The 79th Academy Awards were all about prestige and elegance. On the same stage that crowned Taylor Hicks AMERICAN IDOL (and will do the same later this year to Antonella Barba – the finest singer since Linda Lovelace) Oscars were awarded Sunday night to Martin Scorsese and a bunch of other people.
It’s the Superbowl of entertainment except when your favorite team wins there’s a big parade in your city, when your favorite movie wins there’s a big party you’re not invited to.
Little surprise that THE DEPARTED won. More people will see WILD HOGS than BABEL, THE QUEEN, and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA put together.
Part of the fun of Oscar night is the insipid red carpet coverage. It’s the only time you will ever hear the question: “Who are you wearing?”
Not only did E! do a red carpet show. They did a COUNTDOWN to the red carpet show. I only caught the last seven hours, hosted by Ryan Seacrest (isn’t everything?) and the bimbolicious duo of Giuliana Depandi and Debbie Matenpoulos (the Romy & Michele of E!). Those two are always good for some stupid remarks. Debbie said Kate Winslett has been married for quite a while now. Five years. Giuliana asked Michael Buble how much he charged to sing at weddings.
And there was ABC’s red carpet coverage with Action Central News anchor, Michelle Tuzee serving as fashion “expert”. She’s at home in Iraq or Milan.
I never watch Joan & Melissa Rivers. Even FEAR FACTOR contestants who eat their weight in dung beetles would cringe at how humiliating they are. At what point does protective services say enough and finally take this daughter away from this woman?
The real pre-show suspense was: what was this year’s cause? Every year there has to be some cause with a colored ribbon or pin to show that Hollywood “cares”. This year was red teardrop pins for International USA and Global Witness to raise awareness about diamonds mined in war zones and their effect on child soldiers. There were better pins and causes but they didn’t go as well with the outfits.
The tone for the show was set right away by Oscarcast producer, Laura Ziskin, who said, “This year I’m in a party mood. Not that the world is perfect, but I’m the producer and I get to decide and I’ve decided we’re going to have a big party.” With Best Picture nominees like BABEL and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, why not?
Ms. Ziskin went on to say she thought the show had 12 acts and wanted “a wowee in every act.”
The only “wowee” in the first 55 minutes was the iPhone commercial.
The nominees film montage was the world’s longest Gap commercial.
Ellen “you know” DeGeneres stammered through a “you know” opening monologue that was mostly flat but still had a couple of great jokes. And her chats with Scorsese and Eastwood in the audience were hilarious. I say bring her back. Hell, considering they brought back Whoopi Goldberg for Godsakes, they should give Ellen a ten year contract.
Be glad the telecast wasn’t on Fox. “Welcome to the 79th annual Academy Awards, with your hosts, Mike & Julliet!”
Nicole Kidman IS Jessica Rabbit.
I love how Maggie Gyllanhaal described the non-televised awards ceremony of the science technicians as a “wild night”.
Al Gore finally won! Except in Florida where JESUS CAMP got the Oscar.
Sorry Will Smith. But you’re still closer to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air than Sidney Pottier.
Penelope Cruz (as gorgeous as she is) looked like she shot a bear, gutted it, and was walking around in its carcass.
Who cares if DREAMGIRLS didn’t win Best Picture? It won Best Sound Mixing! That $25,000,000 the studio spent on its Oscar campaign really paid off.
I stood up and cheered when Alan Arkin won. That was a legitimate “wowee”!!
And don’t worry, Eddie Murphy. You’ll be back next year for NORBIT.
I cheered even louder when Mike Arndt won Best Original Screenplay for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE because (a) it’s a comedy, and (b) it’s a script that got terrible coverage.
The show was weighed waaay down by film montages (most featuring familiar cliché clips and none showcasing my only movie, VOLUNTEERS). Producer Ziskin said, “Using filmmakers is a no-brainer. We’re celebrating movies. And what was interesting to me was that when I reached out to those people, everybody wanted to do it.” Hunh. Filmmakers who want their work seen by 8 billion people? Amazing. Who knew? She really owes them one. But that’s what Hollywood is all about. Coming together to support each other. The red pin was for what again?
J-Lo came dressed as Cleopatra. All that was missing was her asp.
The big complaint of the Oscarcast is always that winners never get to thank enough people. That’s the real excitement – to see how many pilate instructors and dog walkers are recognized. Well, to rectify that, party girl Laura Ziskin instituted the “Thank You Cam” where winners got to acknowledge people interminably but only on the internet. Early reports say the webcast of art directors thanking Home Depot and the man who invented the lug nut still had a far greater audience than STUDIO 60.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ziskin advised winners to use their 45 seconds “to entertain, or to enlighten, or move us.” For editors, make-up artists, sound guys, and costumers that was right in their wheelhouse.
The only one who really delivered on that score was Jennifer Hudson. Her speech was heartfelt, emotional, and genuine. That’s why we sit through these four hour ordeals (excuse me – parties) to share wonderful moments like that.
Fantasia is hitting the Ben & Jerry’s today in a big way.
Happy for Forest Whittaker but I consider this a make-good for not winning an Emmy on THE SHIELD.
Every time APOCOLYPTO lost I cheered.
Tom Cruise giving Sherry Lansing the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was a nice touch. They were both fired by Sumner Redstone (who will probably win it next year).
My favorite rumor did not come true. Michael Jackson did not sing one of the songs from DREAMGIRLS.
I’d be outraged that PAN’S LABYRINTH didn’t win Best Foreign Film if I had seen any of the other nominees.
The Rorschach Dance Troupe was kinda fun. How many screwed up Hollywood people in the audience saw those shapes and kept thinking it was “mommy”?
Just to clarify because she made such a big stink: DREAMGIRLS was not based on Diana Ross. VENUS was.
Whoever made Cameron Diaz’s gown specializes in napkin folding.
I miss Randy Thomas as the booth announcer.
Okay, so George Lucas hasn’t won a Best Director Oscar like co-presenters Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. It was still more prestigious having him up there than Kevin Costner.
At least no Debbie Allen SHINDLER’S LIST choreographed production number this year. (Producer Ziskin was not in a party mood that year)
Great bit, having the get-off-the-stage music interrupt Al Gore when he was about to make his “major announcement”. No one cheered louder than Hillary.
Ben Affleck was introduced as an Oscar winning screenwriter. To most WGA members, that’s more disturbing than the possible strike.
Nancy Meyers, a notorious writer-killer and credit-grubber, did a lovely piece on how writers were depicted in films.
Tom Hanks and Al Gore are starting to look alike.
The Best Short Documentary category always has four grim films and one about dance.
Where were the Price-Waterhouse guys?
Every song Celine Dion sings sounds the same. Which would be fine if I liked the song.
Since it was a formal affair Quincy Jones came dressed as Pagliacci, the sad clown. Where do I get a jacket like that?
Step aside Halle Barry, there’s a new most beautiful woman in the world and it’s Beyonce. WOWEE!!
The show could have easily come in under three hours if they only cut every montage in half, dumped the Will Ferrell comedy bit (the woman who won for costume design was funnier), lost the special effects chorus (what the hell was that??), jettisoned the Chris Connelly backstage statistic nonsense (no one cares what kind of night BABEL was having), and limited the tribute to that composer no one ever heard of to only one hour.
But all in all it was a pretty good night. But I do feel a little sorry for Peter O’Toole. He was probably thinking, “Why didn’t I play the Queen?”
See you at the mailbox exchanging our Netflix.
Join me at 11 a.m. on KNX 1070 in Los Angeles for my Oscar autopsy.