Quote of the Day: “You commie homo-loving sons of guns!” — Sean Penn, winning his second Best Actor Oscar
I really enjoyed the Oscars last night. I know one’s not supposed to say that. It’s not hip or fashionable to enjoy an Oscar telecast; one is supposed to be all sarcastic and nasty about it, commenting solely on the clothes and hairstyles to have any real impact in the general post-game conversation. Well, ha! to that, I say. The new production team (Bill Condon–who directed Dreamgirls–and Laurence Mark) kept their ideas a closely-guarded secret–and it worked. Setting up the show as a “lesson” in how movies get made, lining up the awards (for the most part) in the order of how the elements of a film production fall into place–a stroke of producerial genius, I say. Using groups of actors (or solo stars like Will Smith) to guide viewers on this tour–smashingly done, especially Sarah Jessica Parker/Daniel Craig and Natalie Portman/Ben Stiller (who’s Joaquim Phoenix impression was hi-larious)…Didn’t care so much for Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black–both of them seem to try to hard in general, and together it just seemed like a real sweat-fest.
Loved Eddie Murphy in the center of things giving the Jean Hersholdt award to Jerry Lewis. Loved Hugh Jackman’s gay-straight man (straight-gay man?) shtick. Loved the “salute to musicals,” though it really could have been a “salute to Broadway” and still make the same points–and even though they had the good taste to use Beyonce, the greatest entertainer on the planet right now who can do no wrong in my book (well, until she does), there should have been more songs snippets from Oscar-winning musicals like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music or the Gershwin-fest An American In Paris, but that’s just me, I guess…
Really loved the “previous-winner’s roundtable” approach to handing out the acting awards. For the first time ever watching an Oscar ceremony, I felt like I was watching a community of artists celebrate each other’s great work rather than a grab-bag of diva egos vying for the gold. (I can watch the Men’s Ice Skating comps at the Winter Olympics for that!) As the evening moved forward the groups of five actors brought onstage to present awards got more glamourous, more famous, more legendary. Perfectly played–though I must give a special shout-out to Sophia Loren for bringing her curvaceous Italian gravitas to the evening. Even if the moments were scripted, I felt like each actor (give or take a couple) gave the performances of their lives by making each nominee feel special, as if, in some ways, they’d already won. (Memo to Cuba Gooding, Jr.: stay on book. You had your, well, moment when you won for Jerry Maguire. If you really had a problem with Downey in blackface you should have stayed home. Or made a smarter, more articulate point…)
(Oh yeh, loved the Best Picture montages, in which the nominees were linked to similarly-themed movies from the past, but worst montage moment, by far: putting a shot of Braveheart into the Best Picture salute to Milk…uh, old debate, but it still resonates…)
It would have been nice to see Viola Davis win (like her Broadway counterpart Adriane Lenox
did for the stage version of Doubt
), but I guess I can’t have everything. What I did have, though, was an entertaining evening. The Oscars will never be the free-for-all funfest that is the Golden Globes, but it did come pretty close last night, at least in terms of looseness, emotion, and ease.
And can I just ask: How freakin’ fabulous are Brad and Angelina? Even smirking their way through Anniston’s brittly, unfunny moments, they just exuded glamor and sexiness and joie-de-vivre
, didn’t they? I bet they each gave each other a real prize after they got home and made sure the kids were asleep. They truly are this generation’s Liz and Dick
. I just wonder which one is the real shrew at home?