* The Oscars were last night and I raced home from a weekend trip so I could have a front row seat. I have an unhealthy love for the Oscars. I enjoy the cheesy montages, the fashion faux pas and the sappy acceptance speeches. But this year kinda sucked.
* Jon Stewart did a nice job keeping things moving along, but I preferred the first time he hosted, when he rolled out pre-taped montages, including campaign commercials noting how hot Keira Knightley was. He was good this year, but I never experienced a true laugh-out-loud moment. I suppose the closest was the “Montage to bad dreams.” (Certainly better than Ellen DeGeneres last year. I don’t get her. She’s like your annoying kid sister or something.)
* Too many foreign folks won this year. More than half the acceptance speeches were burdened under heavy accents. To be sure, each of them deserved their prizes, but it got tiresome.
* As previously noted on this blog, “No Country For Old Men” was a darn fine movie. I’ve seen it twice. When you watch it, try to focus on Tommy Lee Jones as the main character. If you do that, it all makes more sense. Javier Bardem was truly spooky. Kudos to the Coens, who never make a boring movie. (Could’ve used a little more emotion from you once you won, though, guys.)
* Like the Oscar nerd that I am, I clapped my hands together whenever “There Will Be Blood” won a prize. It only took cinematography and Best Actor, but those two were very well deserved. It’s an amazingly well-photographed film, and Daniel Day-Lewis is a man on fire. In years to come, people will look at his work in “Blood” the way people look at Brando’s role in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” It’s phenomenal. I would have preferred if it had won Best Director and Best Picture, but my esteem for “No Country” keeps my bile at bay.
* On the other side of the fashion coin, my true love, Anne Hathaway, looked like a million bucks – a million sexy bucks.
* I want to have Cameron Diaz drop in to Studio 5 so she can trip over her words in the teleprompter and giggle like a clown for hours. Why is this woman still getting work? Are there so many airhead roles Paris Hilton doesn’t have time to take them all?
* Despite my esteem for Oscar montages, this year’s crop was really weak.
* Honorary Oscar Set Decorator Guy was boring. I can’t remember the last honorary winner who didn’t bore me to tears. Maybe ’99, when Elia Kazan got his, and there was all that controversy over his complicity in the blacklist scandal.
* A few words about “Once” – this is a wonderful little film that a lot of people will overlook because the accents are a little hard to get around. (Scottish and Czech in the same film? Help!) But even if you struggle with the dialogue, it’s worth a viewing. A great little flick with all kinds of heart that speaks to the power of music in healing and connection.
“Once” truly deserved its Oscar for Best Song, and I loved Glen Hansard’s humble acceptance speech. But my jaw dropped when Bill Conti swung The Baton of Doom and dismissed poor Marketa Irglova without so much as a word. Thank God Jon Stewart led her back out so she could deliver the best moment of the night. (Watch it here until the copyright cops crack down.)
Here’s a hint, ham-fisted Oscar producers: If something is good, let it go. If it sucks, cut it off. Like that opening sequence that looked like it was edited using 1980s CGI technology? Play the orchestra on that and end it early. The old guys who are thanking older, deader guys? Play them off. Academy President Guy who bores us all to tears with his never-ending tale about the fascinating airtight room where the Price Waterhouse nerds tabulate votes? Cue the maestro. All the weird little foreign people who produced some 12-minute documentary about a village where everyone paints their faces green and chews dirt? Cut. Them. Off. In fact, shouldn’t the Oscars be all about feature films? If I make a really cool home movie that shows my Uncle Steve being whacked in the man-zone with a pool cue, am I eligible for an Oscar? Should I hold Hollywood’s brightest stars hostage while I thank my 2nd grade teacher? No. If your movie is shorter than my newscast, you should not be allowed anywhere near the red carpet.
* My friend Jill Dobson got to work the Red Carpet for a certain biased news organization. She blogs about her experiences here. (Good job, Jill. You’re the reporter in that building who doesn’t drink Rupert’s Kool-Aid.) Reminisce about “Barely Today” and last year’s Oscar wrap-up with Jill here.
* And for the weirdos who doesn’t like the Oscars: Let them eat cake… until they die.