Last year, I did a moment-by-moment recap of the Oscars. It was fun, but it involved staying in my apartment alone. This year, I decided to go out to a friend’s Oscar gathering, but that meant losing the frenetic momentum fueled by a romantic evening of me and my television in close quarters. So yes mom, I opted for social over solitary. Be proud.
Let us ponder the pointlessness of the opening montage…as Hollywood celebrates the celebration of celebrating itself. “The History of Movies”? In case people wandered in, thinking they were going to a Knicks game? You don’t have to set the stage for the Oscars. The Oscars are the stage for the Oscars. Only cool part was Chaplin and Shrek kickin’ things around like they was old swampland pals.
Chris Rock’s opening monologue was the most solid opening I’ve seen in a while. I couldn’t predict the jokes, and they were solid. Some political, some Hollywood humor, just long enough to leave you wanting one more joke…although his advice that if Hollywood can’t get a star for a film, they should wait pretty much ensures that only five people ever work as actors, and what kind of cinematic world would that create?
Some people will claim that Rock’s performance was weakened by the imposition of censors. But I thought he was great—smart-funny, which is my favorite kind. His observation that George Bush had to reapply for his job while there was a movie in every theater telling everyone what a bad job he did was very astute. I’m not trying to ignite the Fahrenheit 911 argument again, just saying that it was interesting to compare Bush’s 70 trillion dollar deficit and war in Iraq to a situation in which the POTUS is working at the Gap and tries to invade the Banana Republic to rid them of evil tank tops, only to discover that the Banana never even had tank tops.
Morgan Freeman wins. Easy Reader, that’s his name. Is there a classier actor in Hollywood? I think not. This award was way overdue.
Beyonce sings a French song. Despite the fact that she doesn’t speak French. And is wearing blinding yellow eye makeup. And was clearly inhibited by the absence of booty-shakin’ choreography. Why was she picked? Clearly because she has an accent over the last e in her name.
Cut to Chris Rock interviewing “man on the street” type people in a Los Angeles movie theater. Special props to the sassy gal who snatched the mic from Rock to do her own version of the acceptance speech. I’m gonna guess half of those people end up on Leno’s “Jaywalking” segments next week. But seriously, this raises a really interesting question as to how much the Oscars—and the films that are nominated for the awards—really represent moviegoers. My feeling is that there would be more comedies involved if the awards really represented the will of the people. Maybe not Soul Plane and White Chicks, but other comedies.
The Carson tribute is lovely. His comment from a past awards show that he sees “a lot of new faces, especially on the old faces,” is perfectly timed and still appropriate…
Adam Sandler looks like five people I know. So does Vin Diesel. I’m just saying.
In transit from the party to my house, I managed to miss a half hour in the middle. (Or as Ron Livingston in Office Space might have said, “I’m not sure I’d say I ‘missed’ it…”) But sometime today, I’ll check my sheet and figure out if anything pertinent happened.
And now, the liveblog continues…
Hey, there’s Beyonce again. This time, the yellow eye makeup is gone and it’s snowing on stage. And she’s warbling next to Josh Groban, who’s amazing. Remember when he was on Ally McBeal, as the high school kid she agrees to take to prom? That was a mildly creepy ep, but what a voice on Groban…still, as good as these two kids are, they have ZERO onstage chemistry.
Prince’s eye makeup looks lovely—his baby browns are mesmerizing me. But no one ever mentions that he is Elvis’ Presley’s fashion heir.
What is Sean Penn talking about? Jude Law? Five actors who are magic? I am not sure what the bejeezus is he talkin’ about. Maybe that's what I missed during my transit home.
Swank over Bening, twice now. Poor Annette. But unless her character actually died a long and drawn-out death in Being Julia (did she? I didn’t see it…) she didn’t have a chance. I would have liked to have seen Hilary in a dress where you could see her arms and abs. I mean, why go through that training if you’re just gonna dress like a tznius-observing yeshiva girl. Yes, I know that the back was far from modest, but still, when you’re accepting an Oscar, people are staring at the front of your dress, not the back. And I maintain that Hil's abs should have received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Chris introduces Gwyneth as “the first woman to ever breastfeed an Apple.” That’s pretty funny--in a subtle way. Chris officially Rocks.
Best Original Screenplay. I’m typing this in the tense seconds before the award is given…if Eternal Sunshine doesn’t win, there is no God. And the Oscar goes to…Thank God. There is a God. Eternal Sunshine was not only the most original screenplay of the year, but the best original screenplay since Adaptation, which was the best original screenplay since Being John Malkovich. Get the picture? Thank God (who, in case you’re just joining us, now officially exists) that the Academy finally did.
Jamie Foxx for Ray. Duh. I think Andy Borovitz said it best.
And, for Best Director and Best Picture…Clint.
Things I liked:
Kirsten Dunst’s hair
Renee Zellweger’s dress
Kate Winslet’s smile
Robin Williams doing Jack Nicholson as Bugs Bunny
Clint Eastwood’s mother by his side to watch him win
Jamie Foxx’s crazy-emotional crying fit
That the show seemed shorter this year
Things I didn’t like:
Random presentations of awards from all over the theater
Herding all of the nominees (in non-major categories) on stage to tremble together as they wait to hear their names called or not called
Jamie Foxx’s non-hair
Sean Penn ranting about Jude Law
Virginia Madsen losing to Cate Blanchett
That Johnny Depp keeps trotting out to these shows when he’s clearly not having fun
That although the show seemed shorter, it wasn’t by much
If for some reason you'd like to revisit last year's utopia-that-was-Oscar, here's your ticket.
Next year in Los Angeles!