Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I'd Like To Thank The Academy

Sorry for the delay on this one, I've been burning my candle at both ends and am now paying for it with another cold...OK, it's the flu. Let's get to it, shall we?

Welcome to the make up sex: I was really nervous that the big show was not going to happen or that it would be another glitz-less press conference. Or worse, the show would go on without writers. That would have been, to use a technical term, a sh*t show. Jon Stewart did a good job of staying on top of things, keeping things moving and reacting with the class I've come to expect from him (you know, like noting that Jack Nicholson being the room could mean more women end up pregnant by show's end). Not an easy job for someone standing in the shadow of Carson, Hope and Crystal.

Montage me: The first montage, introduced by the Cloon, totally got me, especially the part with all those mega-stars tearing up. Here it is. You know what else was good? The montages that led into the major awards (acting, directing and picture). I'm a sucker for sentimentality and the Academy clearly recognizes that there's nothing like punching a sucker like me with a barrage of images designed to pull at my heart strings. Oh, and please note: the Oscar moment between Rob Lowe and Snow White, the one I know all of you don't believe happened? It's in there. And it's still a little horrifying.

My favorite mama's boy: OK, we knew Javier Bardem was hot (in spite of the haircut), but can you believe how sweet he is? A good Spanish boy always thanks his mother...in Spanish! Here's the translation, in case you missed it.

Mama, this is for you. This is for your grandparents, for your parents Rafael and Matilde. This is for the comic artists of
Spain who have brought dignity and pride to our work. This is for Spain. And this is for all of you.

Yeah, that totally made me cry.

Eye Candy: That might have been the hottest collection of Best Actor nominees ever. Clooney, Day-Lewis, Depp, Mortensen and Jones? Yes, even Tommy Lee Jones has a rugged hotness to him. He's no Hal Holbrook, but still. Throw Javier Bardem into the mix (the hottest Spaniard since Antonio Banderas) while you're at it and all those other fine fellows hanging around the Kodak Theater. Is it any wonder they were all kissing each other? Cat said it best when Josh Brolin and James McAvoy took the stage: "Double yum"

Once in a lifetime moment: As I said in my Critic's Choice recap, I loved the movie Once, so I was super excited to see Glenn Hansgard and Marketa Irglova beat the Disney juggernaut (really Academy, three for Enchanted? Three for Enchanted and none for Into the Wild? Wow). Even better, Jon Stewart, classy guy that he is, brought Marketa back out to give her acceptance speech after that damn Bill Conti played her off before she could say anything. Do you think there's a gang of disgruntled Oscar winners somewhere waiting to catch Conti in a dark alley without his Academy Orchestra for back-up? I wouldn't be surprised.

Speaking of speeches: Good speeches all around, yes? Kudos to Tilda Swinton for being gracious and humble first, then going in for a kill on the Cloon at the end of her speech:

And Sydney Pollack, and George Clooney, you know, the seriousness and the dedication to your art, seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from "Batman & Robin," the one with the nipples, every morning under your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside-down at lunch, you rock, man.

My guess is it takes a lot to make Clooney blush, but damn if she didn't get him. Payback for every prank he pulled on the set. Nice.

You know who else was amazing? Marion Cotillard. She was so genuinely overcome with emotion, good thing she had Forrest Whitaker to hang on to when she got up there. And yet, such a lovely speech once she pulled herself together. Again, tears. If you haven't seen La Vie En Rose, please do so immediately. She earned that Oscar but good.

One for the history books:
Please keep in mind that Oscar facts are to my brain what baseball stats are to my friend Davis. It's all just in there, processing away, waiting for the moment at Liffey's trivia when I can use bits of information to prove my worth as a team member. this was a pretty good year for keeping track of things. Ready?
  • This was the first time since 1964 that all four acting awards went to Europeans.
  • Javier Bardem is the first Spaniard to ever win an Oscar (he was also nominated in 2000 for the film Before Night Falls, playing a Cuban. Yes, I love him more.)
  • Marion Cotllard is the second actress to win Best Actress for playing a non-English speaking role (Sophia Loren was the first). She's also the second French woman (Simone Sigornet came before her)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis is one of only eight actors in Academy history to win Best Actor twice (he is now in the company of Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Cooper, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson and Frederick March)
  • The Coen brothers are only the second team to win for directing (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins won for West Side Story)
There's probably a ton more ( like the one about the guy who has yet to win after being nominated nineteen times), but that's probably more than enough for you right now.

And then, there's this: I swear, for a hot second I thought they were going to call someone else's name. Not that I doubted the performance, but I know how unpredictable the Academy can be. You think your guy's got a lock on something and then BAM! They call somebody else. I would have been happy with any of those other fine gentlemen being called to the stage, but this is what made me happiest. (photo: getty images)

And, who are you wearing?: I would write about the clothes, but honestly...YAWN. Everyone looked good, but no one blew my doors off. The usual suspects showed up in the usual designers (Zellweger in Herrera, Kidman in Balenciaga, Diaz in Dior) and they all looked nice, but these are the women who used to raise the bar. You watched to see what they would be wearing. What the hell happened? Where's the Nicole Kidman of the Asian-influenced poison green Dior or the controversial lilac Prada? Where have you gone, Renee Z ,in your lemon yellow vintage Jean Desses? Remember? I do. That was your big moment. I know people change and style evolves, but please, please don't become complacent. Even Audrey mixed in a little Valentino, Mary Quant and Ralph Lauren from time to time. Your fashion moments aren't over! You're still relevant! You're still icons! Call Proenza Schuler or Donatella Versace or Zac Posen...hell, call the boys at Heatherette, I don't care. Don't be mad. I love you, you're perfect, now change. See, I told you I didn't have a lot to say about the clothes.

Overall, a good showing, except...Here's what I missed about this year's spectacle, but am willing to forgive the Academy for not including it because it would have made the show four hours longer:

Round up the usual suspects: Every time the Oscars reaches a milestone (an anniversary ending in a zero or a five), the producers like to have a "class photo" reunion moment. Every living Oscar winner (acting categories only) is invited to the show and trotted out on stage. I thought we were in for one when I saw Mickey Rooney on the red carpet, but no! He only has an honorary Oscar. I should have known something was up when I didn't see Ernie and Tovah Borgnine.

One final thought: Gary Busey? On the red carpet? At the Oscars?: Poor Jennifer Garner! Where the hell was that husband of hers? Thank goodness for Laura Linney! In case you missed the craziest moment on the red carpet since they banned Isaac Mizrahi, Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers, click here.

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