March 6, 2006 

The 78th Annual Academy Awa…wa…*yawn*. 

Let’s face it; the Oscars are always rather boring.  After the excitement and anticipation of the Golden Globes, where the stars are seated around a table and therefore the chance always exists that Ben Affleck’s Jennifers might have to actually make eye contact –and we’re not talking just once, but repeatedly – and then you add alcohol and food to the mix and you have yourself the makings of encounters we might be talking about for years!  After that, the Oscars don’t have a chance really.  Everyone has to stay in his or her seats, face forward, and not speak unless spoken to.  There is no shouting from the audience as a performer accepts his or her accolades.  No sir.  The most you can hope for is that Jack Nicholson maybe lights up a cigar in the non-smoking section.   

That being said, last night’s ceremony wasn’t all that bad.  By around 10:40pm, I was yawning along with the majority of the world’s population, and I maybe screamed once at some poor art director or costume designer to get the heck off the stage already.  “Where the hell are the *real* awards?” might possibly have passed my lips once (or eight times), but you know, in retrospect and after a good nights’ sleep I’m back to touting that those behind-the-scenes masters deserve their time too and really, I think that all the actors should be required to attend the pre-ceremony ceremony where all those people that make them look good and make it possible for them to be famous are honored.  Only fair.   

Jon Stewart, for some unfathomable reason, accepted the duty of hosting this year.  It would seem entirely possible that maybe he’s setting himself up for some sort of insanity plea over some heretofore-unknown horrific crime, but that remains to be seen.  Comedian types are sought because they’re the most entertaining to we the viewers, but they’re also the least well received among the mostly cardboard (sorry) cutouts in the audience, I swear.  I was not the least bit surprised that particularly at the outset, the only laughter I heard was my own.  I loved the “previous hosts” skit.  They should have had Letterman turn to Martin’s children and introduce them to each other as Oprah and Uma, but it was a good skit regardless.  I thought a good 70% of Stewart’s opening monologue was funny, the audience in attendance again disagreed.  I suppose if the jokes were about me then probably they’d have been giggling and I’d have been staring stonily ahead, but whatever.  He didn’t get too personal, which is always uncomfortable in these settings, but instead more or less made his jokes about the Hollywood establishment in general.  It could have gone much worse, as we’ve all witnessed in the past!  When you could tell he went off script, such as the “why are they the most excited people here” and the “Oscar salute to montages” comments, it became clear he was watching the same show I was which endeared him even more to viewers I suspect.  Overall, I give him a B, with the caveat that I’m not sure anything more than a B+ is even possible given the constraint a thousand pairs of hostile eyes puts on a person! 

Random observations: 

George Clooney should obviously be invited every year.  Life of the party doesn’t even begin to cover it and between the red carpet interviews, constant close up shots of his expressions, and his quips onstage – one would think he maybe secretly sponsored the show and this is all a big campaign to make us all convinced he’s the coolest guy ever.  I thought he got just a touch defensive with his “out of touch” thing, but it was his night and there’s no denying that.  I suspect in fact, that he’ll be asked to host before long – mark my words! 

Whatever the reason for that distracting music playing behind the speeches, I want it stopped!  Last year we learned that tossing an Oscar to a “very deserving but not deserving enough to actually get out of your seat nor approach the stage” editor or sound mixing winner was very tacky.  This year we have learned that playing the “playing you off” music before the speech has even started is also tacky.   

Speaking of playing off, they were rather rude about it this year.  Apparently since the music was already playing and therefore they couldn’t warn the speaker that they were serious about the timer running out, they just shut off the microphone.  Nice.  I felt for that poor woman who tried to start speaking only to have her words lost in the giant abyss.  I guess if you’re not an actor, you really can’t expect to be speaking…you have your award, what more do you want from us?  Next year I fully expect they might chose to have anyone non-actor just record a voiceover in case they win and they’ll show a glamour shot of the winner so they can control what kind of riff raff gets near the stage. 

The death montage.  *Sigh*  I keep missing the part at the end where they obviously must give out the “we loved you the most” award to the survivors of the death montage participant who renders the loudest clapping.  Or maybe is it a call in vote kind of thing that is awarded after the show, online or something?  Because I usually skip those things, just tune them right out, until we get down to a couple finalists and then I’ll weigh in.   

Apparently, the Academy would like us to remember that we really do have to shell out thirty dollars for two movie tickets and some popcorn if we want the true movie experience.  Then, after we’ve paid the movie it’s due by seeing it in a “darkened theater” (because apparently they think I can’t work a light switch in my own living room) with smelly, dirty, talkative, kid-toting, loud chewing, possibly lice carrying strangers (I maybe ad-libbed some of that), only then should we definitely buy the DVD to keep for our very own so we can view it forever and ever.  Yes, you could rent the DVD, but you better believe that it will never play as well as your very own 29.95 purchased copy will.  After you’ve purchased that, sit back quietly and anticipate the 49.95 boxed set that will be released six months later and then buy that too because a rental receipt will not look nearly as great on the movie shelf as that box will.  Consider yourself informed. 

The set was a bit busy, but I loved the marquis that told you what the award was for and who won.  Very nice touch.  Sometimes they didn’t show it enough and I still found myself asking my husband (who never knows the answer and I deserve an Oscar just for displaying optimism when I ask) “What is this for?”…but still, nice thought.  Plus, when the presenter would walk out and the marquis would say “Art Direction” I could get a jumpstart on my potty break instead of having to wait around for the presenter to get around to saying why the heck they were there.  Bonus! 

I enjoyed the musical performances and thank goodness the original singers actually got to perform!  I may never forgive the year of Beyonce, just so you know.  However.  I saw Crash, so I understood why there was a lady, standing spread eagle and being felt up behind the beautiful singer of the song “In the Deep”.  I would suspect there might have been some confusion though and while I understood the scene (and its accompanying discomfort) in the context of the movie, it seemed rather odd in this context.   

When I saw the March of the Penguins dudes approaching the stage with stuffed animals, I was all set to be annoyed.  I liked the movie very much, but…stuffed penguins?  I’m backing off that though because they were such cute men, and obviously so excited.  Note to future attendees though:  Leave the dust mite collectors where they belong. 

Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin were adorable.  I’m not a huge Altman fan, but they made me appreciate his style a tiny bit more.  Their monologue was slightly annoying, a little too long and parts of it made absolutely no sense.  A more fitting tribute to an Altman film does not exist. 

Jennifer Garner looked wonderful.  One has to wonder if that little tripping incident is the result of her not yet working out the balance of breast-feeding boobs with high heels.  She’ll get it; she just has to rework the physics a bit. 

As for the winners and losers, I’ll be honest.  I haven’t yet seen Brokeback Mountain, though I do intend to (on a nasty, evil DVD in my own darkened living room and yes, sadly without the possibility of a 15 year old boy snickering over any of the scenes.  It’ll be tough, but somehow I’ll survive it.  I was thrilled that Crash won, because I think that while it may be a bit heavy-handed, it’s a very important film and everyone should see it.  I hope this win will bring it renewed success.  I have also not seen Capote, but I love Philip Seymour Hoffman and can completely believe that his award is well deserved.  I really enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line as well.  Matt Dillon was great in Crash; though I’m sure George Clooney’s award was deserved as well.  I fully expected Reese Witherspoon to win and while I’m glad she did, I think Joaquin’s performance made the movie.  Rachel Weisz made the Constant Gardener for me as well, so I was okay with her winning.  Though a close second would be Amy Adams who made Junebug interesting.  I’m not sure how I felt about the movie overall, but her performance was the centerpiece.  I’m glad Ang Lee won for directing because I think he’s the cutest little man and I find his speeches adorable.  He’s also a masterful director who makes astonishingly beautiful films.  I also heard he had something to do with the writing of Tortilla Soup, which is a sentimental favorite of mine, so hey – give him the Oscar! 

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who accepted an Oscar for their adapted screenplay of Brokeback Mountain, appeared to have taken a few too many tranquilizers before the ceremony.  Good grief!  What are the chances that two people who only speak in monotone and apparently only have one facial expression (bored – make that a capital “B”) end up on stage together to accept an award?  Now there’s the time to just locate their seats and toss them the golden dude and put us all out of our misery.  And seriously, I hope there is an explanation for the denim/tux coat combination because it had me staring at him with the same expression he was staring back at me with, and the whole thing just really creeped me out. 

Fashion isn’t my thing, but a few things need to be said: 

I was going to comment on Michelle Williams’ lipstick choice:

But then I saw this:


Charlize!  Look out!  Incoming at three o’clock! 
And sadly, two o’clock as well.


Listen, if my hips looked like that I’d wrap them in basket weave too – no problem.  Plus, look at the symmetry!  She’s balancing out the boobs with the flair in the skirt…I refuse to diss Dolly.  Just refuse.


There must be an explanation for this.  She had to crawl to the Oscars, dragging what used to be a charming mix of tulle and…something along the pavement for miles and miles.  Or, she ran smack into a Velcro wall and while every attempt at extracting her without permanent damage was made…?  The upside is, all she needs is a dusting of soot and she can star in Cinderella, the Early Years.


Now that the Superbowl of awards shows has eased it’s way ever so slowly into history, we can all rest assured that even if it’s keeping a lower profile, Hollywood is still there taming hurricanes, tsunamis and famine.  Researching cures for fatal diseases, hammering nails in more Habitat homes than the average Joe or Jane could ever dream of, and making this world a more acceptable place.  Oh, and they’ll also be making sure that each and every one of us alike has the right to plunk down our thirty bucks to see movies the way they were meant to be seen.  Bring on the Junior Mints!  



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