duty. Forest Whitaker was not far behind; his presentment intro to the best actress nominations was flattering without being cloying. He also pronounced Marion Cotillard correctly.

Tilda Swinton?? Ruby or Saoirse were robbed. (I never did get Cate's raves for I'm Not There. Get me lit up and I can do a better Dylan . . .) Isn't Swinton fascinating to look at though? She looks like a perfect pre-op tranny. No makeup needed . . .

Marion Cotillard was good, but, let's face it, any year in which Julie Christie is nominated is a done deal as far as I'm concerned. She was luminous in Away from Her.

I found the acceptance speech by the director of The Counterfeiters to be appropriate and appropriately short.

Jack Nicholson has become an overexposed ass. His shades are stupid.

Regis Philbin is a sensory offense and should be banned from the Oscar 'red carpet' segment. He screams at everybody like Barton MacLane in an old Warner Brothers actioner, will never be intentionally funny, and finally looks as ridiculous as Joan Rivers.

Jon Stewart is tedious. (All things considered, is that a compliment?)

Bill Conti's music has an unintentionally sedating effect. (That is not a compliment.) It's especially tiresome when it soundtracks all these verities pontificated about seeking emotional truth in film art.

Somebody should blowtorch the person who wrote that wholly ignorant description of Murnau's Sunrise for the cinematography awards intro.

And finally, the song nominees were, as expecfed, awful--rarely are they more than good. (The bronze standard, which is now all we can hope for, is found in Marvin Hamlisch, Dolly Parton, or Randy Newman. It's downright perverse when something like 'It's a Hard Life Out There for a Pimp" is even shortlisted much less honored.)
In fact, it's during these stultifying musical bits that I've broken away from my fellow party guests to use my host's laptop and write these comments . . .

P.S. Clumsy Stewart cut out the song winner's acceptance speech. When she finally came onstage after his apology, she gave one of the best speeches on behalf of independent musicians (really, all free-lancers) ever.

P.P.S. Best line of the night: Producer for best picture to his partner: "Without you, honey, this would just be hardware."

Enjoy the after-parties everyone, and see you at the IRAs. (THOSE are the honors that REALLY count!!)


Brother Mark responds:

Andy, I have to semi-gently tug your ears on one point -- Jon Stewart wasn't the one who cut the Irish woman songwriter off from getting to make her acceptance speech -- blame that one on either Bill Conti, down in the orchestra pit, or whoever it is that put the order to cut someone off with music onto his prompter. Stewart was apparently the perfect gentleman to bring her back on stage after the commercial break so that she could give her lovely acceptance speech after all.

Personally, I was happy to see someone from such a fringe-background as Tilda Swinton get the recognition. Better to look like a pre-op tranny than a plastic post-op tranny (a la Scarlet Johansson). (And, yes, one of my late best friends was a tranny, so I can get touchy on this subject.)

Something really refreshing this year: not one acceptance speech thanking Jesus or God. Thank God!


Michael says: As for myself, I blame the producers -- not Jon Stewart -- for cutting off the acceptance speech of the co-writer of the Best Song "Falling Slowly" from Once. UNlike the other song nominees, it's a gorgeous, appropriate tune for the movie. And even worse than cutting her off was the direction during their number. At the emotional climax of the song, the camera panned away from the performers and peaked down into the pit so we could look at the orchestra and then just as the music swelled to a finale we got a close-p of Bill Conti and then looked out into the audiece -- during the finale of a musical number! Only after moments of applause did we finally cut back to the duo. Totally obnoxious.

Overall an incredibly dull ceremony, even by Oscar standards, with endless idiotic montages of seemingly every winner in every category. Surely the low point was the 3 to 5 minute ode to Price Waterhouse explaining how people get to see movies for free and then vote on their favorites. Mind-numbingly dull.

Jon Stewart had a very good opening monologue and then was inoffensive or bad. Constantly telling us we had just seen a special moment did in fact ruin any special moments there might have been. And how non-plussed the Coens looked.

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