Monday, February 25, 2008

Make Art

I know that no one will believe this, but some point late last week I started thinking “Tilda Swinton to win” and mentioned it to a few people. I don’t think they listened. The way I see it, between that, the win for ONCE and Jon Stewart’s genuinely funny monologue, I was perfectly happy. And from the moment where we saw Gary Busey verbally assault Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, followed by Busey basically groping Laura Linney and Jennifer Garner, I knew that it wouldn’t be an entirely boring night. And circulating among the unasked-for presence of Miley Cyrus, GREY’S ANATOMY cast members and crappy songs from ENCHANTED there were enjoyable moments of interest. But I couldn’t help but notice that the lame “What would JAWS be like without this music?” routine during the Best Score presentation came in a year when the Best Picture winner, a film containing masterfully done suspense sequences, features next to no music? What would NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN be like without a score? Well, it’d still be a brilliant film that won Best Picture, that’s what! My point is that nutso contradiction is nothing new when it comes to the Oscars. Why would it suddenly change?

Some thoughts:

Stewart’s monologue was genuinely funny, moreso than he was the last time he hosted and he stayed in good form throughout the evening. It seems that no matter what the Oscar host always falls away somewhat in the back half of the show and that was the case again here. But while there was maybe no huge do-you-believe-that moments or Ferrell/Black musical hilarity there were enough laughs throughout and Stewart seemed to bring just the right Johnny Carson relaxation-vibe to his presence. He’ll be seen on that stage again.

I enjoyed quite a bit of the show while watching it, now I’m reading these bad reviews and agreeing that, yeah, there were some issues. What was the deal with these presenters? Will they realize now that they didn’t help the ratings at all. They had Julie Christie there. Julie Christie! And never seemed to think to invite her on stage for any reason. If anything, some of the continuous montages served to remind us of the history of the event and that was appreciated by me…but it also would have been nice to get a few examples of that history in the flesh. I mean, there are a few people out there who are alive.

What was that cheesy video game montage thing they did to open the show?

Hey Regis, look! It’s Xavier Bardem!

At least we never, ever have to use the phrase “the Academy Award winning NORBIT.”

Which reminds me of the good news that we don’t ever have to say “the Academy Award-winning TRANSFORMERS” either. I wasn’t in an Oscar pool but if I had been, I would have figured on TRANSFORMERS taking the tech prizes it was up for. I’m glad I was wrong.

The clip used for Ruby Dee was, what, half of her screen time in the movie?

Seconds before Marion Cotillard was announced as the winner I was sitting there going, “It’s gonna be Marion Cotillard.” I swear! Boy, she is gorgeous. And seems like a beautiful person in every possible way. I have to see LA VIE EN ROSE now. And I know she doesn’t look like that in the movie. I don’t care.

The “Periscope and binoculars” montage was sold by using just the right cheesy-inspirational music behind it. See, you need logic to make these jokes work sometimes.

Did Jennifer Hudson wake up five minutes before going out on stage?

Is Cameron Diaz just a total ditz or am I being unkind? She can’t pronounced cinematography and makes a snarky comment about SUNRISE, one of the greatest movies ever made (probably written by someone else, but still). Not charming, not cute. Has she ever heard of SUNRISE? Does she care? I have to remind myself that I’ve liked her in a few movies.

Wesley Snipes was there with Spike Lee?

Yeah, Katherine Heigl, we get that you’re nervous. Why are you presenting again?

Whose picture was shown to represent “Roderick Jaynes” during the editing category? And what would the Coens have done if Jaynes had won?

No Charles Lane in the Montage of Death. No Charles Lane!

Snarky comment: I guess we’re never going to get rid of Diablo Cody now. Okay, sincere comment: I liked JUNO and don’t have a really bad thing to say about it but never thought it was THAT good. However, the genuine emotion that came from her in her moment was hard to ignore. And good for her for thanking the writers in her speech. I honestly got the impression from her that she seems genuinely honored and aware of her good fortune to be included in such a group. If I ever see her at the New Beverly I’ll congratulate her for winning the Oscar and also for getting a prominent Dario Argento reference into that script that won the Oscar.

And I’ll admit: I couldn’t bring myself to pay attention to four of the song nominees. I was either in the bathroom, making food or on the computer. At least two of the ENCHANTED songs were deliberate Disney parody-type things—cute in the movie, torture when watched out of context. The other two songs I just couldn’t take. The performance of “Falling Slowly” was nice, but encumbered by needless orchestration. This was the moment for Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and the camera swoops over to Bill Conti for no reason? Fortunately, this was amended not just by their win and Hansard’s acceptance speech, stressing “Make Art”, but doubly so by the touching words that Irglova was allowed to return to the stage to say. Immediately it became one of my favorite Oscar moments ever. From a sincere, touching film, came these similarly touching words from an artist not just happy to be there, but ecstatic at being given the gift to express herself the way she does. It’s moments like this, provided by someone who genuinely earned the right to be standing up there, which the producers of the ceremony need to remember.


Anonymous said...

I did a double take at Wesley Snipes.
I did vote for Transformers in 3 categories on my Oscar party ballot.
Cameron Diaz is a pretty girl with an empty head. But at least she wasn't a fashion freakshow, as she usually is.
Katherine Heigl looked gorgeous. And she's made some hit movies now.
Jon Stewart was a good host. Understated, funny, respectful, a little snarky -- and bringing Marketa Irglova back onstage to speak was a total class act, whether it was his idea or not.
And when are they going to give Ryan Seacrest's job TO Gary Busey? That would liven things up!

Mr. Peel aka Peter Avellino said...

Gary Busey on the red carpet. Somebody really needs to get on it to make sure that happens next year. Great idea!

Nostalgia Kinky said...

Nothing much to add except to say how much I love Tilda Swinton and was on my feet when she won...also, damn how incredible looking is Marion Cotillard?
Finally the joke Jon made about Cate playing the dog in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN still has me chuckling...I missed the Gary Busey bit and am kicking myself now.

Mr. Peel aka Peter Avellino said...

I'm sure you can find the Busey clip out there somewhere. Glad to hear there was someone else cheering for Tilda Sunday night. And yes, Marion Cotillard is truly incredible looking. Beyond incredible. Good to hear from you, Jeremy.