Not much else to do with my night but mock the Oscars; I wasn’t gonna, but the opening montage reminded me of how painfully bad some of the Oscar winners have been. Thus, they deserve it. It’ll all go in this post so anyone reading this on Livejournal is missing all the fun.
Steve Martin, of course, is worth it all. He defuses the tension of the evening by making the red carpet jokes right off the bat, with a well deserved zinger at the real reason the show must go on, namely profits. Best host ever.
“Remember, there are no losers here tonight, but we’re about to change all that.”
Best Animated Feature has taken the traditional “we’re only pretending it’s a major award” slot that once belonged to Best Supporting Actress. The Oscar goes to Spirited Away, as it bloody well should have. Shortest acceptance speech of the night, since nobody showed up to accept the thing.
Pleasingly, The Two Towers takes Best Visual Effects. This is a clue for everyone releasing a movie in 2003: it’s a good year to do a non-effects movie, cause the insane New Zealanders just won their second in a row and you know Return of the King will take it next year. Really. Make the next Harry Potter a one room play or something; it’ll do you all good.
Showing Cuba Gooding Jr. in a Best Supporting Actor montage is just cruel.
Chris Cooper wins for Best Supporting Actor; that’s kind of a surprise. I woulda picked Walken. Could have been John C. Reilly, who was great, but I did suspect this would be the token “we’re not rolling over for Chicago” award.
Chicago wins for best Art Direction, which is nigh undeniable. And hey, it’s time for the big Chicago production number! Which I will enjoy. Catherine Zeta Jones is pulling this off pretty well. There, now I can be mean for the rest of the evening.
Jennifer Garner is presenting Best Animated Short Film with Mickey Mouse. It must be exciting for her to work with someone more fluid than her last leading man. The winner is The Chubbchubbs!, which aired in front of something really not good involving aliens.
I didn’t care about the Best Short Film award, except that they got all cool and brought the screenwriter up on stage and then they snarked about Danish politics. So, OK, that’s cool. Enjoy the spotlight, kids. Oh — This Charming Man. I’d buy a DVD with all the short film nominees.
Mira Sorvino flubs her lines in front of millions of people. Well, it’s the year to mess up on the Oscars. Should Chicago have won Best Costumes? Hm. Two Towers should have been nominated. Different kinds of work. Time for a Best Animated Costumes award!
I do not believe that any kind of award should be associated with The Wild Thornberries. I suspect this wasn’t how Paul Simon saw his career going twenty-five years ago. Hey, it’s African, it’s in line with… aw, he’s just fooling himself.
Catherine Zeta Jones has that I’m about to win an Oscar look. And she’s right. Gotta love the way Connery announces her as just “Catherine.” Dude, Michael Douglas is not that old; he might be able to kick your ass. “Nobody calls her Catherine but me, punk!” I’d pay to see that.
The Maya folks and a couple of camera manufacturers won technical Oscars. People clapped, politely.
Frida picks up an Oscar for Best Score. This is another one of those awards that got hopelessly skewed by the Rings monolith. This year, Howard Shore didn’t even get nominated despite winning for Fellowship last year — and he wrote the scores at the same time. It’s a puzzle. Do you give ‘em awards three years in a row for the bits that deserve it, or what?
Whoops, it’s Best Foreign Language Film. Germany wins for Nowhere In Africa! Damn them all anyhow. This whole thing where each country selects one film to be considered needs to go.
Chicago cleans up yet another minor award with Best Sound. This is distinct from Best Sound Editing, in which category Chicago didn’t get nominated. A man’s gotta wonder. Not only that, they’re just letting Julianne Moore stick around to present Best Sound Editing, too. Now I’m really curious. Is one of these for Foley artists, or something? Oh, IMDB says it’s Best Sound Effects Editing — so I guess so. Two Towers picks up this one.
Hey, touching moment! Mike Hopkins has a pretty bad stutter, but he’s not gonna let that stop him delivering an acceptance speech. Bravely done.
Someone at the Oscars agrees with me about that Best Foreign Film thing; Gael García Bernal is introducing the Best Original Song nominee from Frida. He was one of the stars of Y Tu Mama Tambien, which should have gotten a nomination. Well done on the Academy’s part — sticking him so close to the award itself makes the point nicely.
Best Documentary is our big opportunity for controversy tonight. Yep, the Academy does not shy away: it’s Bowling for Columbine which I think I have to see now. There are reports that it’s a little more nuanced than some would have us believe. Hey, Michael Moore dresses up real — nah, he should have stuck to a T-shirt. Wait, he invited his fellow documentary nominees up on stage and says they support him in his statement. Well, the Academy knew what they were getting into when they gave him an award. Wow, he just called Bush a fictitious President. The auditorium is pretty conflicted… you expected a thanks to his third grade teacher?
Following him is Jack Valenti, that icon of moral integrity. He gives Best Short Documentary to Twin Towers, and I don’t find that the least bit ironic.
Steve Martin: “It was so sweet backstage… you should have seen it. The Teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.” The audience is missing the bite in that.
Julia Roberts makes me sad; Julia Roberts presenting the Best Cinematography Oscar to Road To Perdition makes me even sadder. Ah; the cinematographer, Conrad L. Hall, just died. It was a really attractive movie, I suppose, but my sentiment meter is hitting max.
Shirley Jones: “Winning the Oscar really improved my sex life considerably. I sure would like to win another one.” OK, I wasn’t going to be very approving of this montage since it was a total time waster, but that line made it worthy. Masturbatory, but worthy.
Colin Farrell and his eyebrows are both Irish, so I suppose they can introduce the Best Song nominee from Gangs of New York. U2 is Irish too. It all fits. I think Farrell’s line about “pride, but not at the cost of another person’s life” might be aimed, well, somewhere.
Hey, it’s Geena Davis! Who is introduced as the star of The Accidental Tourist. That was 15 years ago, guys, way to make her feel like she’s been in a deadend lately. Doesn’t Stuart Little count for anything? She overcomes her heartbreak long enough to toss a Best Editing Oscar to Chicago. Poor Geena. We get another thanks to Bill Condon from Martin Walsh, the editor, so that’s all good.
Susan Sarandon is in absolute black. Ah. The most important part of the show, in my book: the memoriam for those who have passed away.
“Later we’re doing a montage of people you think are dead, but aren’t.” Dude, we’ve already seen Cuba and Geena this evening.
Wow, time for Best Actor already? Total surprise! Adrian Brody, in The Pianist! He is gobsmacked, I am gobsmacked, everyone is gobsmacked. He didn’t even write a speech, but he ad libs well. And yes, he thanks Roman Polanski and the crowd reacts well. Polanski might win an Oscar tonight. That’d be a trip.
They start to play him off, and he shuts off the music by force of personality. “Hey, I’ll only get one chance at this.” With utter class, he asks us to pray for peace. “I have a friend from Queens, who’s a soldier in Kuwait right now… I hope you and your boys make it back real soon.”
The evening is veering into political territory. Dustin Hoffman mentions that artists can, sometimes, correct the future through illuminating the past. This is apt, as he is introducing the clip from The Pianist. And I was gonna be all cynical tonight.
Barbara Streisand expresses her happiness to live in a country in which we have the right to sing or say whatever we want. Nice phrasing. And holy crap, Eminem just won an Oscar. I am so very disappointed that he didn’t show up for this. You know, this has got to be some kind of equal opportunity thing — first they make Republicans across the nation blow a fuse, and then they give Eminem one just to make half the liberals explode as well.
Meryl Streep has an honorary Oscar for Peter O’Toole, which reminds me that it’s about time I watched Lawrence of Arabia. O’Toole didn’t want one, on the grounds that he still might win one the hard way. Such a mensch. Great speech, too. Cynicism fading!
Denzel hands the Best Actress to Nicole Kidman. Her rehabilitation from the lowly position of “Tom Cruise’s Wife” is apparently complete.
Oh man. They dragged Cuba and Geena out again. Poor kids. I swear I don’t remember them doing this to those two last year.
I was thinking, above, that it was too late to start watching Lawrence of Arabia. I always worry a little about the length of that flick; I don’t want to bog down halfway through. But what do I have to worry about? The edition I have is only 227 minutes; the Oscars hit that mark right around… now. If you count the preshow, and who doesn’t? OK, OK, we’ll see if they go over Lawrence time for the show proper.
Best Adapted Screenplay time. This is kind of interesting; the geek in me wants Donald Kaufman to win, but the aesthete in me is a big Bill Condon fan. They are both left sad and alone, cause it’s another victory for The Pianist. Ronald Harwood, the screenwriter for The Pianist, observes that Roman Polanski deserves an Oscar. I think it’s gonna happen; the Academy has been in an odd mood all night.
Best Original Screenplay is apparently really titled “We’re really sorry we didn’t nominate you for anything more major, but you deserved it.” Pedro Almodovar takes it for Talk To Her and dedicates the award to those who are raising their voices in favor of peace and in respect of international legality. Booyah. He does not get booed like Michael Moore did, which proves that you can say anything you want as long as you’re even vaguely oblique about it.
When they introduce you as “the star of such blockbusters as” is that some sort of subtle slur? “Hey, how does it feel to be the only guy on stage who’s never won an Oscar? Affleck won an Oscar, you know. But you? Nope.” Harrison Ford joins Geena and Cuba in my pity party corner. He presents the Best Director Oscar to Roman Polanski! Now, there’s a pretty huge surprise. Is that the first Oscar ever given to a convicted felon?
That means they don’t have to give Pianist Best Picture, and in fact… after a kind of painful bit by Kirk and Michael Douglas, the big award goes to Chicago. Man, Martin Richards is not going to mention Bill Condon, is he? Well, he’s a sweet old guy, so we’ll forgive him.
And that is a wrap. They gave Eminem an Oscar, which pretty much earns them a couple years of slack from me; also, they did in fact come in shorter than Lawrence of Arabia. G’night, Oscar.