Tuesday, February 27, 2007

OSCAR RECAP

Let's start off with the show itself. It was long. Still too long. I like Ellen, she's amiable and funny, but not cutting-edge. Imagine if John Stewart hosted again? Or Stephen Colbert (in character)? Or Borat in character? I liked the shadow dancers but it took too long. The montage of famous foreign films should go, and the parade of the dead is always death to the show. The lifetime achievement awards are too long. Of course, I deal with these same issues at the CAS and MPSE shows, and sometimes there's just no way you can make everyone happy.

No film came away a clear winner, although DEPAHTED won four awards, none of them deserved, some of them predicted. Scorsese got his Lifetime Achievement Award, and so did Thelma Schoonmaker for editing. (She is extremely well-respected in the industry.) Picture should have gone to PAN'S LABYRINTH which was not even nominated. Adapted screenplay should have gone to CHILDREN OF MEN (or maybe BORAT, which I will finally see when it comes out on video in two weeks).

PAN'S LABYRINTH got three awards for Art Direction, Cinematography and Makeup. (Cinematography should probably have gone to CHILDREN OF MEN.) PAN was robbed of not only Best Picture, but Foreign-Language film to LIVES OF OTHERS (DAS LEBEN DER ANDEREN). Don't get me wrong, that's a great film too, and any other year would have won, but PAN is one of the best films I've seen in many years.

DREAMGIRLS got Supporting Actress as predicted, then when Jennifer Hudson sang on the Oscar show, proved that it was a fluke performance. She was terrible, and Beyonce blew her away. It also won Sound Mixing for Mike Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton, all of whom won last week at the CAS Awards.

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE won two, for Supporting Actor (which I predicted) and Original Screenplay.

INCONVENIENT TRUTH also won two; Best Doc, as expected, and Best Song. Almost a year ago in 242 class I predicted it would get nominated. When it came down to the wire, I did not think it would win, but I was wrong. Melissa Ethridge gave a better performance on the Oscars than she did on the recording, it was MUCH more emotional.

Score went to BABEL. I liked that score, but it wasn't an Oscar score.

Sound Effects Editing also matches the MPSE with LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA winning. Vis FX went to PIRATES, which was flashy, but the effects in SUPERMAN were actually harder because they had to be more realistic.

Actor and Actress were as predicted and deserved. Animated feature went to HAPPY FEET which was just OK. MONSTER HOUSE should have won.

I've yet to see MARIE ANTOINETTE but will this week.

My former student Ari Sandel won for Best Short and gave one of the best acceptance speeches of the night.

Overall Oscar did a good job of spreading out the awards and many were deserved, but I can't get over DEPAHTED winning four, all undeserved.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oscar feedback:

Let’s start off with the general lameness of Ellen. What ever happened to anything edgy? Sure Ellen score with one great joke about Gore being elected, but her “rehash” schtick – using a lame joke about Gilligan’s Island – deserved the audience silence it got. Please don’t bring her back.

Wanna know how to cut the broadcast? Do not bring in comedians to sing. What were they thinking by putting Will Ferrell and Jack Black in a song number? Maybe the same thing they were thinking when writing “jokes” for the presenters – who usually don’t know how to deliver them anyway. Turn about is fair play? Not for the audience.

I didn’t even begin to understand the point of the Foley Choir. That was 4 minutes right there. Ditto with the opening montage of nominees. The only standout was Eddie Murphy just staring at the camera.

And speaking of Eddie: I’m glad Arkin won (and you bucked the trend and predicted it). His performances are always great. Eddie, unfortunately, apparently had a tantrum and split from the Kodak Theater after losing.

I think I would have preferred that reaction from Peter O’Toole.

Al Gore has gone from inventing the Internet to inventing the Green Movement. After seeing Leonardo DiCaprio work in THE AVIATOR and THE DEPARTED, I was beginning to dig him. That all got washed away with the phony gushing over Al Gore.

Here’s the real inconvenient truth: showing up in hybrid SUVs to a glam awards show is still using too much energy. Why not show up in Priuses? Did any of the presenters carpool? The attitude from Hollywood on this issue is just short of shocking – with more than a hint of condescension. What do the simply folk do, indeed? Oh, yes, *we* are the ones that need to cut down on fuel use. For an example of how not to do it, check out
http://www.tennesseepolicy.org/main/article.php?article_id=367 where is discusses how Al Gore’s home plows through about 20x the energy that you and I do.

I’m a professional in environmental monitoring and can assure you that while the current President has turned back the clock on environmental policy, the Clinton administration is only a breath of fresh air in comparison. This country has not had a real energy policy (including the national programs to match the words) since the Carter Administration. Sorry, Al.

And sorry, Melissa. Your song won because the Academy wanted to send a message. And the message was: let’s have all the average folks cut back, while the wealthy elite still have private jets, large cars (hybrids or otherwise), and large homes to heat and air condition. Oh, and pray. That was my favorite part of Al Gore’s movie. The end pleaded with us to “pray for us to have the strength to change”.

Talk about your passive aggressive environmental policy. The inconvenient truth is that serious sacrifices will have to be made to get this under control. Something more than recycling your plastic bags. I would love to see an estimate of how much energy the average Hollywood picture uses during production. I love watching films, but compared to growing food and distributing it, it becomes a secondary activity. We may soon be thinking about these choices. If peak oil doesn’t consume us first. But I digress.

I know this is sacrilege but no Oscar speech should have more than two non-English sentences in it. The honorary award this year really slowed things down – regardless of how beautiful Italian is.

Besides, Ennio Morricone knew he was winning.

Forest Whitaker: didn’t you understand that Ellen was being sarcastic about telling cute stories of how far you’ve come in her opening monologue? Call me jaded, but it is those speeches we can do without. (And I like him as an actor!)

Helen Mirren showed us all how to do a really nice speech: classy and amusing and heartfelt.

Maybe she hired a writer. And why not? I’m available for next year if anyone cares.

I heard several idiots on radio talk shows claiming that the Mexicans were shut out of the major awards because of prejudice. I guess these same idiots would claim that the African Americans got their Oscars because of guilt?

And speaking of Mexicans being shut out: how on Earth can PAN’S LABYRINTH be nominated for 6 Oscars, get 3 of them, and be shut out of the best foreign film?

Finally, Reese Witherspoon looked about as flirty as anyone there. Maybe she’s looking for a date now that she is single mother.

Anonymous said...

There are recent reports showing that the entertainment industry is one of the largest polluters in the Greater LA area:

http://tinyurl.com/2lr52f

The original report is at

http://www.ioe.ucla.edu/RC06.pdf

So, here is the hard choice to be made: scale back one of the largest industries in the area... or keep trying to get everyone *else* to lower their emissions?

Bondelev said...

It did occur to me that during the Leo & Gore show they should cut outside to the alley where hundreds of Humvee limos were idling throughout the show.

I'm not sure I'd say Ellen was lame, she was certainly better than most hosts, but she certainly wasn't the best.

I didn't see Will Ferrell and Jack Black (bathroom break) but everyone else seemed to think they were a highlight of the show.

I liked the Foley choir. It had nothing to do with actual Foley, but it was the closest thing to a shout-out sound is going to get.

Morricone's speech should have been subtitled instead of translated awkwardly by Clint.

I had no problem with Whittaker's speech, I think it was genuine, and I'm actually surprised he made as much sense as he did, hearing the things that come out of most people's mouths when they are overwhelmed after winning.

Anonymous said...

I felt the only good part of the Ferrell/Black number was when John C. Reilly had a chance to sing. Personally, you timed your bathroom break well!

I figured the Foley Choir would hit a soft spot for you. In fact, that was the only reason it was tolerable for me!

I agree about the subtitling and mentioned it myself to people who I watched with.

By the way, I heard that Jack Nicholson is getting the lead in the Britney Spears story, currently in production.

One other thought: was it just me, or did someone in the control room have a crush on Marky-Mark? It seemed that they cut to him more than anyone else.

One more thing: Seinfeld had a weak monologue, but for me, he saved it when he introduced the documentary catagory as "5 depressing movies". And the topics proved this out.

Bondelev said...

I thought Seinfeld was so funny I wished he had hosted the show.

Marcelo Teson said...

The real Pan's Labyrinth robbery was in score. The score is haunting and memorable, people are humming it all over the place, and they give it to the guy who won last year. Smart.

Anonymous said...

Seinfeld would certainly be an improvement over this year.

I wish they would let Chris Rock do his thing for real. (I know you already said this.)

Sacha Cohen turned down presenting an award because the Academy didn't want him to do it in character.

For an organization that prides itself in creativity, they show a decided lack of insight.

Personally, they should have Ferrell and Black co-host. Put the comedians where they can do their thing!

My dream host would be Jack Nicholson -- who can say just about anything about anyone and get away with it.

Anonymous said...

I liked Ellen. She was inoffensive, but not boring. She was comfortable. You didn't spend all evening wondering when you were going to cringe.

I also enjoyed the weird dancers and the strange choir that did special effect noises. I thought that they provided a nice respite to the boring acceptance speeches.

I think you just have to say the Oscars are going to take a while and just plan on staying up for it.

I liked the foreign film montage but instead of that I would have preferred if they had showed longer previews of the nominees for best foreign language film.

My best dressed award goes to Kirsten Dunst with a close second to Gweneth Paltrow and Kate Blanchet.

ZiggyMustard said...

Waving hi to Mar!

I thought it was an ok show. I felt Jon Stewart was better last year, but I prefer Ellen to a great deal of hosts from the years past.

I couldn't get over the omission of Pan's Labyrinth from the Best Picture category, and although Scorsese rocks, he should have been awarded the oscar last year for "Aviator."

No controversy, though. Maybe we needed a streaker and/or Satcheen Littlefeather to show up.

Marcelo Teson said...

No controversy, eh? Maybe you should have been paying more attention to the Sound Mixing category - Controvery abounds!

Care to comment, dB?

Bondelev said...

I'll post a new topic regarding "Sound Mixer Smackdown."