March 6th, 2006

10-T, 10-C

Ten random things: February 6

Ten other people who have won fewer Oscars than the Three Six Mafia:

  1. Peter O'Toole
  2. Alfred Hitchcock
  3. Greta Garbo
  4. Federico Fellini
  5. Richard Burton
  6. Peter Weir
  7. Cary Grant
  8. Stanley Kubrick
  9. Lauren Bacall
  10. Sidney Lumet

Some may disagree, but I think the performance of "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" (and the subsequent acceptance speech) was one of the highlights of last night's Oscar ceremony. It was just so over-the-top weird and enthusiastic that I had to like it, even if the song itself wasn't that great. It probably was the best of the nominees though. Dolly Parton's exuberant performance of "Travellin' Through" made it sound better than it was, and it was only the burning car in the background that made "In the Deep" interesting. (Kudos to the producers, though, for letting the composer perform it instead of recruiting, say, Beyonce Knowles to do it.)

movies, oscars

At long last, my Oscar commentary

You know, I was going to go through and recreate my notes from the first part of the Oscars (which, as you may recall, I lost when my computer shut down unexpectedly), but honestly, I don't really feel like it. There are a few things I vividly remember from what I lost, and here they are.

  • Why would you air a montage honoring biographical films that contained no clips from any of the five biopics nominated for Oscars? Was it left over from last year? Very strange.
     
  • Like most men, Chicken Little finds the Moon and the Sun in his pants.
     
  • The Ben Stiller/green-screen bit was a good idea in theory, but it didn't really work the way they did it, and I can't think of a way they could've done it that would have been better. Probably would have been better to just skip it.

So, with that out of the way, here are my notes from the rest of the show, more or less in chronological order:

  • I loved the political-style ads for Best Actress and, to a lesser degree, Sound Editing nominees were the highlight of the show in terms of pre-filmed content. The intro featuring the former hosts might have beat it, but I think it went on a little long.
     
  • What was that thing on Terrence Howard's lapel? It was a little too ostentatious for my tastes. Samuel L. Jackson had a wacky, too-large lapel pin too.
     
  • It was a bit much to see the makers of March of the Penguins bring plush penguins on stage with them. I did like the suggestion by one of the winners that everyone wearing a tux was doing so as an homage to their film.
     
  • Jennifer Lopez looked radioactive. Does someone with her natural skin tone really need that much bronzer?
     
  • If not for the burning car in the background and the interpretive dancers, the song from Crash would have been completely forgettable.
     
  • The guy who won the art direction/set direction award said that his co-winner, Gretchen Rau, couldn't be there and was in need of prayers. What's up with that?
     
  • In case you were wondering what qualifies Sid Ganis to be President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he produced Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Master of Disguise, and a couple of Adam Sandler movies. And this was the organization that tried to deny membership to Rodney Dangerfield.
     
  • I think the Brokeback Mountain score was the least worthy of the five nominated score. It sounds like the composer ran out of time to finish it, and just slapped together some of his idle noodlings and called it a score.
     
  • Jake Gyllenhaal's point about the superiority of seeing movies in a theatre falls flat when you stop to think that without DVD sales, most movies would be hard pressed to turn a profit these days.
     
  • I have to wonder if Jessica Alba and Eric Bana were paired as presenters for any reason other than that they both starred in movies based on Marvel Comics super-heroes.
     
  • That routine Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep did to introduce the honorary award for Robert Altman was amazing. I have to assume it was scripted and that they'd rehearsed it together several times, but they made it seem like they were ad libbing. A great performance. And it was nice to see a brief clip from Popeye included in the montage of Altman's films. That's an underappreciated film, I tell you what.

    By the way, the five people to whom Robert Altman lost Best Director Oscars were Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List), Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven), Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), and Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton).
     
  • When the strobe lights kicked in at the beginning of the performance of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," I knew I was in for a treat. I don't think it was that great a song, but it was, in my opinion, the best of the three nominees. And Jon Stewart was right: that's how you accept an Oscar.
     
  • Jennifer Garner: Yowza! Let's hear it for childbirth.
     
  • I think the gentleman who accepted the Foreign language Film Oscar used three different languages in his speech. Pretty impressive. He made me interested in seeing the film too, which is not always the case with foreign language films.
     
  • I think Philip Seymour Hoffman deserved the Best Actor award, if only because I think Capote would have been pretty much unwatchable but for him, and because it's almost a crime that he'd never been nominated before. But deep down, I wanted Heath Ledger to win.
     
  • I thought it was weird when the orchestra played under the acceptance speeches. But what was even weirder was that when people when over their alloted time, the orchestra stopped playing. Well, at least they didn't make the winners of the so-called "minor" awards accept their awards in the aisle this year.
     
  • Reese! Oh, Reese. I love you. You deserved to win just for that red dress you wore during the "Jukebox Blues" sequence.
     
  • I was surprised the Cinematography Oscar didn't go to Brokeback. That sure were a purty movie.
     
  • Hey, Larry McMurtry thanked me! Go me!
     
  • I was disappointed that Paul Haggis neither echoed Clooney's comment about not winning Best Director, nor mentioned The Facts of Life.
     
  • I liked that all five of the Best Picture clips this year were actual clips, and not montages. I wouldn't have chosen the clip they did for Crash, though I'm not sure which one I would have picked instead. Maybe the scene where the locksmith's daughter runs out to protect him from the Iranian convenience store owner? It would lose a little something without any context, but no more so than any of the others. Incidentally, at first I thought it was a little odd that they showed the Best Picture clips as bumpers going into commercials, but in the end I think it was a good idea.
     
  • Wow. Crash would have gotten my vote, but I still didn't expect it to win. In retrospect, it makes the Ang Lee win seem very strange. Brokeback was very good, but it didn't strike me as a particularly challenging film from a directing standpoint. Crash, on the other hand, with its unconventional story structure and interweaving plotlines, seems like a harder movie to direct. It's like when Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture but Spielberg won Best Director for Saving Private Ryan, when Steven Soderbergh won for Traffic while Gladiator took Best Picture, only in reverse.
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