Monday, February 26, 2007

The 79th Academy Awards Show Awards

Time Stands Still As Hollywood Pats Self On Ass
•And The Winner Is? Not The Critics
Movie Moguls Leave Politics At Door, Retrieve During Piss Break

What a night!

The laughter, the tears, the outfits, the red carpet, the drunkenness, the cat fights, the dog fights, the public displays of defecation, mudslinging, ego massaging, nepotism, idol worship…

And to top it all off, The Oscars were on my TV set!

I should back up. You may or may not be aware that ABC doesn’t come in very well at all on my television. But this was the Academy Awards, dang it, and I wasn't going to be left out.

So I marshaled my considerable resources and got to work.

I made a small set of antlers with concave discs on the ends out of tinfoil and put those on the cat, who was attached to the VHF input via some piano wire while she jogged on a small treadmill I'd fashioned out of a belt sander and a rotary phone. Dog 1 was equipped with a wireless transmitter that I'd tied to her head with an old sock, then I put a fleece pullover on her tail and captured the static electricity every time she wagged it. Dog 2, who finally, mercifully found a spot to lay down and quit bothering me to pet her, got speaker cables attached to the bell on her collar, cables that tied into the wireless receiver I'd attached to the ceiling fan, which generated just enough kilohertz to power that cat's tin foil hat, which for all intents and purposes was now a mini-satellite dish, a signal from which I bounced off a North Korean satellite that happened to be carrying the show for Kim Jong-il. Long story short: I could just barely separate the men from the women, and the "wheat" from the "chaff", but only when they were talking. Not a total loss, but certainly less than ideal award show watching conditions.

But it's me we're talking about, so I soldiered on.

There were definitely some memorable moments, and various movies and whatnot. But this is the Oscars, dag nabbitt, the award show of award shows. And I think all y'all would agree that the show itself deserves its own awards. So, some winners. Some losers. Some upsets. Some letdowns. Some meltdowns. And plenty of anti-climaxes, in every sense.

-Best Speech By An Award Recipient-
This is a tossup between Alan Arkin's sincere thank you to an industry that prides itself on putting veteran actors out to pasture like so much spilled milk, and the Spanish costume director lady's eerily clueless approach to thanking her husband for telling her to hurry up to the stage and the very dead Stanley Kubrick for staying alive long enough to give her work. Then, in a jaw-dropping salute to knowing the right people, she thanked the father of the gal who directed the film for which she'd just won an award. (You know, Sofia Coppola's daddy, anybody? Nice.)

-Best Inappropriate Indoor Sunglasses Wearing At Night-
Also a tossup, between the really creepy looking guy from The Departed production staff who looked like a mob hitman with lupus, and, obviously, Jack Nicholson. Speaking of which…

-Best Celebrity Cutaway-
Ladies and gentlemen, it's official: Jack Nicholson has reached full self-parody status. Oh sure, he toned down the antics we saw at The Golden Globes. But he's gotten so camera hungry that he's beginning to make Gary Busey look well adjusted by comparison.

-Best Looking Presenter Couples-
The obvious choice is of course Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett. The only slightly less obvious choice is of course Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. (Man she's tall!) And I won't even mention that having Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt on camera at the same time actually scorched the key light diffusion. But I'm going to go off book and out on a limb here and hand it over to Leo Decaprio and Al Gore. Is it me or is Al looking and sounding more presidential than, well, our current president?

-Worst Speech By An Award Recipient-
Pan's Labyrinth's Director of Photography verged on chronic dementia with all the references to cinematic cosmology; Scorsese looked like he wanted to get off the stage as quickly as possible before George Lucas chop blocked him into the orchestra pit; and Forest Whitaker went on and on and on yammering about reaching people and intransitive integers.

But not one of those folks can even come close to Sherry Lansing, who, by the looks of it, was told right before she came out to accept her award, "Now whatever you do you need to make damn sure that you look like there's no question about whether or not you're reading off of cue cards. They'll love it." Tom Cruise presented it. Poor Tom. He's starting to look like the one kid in 3rd grade whom all the other kids suspect of having scabies. It's heartbreaking.

Still, when Marty, Steve, George and Francis were all on stage at the same time, you're talking about some pretty serious firepower. Not to mention eyebrowage. Between the 4 of those cats you could make a sweater just with the much-needed trimmings. What's the deal? Have bushy eyebrows replaced giant glasses as the new older dude look du jour? It's very unsettling. I kept waiting for some Scottish shepherd to appear onstage with the shears and then 3 months later Armani comes out with a new line of "organic" tweed. Weird.

-Best Bone Throw To A Foreign Film-
Get a load of the montage devoted entirely to the non-English speaking set. Now unless you've been on a weeklong coke binge for the last year, it should come as no surprise to you that I'm a strict isolationist when it comes to foreign affairs, a policy which dovetails nicely right into the movies. Listen up, English-as-a-second-language types: If you're not even going to bother learning our language in order to make a film, then take the boat back. Get your own awards show. This one's taken, and we don't need your "otherness" contaminating our "drinking water" any more than we need another terrorist attack. You're either with us or against us. You decide.

-Coolest Person On The Face Of The Globe, Our Planet, Earth-
Another tie: George Clooney and Johnny Depp.

-Best Commercial-
Boy did the ads shown during The Oscars make the Super Bowl media buyers seem like fishmongers in a Vietnam village with no phone.

The best one was, of course, the American Express spot with Wes Anderson.

-Most Pathetic Appearance By An Actor Not Nominated For Anything-
No contest: Ben Affleck. And yes, he's the other kid with scabies. What are scabies, by the way? Anybody?

-Best Award Category Montage-
The one about being a screenwriter, but only because Ellen segued right into an AA bit. Perfect. Ellen's quite good. I think Hollywood has found in her hosting the perfect combination of restraint, indifference and sacrilege. Getting Spielberg to take a picture of her with Clint Eastwood for her page was hysterical. Timing, folks. Try it.

-Highest Presenter-
Robert Downey Jr., but only because he copped to it live. Very smooth.

-Best Live Performance Of A Nominated Song By A Lesbian-
Celine Dion. End of discussion.

(So it's 10:45 CST and they're now just getting around to Best Editing? Snore! Literally.)

-Best "Senior Moment"-
Did someone club Clint Eastwood in the back of the head with a baseball bat right before he stumbled up to the mic and presented Ennio Morricone with an honorary award for original music? Well someone definitely made Dirty Harry's day. Hey Pale Rider: There's a pretty good reason why they call them reading glasses.

-Best Unintentional Impersonation Of An Insane Retard-
William Monahan scared me, to be sure. But I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that he'd penned the Kingdom of Heaven script, which was so scatterbrained and inconclusive that by the time it was over you thought the Saracens were the "good guys". That better be the valium talking, blogzilla.

-Best Non-Stage Collapse Though Maximum Weight Exceeded-
Queen Latifah. Again. And a shout-out to Oscar's carpenters. Without those floor jacks, galvanized steel footers and reinforced concrete pilings, Her Royal Highness makes one false move and that stage is little better than kindling. I suppose that's why they had Randy Newman at the piano early on. You know, to test the integrity of the structure before Q-Teef snaps "the boards" like popsicle sticks. Good call.

Wait. Did she appear before Randy's best song performance. So she was a dress rehearsal, so to speak, for the piano? Got it.

-Most Shameless Promotion Of A New Movie By A Washed Up Has-Been-
John Travolta. You do the math. Is his head shrinking or something? I.e., oddly reminiscent of last year's "Top 10 Disasters of 2005", which of these guys is John and which is L. Ron Hubbard? Seriously.

-Best Unintentional Impersonation Of A Crazy Lunatic-
When Gwyneth Paltrow wafted onstage like Gary Oldman in (Bram Stoker's) Dracula and effected her mannered affectations, we were finally introduced to a brand new method of self-marketing: Learning Impairment As Scene Study Witnessing Tool, where "tool" can go either way. She's still perfect, though. Great actress as well. (E.g., she'd better be, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.)

Something something something.

The rest is a little hazy. I mean, they went on like forever.

The End

Anyways, when the curtain falls and the credits roll, folks, we don't want award shows like this. We need award shows like this, if for no other reason than when movies start to resemble reality just a little too much, it might be a good indication that our current reality doesn’t necessarily warrant the benefit of a sequel.


Schadenfreude said...

Inquiring minds want to know: did George Lucas eat his own chin? If not, who did?

Oddly, the only nominated film I saw this year was Happy Feet, which I hated, and which won (Flushed Away wasn't even nominated? - WTF?). So, extrapolating...Peter O'Toole was robbed. If you're going to give an award to Alan Arkin just because he vaguely reminds you of Rod Steiger the surely O'Toole should have won for The Stuntman (oh, wait, that one wasn't this year - well, then for My Favorite Year).

Love Forest Whitaker as an actor - hate him as a speaker.

The kids were cute.

Scorcese is the world's second most over-rated director, after Fellini (or maybe Bergman).

switters said...

My Favorite Year is one of my favorite movies. And, yeah, I agree: robbed.

I like Goodfellas quite a bit. And The Aviator certainly had its moments. But, yeah. But whatever you do, don't tell Splendid that I said I agreed with you.

Watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the new one that shows us how it all started. Really bad. Not even good bad.

BotF is dead. Again. Long live BotF.

topazz said...

oh fuck you about BOTF. It isn't dead - just completely and totally inaccessible is all.

I watched "Almost Famous" for the first time sunday, I can't believe I never saw it before this. I really liked that kid, Patrick Fugit. Whatever happened to him anyway?

switters said...

Not dead. It's just annoying for the first few days when denny finds a way back in and spams the boards with inanity before the editors find out.

Almost Famous is a perfect movie. At least that's what I think. But no one ever listens to me.

Don't know what happened to Fugit. It may very well be the case that that's the only movie he'll ever be in precisely because he was so perfect in/for it. That's my theory.

rundeep said...

I too was for Peter O'Toole. Dear God he's started to look like the character he played in "The Man of La Mancha" 40 years ago.

Scorsese is fabulous, Raging Bull may be the best American movie of all time, and this movie sucked eggs.

Eddie Murphy was reportedly so mad he walked out after he lost and never returned. Graceless fool. If Peter O'Toole can sit there 8 times and Marty Scorsese can sit there 8 times, so can you asshole.

Question: there is precisely one good song in the Dreamgirls score, Hudson knocked it out of the park, and it was not even nominated? WTF?

Oh, and I'm tired of Clint Eastwood movies.

switters said...

Has The Academy gotten myopic on us? I think I may have missed the season Hudson was on Idol. Was she turned down because of weight? I can't imagine why she didn't make the final cut.

I think Marty's gotten too close to his films for them to be effective any more. I've said it before and I'll say it again: not either reeling in Jack or firing him cost him his reputation.

The scene in Lawrence of Arabia when Peter's on his horse (I think) and looking back at the camera and then beyond it reveals one of the prettiest faces ever to grace 35mm film. Thank god for David Lean.

But, yeah, it was, overall, a dull show. It usually reveals every year just exactly why the producers of The Golden Globes start pouring liquor down the actors' throats at about 2:30 PM PST. Good times.

Eddie Murphy proves time and time again just exactly how big of an asshole he really is.

Schadenfreude said...

Could someone please explain to this woman what a joke is. Please. Soon.

Scorsese isn't a bad director - just very over-rated.

The last Eastwood movie I sat through all the way was Heartbreak Ridge. Million Dollar Baby was just OK, Unforgiven is unwatchable. Before that, you have to go back to his Sergio Leone movies, which were masterpieces.

The whole thing with Gore and DiCaprio made me want to puke, though. The smug shallowness of "the Oscars have gone green" was almost too much to bear.

A real Queen would have Helen Mirren's head on the block before you could say Jack Robinson.

JohnMcG said...

Wonder how much carbon Mr. Gore displaced by travelling to the Academy Awards show... Or does he live in LA now?

Accusations of hypocrisy for things like this are often a way to avoid looking at hard truths, but I think it would have been a bold statement if Gore accepted his award remotely to avoid burning fuel and adding to global warming.

It would be difficult to imagine a more dissonant seqence of events than travelling thousands of miles via private plane, then getting in one of hundreds of idling limos to attend an award show to receive an award for making a film warning about the pending doom of global warming.

Insert reply about "pro-life" president starting a pre-emptive war and ordering the torturing of detainees here -- I won't disagree.

The website talks a lot about what we can do, but not much about what they did, just vague things about how they "endeavored to select supplies and services with a sensitivity toward reducing the threats we face..."

I'm not saying the hypocrisy means global warming's not a threat, but it was a missed opportunity, and makes their advocacy ring a bit hollow.

bEnder said...

John: Gore/carbon offsets. Look it up.

topazz said...

I enjoy knowing there are people like B-A, who thought Gore really was about to announce something. Ditto for the ones who think Anna Nicole Smith was dating the other Howard Stern. And who thought that little Abigail kid was cute as a button at the Oscars and absolutely not into the coke scene yet.

Mad TV did a hilarious bit this past Saturday night on a cinema drama queen working as a clerk at Blockbusters. More often than not, they get it all down in a way that SNL can't resurrect anymore.

Gosh darn, it's why I love the fray.

JohnMcG said...

Cool -- thanks, and I apologize.

rundeep said...

On Marty: it depends. I thought The Aviator was excellent. I've seen it several times now, and I can't fathom how Leo lost the Oscar to Jamie Foxx. Casino did suck, big time, as did Gangs of New York (sorry, Cam, you are eye candy and a moron).

What would Marty care about reputation now? He's a legend and he has his Oscar. More money than God, people worship at his feet, and he resembles his mother more every year. I think that's exactly why he hired Nicholson. To get him the Oscar.

I liked Unforgiven, by the way. Haven't loved everything he's directed since (except Mystic River, which I really do love). I've said this elsewhere, so forgive the repetition, but he approaches film as if it weren't cinematic, but rather classical. Greek tragedy or opera -- anything but film. That I think is the great flaw of the movies, but once you get the conceit it becomes more watchable. Though still not great cinema. (Can't think of a single spectacular image in a Clint-directed movie).

On Jennifer: Simon hated her. She made top 6, got voted off. I think it was after Elton John night and I read EJ contended it was racist (fat stupid turd). It was a surprise, apparently. I didn't watch the show then.

JohnMcG said...

Here's an article that includes that Gore took a hybrid limo to the Oscars.

I have a somewhat vague irrational distaste for the offsetting thing -- it smacks of buying indulgences or rich people sending soldiers in their place. For sure, it's better than what most people (including myself) do. I haven't completely thought it through, though.

Schadenfreude said...

Re: hybrids.

So what? Production of a hybrid car dumps just as much shit into the environment as production of any other car and disposal promises to be worse.

I doubt that changing out every private car in the world for a hybrid would have any significant global impact (although there would likely be less local ozone, CO, etc.)