Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar review

Okay, wrong Oscar. Sorry.

The 79th Academy Awards were all about prestige and elegance. On the same stage that crowned Taylor Hicks AMERICAN IDOL (and will do the same later this year to Antonella Barba – the finest singer since Linda Lovelace) Oscars were awarded Sunday night to Martin Scorsese and a bunch of other people.

It’s the Superbowl of entertainment except when your favorite team wins there’s a big parade in your city, when your favorite movie wins there’s a big party you’re not invited to.

Little surprise that THE DEPARTED won. More people will see WILD HOGS than BABEL, THE QUEEN, and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA put together.

Part of the fun of Oscar night is the insipid red carpet coverage. It’s the only time you will ever hear the question: “Who are you wearing?”

Not only did E! do a red carpet show. They did a COUNTDOWN to the red carpet show. I only caught the last seven hours, hosted by Ryan Seacrest (isn’t everything?) and the bimbolicious duo of Giuliana Depandi and Debbie Matenpoulos (the Romy & Michele of E!). Those two are always good for some stupid remarks. Debbie said Kate Winslett has been married for quite a while now. Five years. Giuliana asked Michael Buble how much he charged to sing at weddings.

And there was ABC’s red carpet coverage with Action Central News anchor, Michelle Tuzee serving as fashion “expert”. She’s at home in Iraq or Milan.

I never watch Joan & Melissa Rivers. Even FEAR FACTOR contestants who eat their weight in dung beetles would cringe at how humiliating they are. At what point does protective services say enough and finally take this daughter away from this woman?

The real pre-show suspense was: what was this year’s cause? Every year there has to be some cause with a colored ribbon or pin to show that Hollywood “cares”. This year was red teardrop pins for International USA and Global Witness to raise awareness about diamonds mined in war zones and their effect on child soldiers. There were better pins and causes but they didn’t go as well with the outfits.

The tone for the show was set right away by Oscarcast producer, Laura Ziskin, who said, “This year I’m in a party mood. Not that the world is perfect, but I’m the producer and I get to decide and I’ve decided we’re going to have a big party.” With Best Picture nominees like BABEL and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, why not?

Ms. Ziskin went on to say she thought the show had 12 acts and wanted “a wowee in every act.”

The only “wowee” in the first 55 minutes was the iPhone commercial.

The nominees film montage was the world’s longest Gap commercial.

Ellen “you know” DeGeneres stammered through a “you know” opening monologue that was mostly flat but still had a couple of great jokes. And her chats with Scorsese and Eastwood in the audience were hilarious. I say bring her back. Hell, considering they brought back Whoopi Goldberg for Godsakes, they should give Ellen a ten year contract.

Be glad the telecast wasn’t on Fox. “Welcome to the 79th annual Academy Awards, with your hosts, Mike & Julliet!”

Nicole Kidman IS Jessica Rabbit.

I love how Maggie Gyllanhaal described the non-televised awards ceremony of the science technicians as a “wild night”.

Al Gore finally won! Except in Florida where JESUS CAMP got the Oscar.

Sorry Will Smith. But you’re still closer to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air than Sidney Pottier.

Penelope Cruz (as gorgeous as she is) looked like she shot a bear, gutted it, and was walking around in its carcass.

Who cares if DREAMGIRLS didn’t win Best Picture? It won Best Sound Mixing! That $25,000,000 the studio spent on its Oscar campaign really paid off.

I stood up and cheered when Alan Arkin won. That was a legitimate “wowee”!!

And don’t worry, Eddie Murphy. You’ll be back next year for NORBIT.

I cheered even louder when Mike Arndt won Best Original Screenplay for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE because (a) it’s a comedy, and (b) it’s a script that got terrible coverage.

The show was weighed waaay down by film montages (most featuring familiar cliché clips and none showcasing my only movie, VOLUNTEERS). Producer Ziskin said, “Using filmmakers is a no-brainer. We’re celebrating movies. And what was interesting to me was that when I reached out to those people, everybody wanted to do it.” Hunh. Filmmakers who want their work seen by 8 billion people? Amazing. Who knew? She really owes them one. But that’s what Hollywood is all about. Coming together to support each other. The red pin was for what again?

J-Lo came dressed as Cleopatra. All that was missing was her asp.

The big complaint of the Oscarcast is always that winners never get to thank enough people. That’s the real excitement – to see how many pilate instructors and dog walkers are recognized. Well, to rectify that, party girl Laura Ziskin instituted the “Thank You Cam” where winners got to acknowledge people interminably but only on the internet. Early reports say the webcast of art directors thanking Home Depot and the man who invented the lug nut still had a far greater audience than STUDIO 60.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ziskin advised winners to use their 45 seconds “to entertain, or to enlighten, or move us.” For editors, make-up artists, sound guys, and costumers that was right in their wheelhouse.

The only one who really delivered on that score was Jennifer Hudson. Her speech was heartfelt, emotional, and genuine. That’s why we sit through these four hour ordeals (excuse me – parties) to share wonderful moments like that.

Fantasia is hitting the Ben & Jerry’s today in a big way.

Happy for Forest Whittaker but I consider this a make-good for not winning an Emmy on THE SHIELD.

Every time APOCOLYPTO lost I cheered.

Tom Cruise giving Sherry Lansing the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was a nice touch. They were both fired by Sumner Redstone (who will probably win it next year).

My favorite rumor did not come true. Michael Jackson did not sing one of the songs from DREAMGIRLS.

I’d be outraged that PAN’S LABYRINTH didn’t win Best Foreign Film if I had seen any of the other nominees.

The Rorschach Dance Troupe was kinda fun. How many screwed up Hollywood people in the audience saw those shapes and kept thinking it was “mommy”?

Just to clarify because she made such a big stink: DREAMGIRLS was not based on Diana Ross. VENUS was.

Whoever made Cameron Diaz’s gown specializes in napkin folding.

I miss Randy Thomas as the booth announcer.

Okay, so George Lucas hasn’t won a Best Director Oscar like co-presenters Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. It was still more prestigious having him up there than Kevin Costner.

At least no Debbie Allen SHINDLER’S LIST choreographed production number this year. (Producer Ziskin was not in a party mood that year)

Great bit, having the get-off-the-stage music interrupt Al Gore when he was about to make his “major announcement”. No one cheered louder than Hillary.

Ben Affleck was introduced as an Oscar winning screenwriter. To most WGA members, that’s more disturbing than the possible strike.

Nancy Meyers, a notorious writer-killer and credit-grubber, did a lovely piece on how writers were depicted in films.

Tom Hanks and Al Gore are starting to look alike.

The Best Short Documentary category always has four grim films and one about dance.

Where were the Price-Waterhouse guys?

Every song Celine Dion sings sounds the same. Which would be fine if I liked the song.

Since it was a formal affair Quincy Jones came dressed as Pagliacci, the sad clown. Where do I get a jacket like that?

Step aside Halle Barry, there’s a new most beautiful woman in the world and it’s Beyonce. WOWEE!!

The show could have easily come in under three hours if they only cut every montage in half, dumped the Will Ferrell comedy bit (the woman who won for costume design was funnier), lost the special effects chorus (what the hell was that??), jettisoned the Chris Connelly backstage statistic nonsense (no one cares what kind of night BABEL was having), and limited the tribute to that composer no one ever heard of to only one hour.

But all in all it was a pretty good night. But I do feel a little sorry for Peter O’Toole. He was probably thinking, “Why didn’t I play the Queen?”

See you at the mailbox exchanging our Netflix.

Join me at 11 a.m. on KNX 1070 in Los Angeles for my Oscar autopsy.

42 comments:

la guy said...

"J-Lo came dressed as Cleopatra. All that was missing was her asp."

I think J-Lo is known to have a big asp.

I'm glad Arkin won too. He's in two of my all time favorite films; Catch 22 and The In-Laws (What were Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas thinking?)

Nice round-up, I may just dump it from Tivo and get 4 hours of my life back. (2 if I skip the commercials)

benson said...

Dear God was this telecast dull.

Liked: The Rohrshocks, The Ferrell- Jack Black bit, the Gore Bit was cute. the two kids, and thank God for Don LaFontaine. (dramatic mx: "In a world filled with out of control egos and hot air...")

Hated: Everything else. Considering she's got stand-up experience, she was worse than Whoopi. Two minutes in and I was begging for Letterman's Oprah/Uma humor.

DrBear said...

I think this shows the real problem with Hollywood - the sexiest woman there was Helen Mirren.

BTW, shows the audience they were trying to get - out come Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, and instead of the forgettable music from the Spider-Man movie, they play the music from ... the Spider-Man TV cartoon! Spider Man, Spider Man, does whatever a spider can...

Tallulah Morehead said...

Once again the Best Documentary also snags Best Song. So predictable. Melissa Etheridge listened to Al Gore explain his film, and then came up with the song title "I Need to Wake Up".

Ellen Degeneris never goes for the belly laugh, and so never gets them. To use a metaphor up your ally, she's like a baseball player who only bunts.

My own Oscar review can be seen at my blog darlings. Can one ever read too many Oscar reviews?

Gamboa said...

If you haven't heard of Ennio Morricone in your life, that's something you need to check out... I guess it's just a joke, because he is like the greatest musician ever, where have you been? Watching "Two and a half men" repositions? There's something outside situation comedy, my friend.

Blarneyman said...

You say some stupid shit but I still enjoy the blog.

Thanks to Rupert Fucking Murdoch the Oscars were not televised live in Ireland. It's usually live on the BBC, but not this year. Rupert bought the rights and so the shitbag wanted us to PPV it. Kiss my ass Murdoch you bastard. I wish Richard Branson would just have that guy assinated.

Blarneyman said...

Or assassinated even. Either or.

Anonymous said...

If Celine Dion had ever appeared on American Idol, Simon would have said, "Well, your voice is o.k. dear, but WTF are all those faces you're making?"

Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce sang her right of the frickin' stage.

Anonymous said...

Poor Peter O'Toole. What has this guy got to do win an oscar? They better plan on his "Honorary" oscar for next year. He can not possible live forever waiting for the academy.

Anonymous said...

It would seem impossible to take some of the biggest stars in the world and some of the best, most exciting movies of the year and put it all together into a 4 hour borefest, but ABC managed to do it... again. Special attention should be paid to two of the the writers Ellen chose for her uninspired, unfunny monolog... Bruce Vilanch and Carrie Fisher... why waste writer budget money on two ALLEGED writers who only pitch "on the nose" crap, take ALL the credit, and let other writers do ALL the work. I am so sick and tired of hearing about Vilanch and Fisher. I've worked with both and they are hacks with a penchant for self-promotion. That said, it is no surprise that Ellen chose them. It was a very P.C. thing to do. I can only imagine how hard it made it for the REAL working comedy writers on the show, like Carol Leifer.

Benaiah said...

I with you until this paragraph:

The show could have easily come in under three hours if they only cut every montage in half, dumped the Will Ferrell comedy bit (the woman who won for costume design was funnier), lost the special effects chorus (what the hell was that??), jettisoned the Chris Connelly backstage statistic nonsense (no one cares what kind of night BABEL was having), and limited the tribute to that composer no one ever heard of to only one hour.

The comedy dance number with Jack Black and John C Reilly was hysterical. Easily the funniest moment of the Oscars. And if you haven't heard of the single greatest film composer of all time, then why do you watch the Oscar's anyway? Ellen had some great bits, but getting Speilburg to take her picture was the best moment of the night.

rorybaldwin said...

Anonymous #2, didn't Peter O Toole already get his honourary oscar?

Oh and Ken, I saw the PWC guys on TV here in the UK. Only for a second though.

Greg L. said...

Ken,

I was right there with you, till you dissed the musical stylings of Ferrell/Black/Reilly; easily the funniest part of the show. (Gore's interrupted announcement was top notch as well.)

Ferrell flubbing his T-nights co-star's name, "Helen Merrin's coming home with me", and Scorsese finally gets Best Director.

I mean, c'mon, what's not to love?

I agree with you re: Sunshine. Sweet, sweet revenge on the panners.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me you were just being snarky to be funny. It didn't work. The oscars weren't the best ever but at least there were funny moments.
Ellen was funny.
The Jack Black, Wil Ferrell, and John C Reilly was great.

Anonymous said...

Better than last year's fiasco. So happy Debbie Allen didn't do the choreography...loved the "dancers"...alloted just the right amount of time...thought Ellen was rather boring...fashions better than last year...I'm a big Versace fan, ditto Armani...loved Kate Winslett in Little Children - thought Jennifer Hudson can sing okay, but can't hold a candle to Beyonce...and who was the guy in that song? Pitchy...as Randy Jackson might say. Wish the Academy could discern the difference between great acting and good singing...but I'm not a big musical fan...all in all better than last year, but still just okay...

Great Big Radio Guy said...

More-fun-than-the-show-itself recap as always, Ken.

Overall, a wonderful night until we all woke up to the news that the Supreme Court gave the Best Documentary Oscar to George Bush.

(ducking)

tb said...

Why was Jerry Seinfeld there?

Pato said...

It's shocking you are mocking about the Oscar to Ennio Morricone. Well, actually my american roommates did not know who he is. Appalling.

Pato said...

It's shocking you are mocking about the Oscar to Ennio Morricone. Well, actually my american roommates did not know who he is. Appalling.

TCinLA said...

"Composer no one ever heard of"?????

Ennio Morricone??????

I daresay you've heard his music a bit more than his name.

Jennifer Hudson's acceptance was such a beautiful finger with a 1-inch sharp fingernail in the eye to Simon the Pommie Ponce. Eat your heart out, you talentless asshole.

I thought Nancy Meyer's tribute to writers was the best writing that talentless bimbo has ever done.

Anonymous said...

Helen Mirren was the sexiest woman there because not only is she beautiful, but has intelligence, class and wit, something bred out of American movie stars for some reason. A tag team of her and Judi Dench could take over the world (and have, in the past few years).

The Oscars were worth watching for the ease and graciousness she showed in accepting that award.

Mike Barer said...

Forest Whitaker, Helen Mirren, and Jennifer Hudson all had classy speeches.
Jerry Seinfeld would have been a better host.
Trivia
What did Bob Hope say Oscar Night was called in his household?

Anonymous said...

The whole shebang was dull except for Al Gore, Jerry Seinfeld (LOL), and the Rohrshocks... Where's Billy Crystal when you really need him? Even the stage setting was dull. Forest, Helen, and Alan - good on ya! Deserving actors all...

Anonymous said...

That would be "Passover."

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Amen to all of it -- except the tribute to the composer nobody has ever heard of of. It was Ennio Morricone. That makes ME and Clint. Presently, I'm having all my screenplays translated into Italian.

Laura Linger said...

Came over here from Hoffmania! Really enjoyed your take on the awards. I don't really concern myself with the statues all the much anymore. They lost all credibility with Yours Truly when they gave Horseface Roberts an Oscar for playing yet another hooker with a heart of gold, but her brother Eric wasn't even nominated for his fantastic turn as the murderous freak Paul Snider in Star 80.

I never tire of reading such recaps, they are such fun. I put up my own on my blog, but focused entirely on the clothing, as I am a very shallow and superficial little snippet. It's chock full of copyright violations from photos lifted from other sources and my own personal awards that go a bit beyond Best and Worst Dressed. All our welcome. If you're lucky, I won't make fun of YOUR outfit.

Patrick Walsh said...

Before things even started, one of those red carpet morons was talking about the "great 70's directors like Lucas, Ford, and Coppola." Anyone else see that? Who would the Ford be exactly, John Ford? They were hardly contemporaries. Harrison Ford? He's a popular actor. Henry Ford? He was a car manufacturer.

Cinematographers vote for Best Cinematography so there's only one way to explain Children of Men not winning: Jealousy.

Good to see Ichabod Crane pick up the Best Costume Design Oscar.

Can you imagine if Hugh Grant and Ellen DeGeneres were in a romantic comedy together? Aside from the obvious chemistry issues, that movie would be six hours on line readings alone.

ELLEN: I'm trying to...decide if I love you the most, because...if I love you the most that means I can't love...cheesecake most...and I do love cheesecake, but, no I mean I like you a lot, but I also...really do love cheesecake, but then again cheesecake...doesn't really love me back, so it's hard to...say...if you...

HUGH: I understand...you are quite possibly...yes, oh I'm terribly embarassed...no it's just that...hippity dippity diggery doo, ah, yes, no terribly sorry, terribly sorry...it's just that my trousers....yes, or rather my knickers are, you see it's just...I say, you really are quite beautiful.

I thought Ellen was OK, but she missed a great presenter intro opportunity:

"Ladies and gentlemen, two of my favorite queens, Queen Latifah and John Travolta!"

Don't usually notice fashion, but I believe Cameron Diaz was wearing a paper airplane.

I just pretended Happy Feet won an award for Shittiest Shit That Ever Shat. It made it easier to deal with. It's not like I was passionate about the other two nominees, but...my God. Happy Feet?

Biggest laugh of the night was the clip they showed from Click, Adam Sandler in a fat suit screaming "I'm a fat guy!" That's how you know your makeup is working, when the character has to yell what he's supposed to be. I expected the Pan's Labyrinth clip to be "I got eyes in my hands!!!"

Those dancers forming objects was reasonably neat. I kept wishing it was 1997, the year Boogie Nights got some nominations. I'd love to see twenty ballet dancers form a 13-foot penis.

Outside of a possible supporting role in a Tyler Perry flick down the line (as a sassy single mother with a big heart who thinks she'll never find love again, until...let's say Blair Underwood walks into her life), Jennifer Hudson will never work again as an actress.

Just as things were getting dull, they wheeled out the lifeless corpses of James Taylor and Randy Newman to save the day. My pulse dropped about 50 beats per minute during that.

Thankfully, Celine Dion was waiting in the wings to sing a song written by the 200 year old Ennio Morricone. Who made that call?

Probably the same guy who made the call to have Morricone talk in Italian for ten minutes! Funniest cut of the night was when they cut from Morricone's endless foreign ramblings to a confused Ken Watanabe! If even Ken Watanabe can't mask his disgust at your English-speaking abilities, just get off the stage.

Yay Scorsese. Yay Departed.

Anonymous said...

"The Rorschach Dance Troupe was kinda fun. How many screwed up Hollywood people in the audience saw those shapes and kept thinking it was “mommy”?"

HA - wonderful comment.

I did like the bit with Ferrell and Jack Black, and the other guy. I mean ,they can pull it off at least. And, it is true. Which is more than I can say about al the heartfelt care-about-the-environment crapola they were spinning.

Ellen was off and on target, but she did keep to one formula and followed through. The "Oscar joke" was good, and it was early in.

Alan Arkin was class and old school in a good way.

Eddie Murphy is a jerk, by leaving early and in a huff, one recalls why we forgot all about "fat suit" Eddie with the pregnant Spice girl.

Anonymous said...

Why Ellen is good but not GREAT: She knew - as did EVERYONE - she would ask Speilberg to take another photo after the first one wasn't "good enough". So we laugh at what we expected and the execution, but nothing with a twist or surprise that makes it more funny. She can do that verbally still, but even then, she's too busy holding down too many things. Pity, she was great. Now she just wants people to know she also has fashion sense...according to her Vanity Fair article.

Seymour said...

You were clearly off base with your Ennio Morricone comment. We've all heard of him for many long years, and we all know his wonderful music. Otherwise, enjoyed your comments.

I must be in a different comedy world than a lot of the commenters, because I thought the Will Ferrell-Jack Black moment was the low point of the evening, worse even than Celine Dion's number. Wildly self-indulgent, as Black ALWAYS is.

Ellen was a bore. I did not laugh once during her monolugue. She improved in the in-the-aisle bits with Scorsese, Eastwood and Spielberg, but those were more than an hour into the show. (Ironically, in-the-aisle bits usually suck.)

Arkin and Scorsese's wins were great, but no one gave an acceptance speech that touched me or made me go WOW. Not one in the whole, endless show. Jennifer Hudson lost me the second time she thanked God. Once is more than enough. God isn't an Acadamy member anyway.

I was amused when they introduced the Dreamgirls songs: "Here's Grammy winner Beyonce, Golden Globe and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Tony winning so-and-so --- and some guy."

Wally said...

Funny and good stuff, as usual. But do yourself a favor and see the Oscar-winning German film 'The Lives Of Others.' Not a yuckfest (it's German), but it's brilliant.

Anonymous said...

For the umpteenth time in this thread: you never heard of Ennio Morricone? Wow.

Ellen's monologue was pretty bad, and overshadowed by that velvet suit. How does she get all the cat hair off of it?

I was on a message board last night that's largely populated by 20-something young men, and the Oscar thread there was full of comments about how hot Helen Mirren is.

You can have your Beyonce. Jennifer Hudson blew her away when they were on stage singing together. Between having the Dreamgirls heat stolen out from under her, and that performance, I felt kind of sorry and embarrassed for Beyonce.

Paul said...

Ellen was a great host.

I liked the tribute to the composer and the bit about writers.

The whole "America in the movies" thing wasn't very good. I was expecting it to be pretty cool when they said Michael Mann did it, but... it wasn't good.

And Jerry Seinfeld was HILARIOUS. "Here's 5 really depressing movies". I could not stop laughing.

addy said...

I'm with Paul. Loved Ellen and had a great time watching. I would love to find fault with the thing as that would show how talented and unappreciated I am but what can I do? I am just a philistine.

TNB said...

"Cinematographers vote for Best Cinematography so there's only one way to explain Children of Men not winning: Jealousy."

Actually, cinematographers nominate for Best Cinematography, but every member of the Academy votes for the actual Oscars.

Tim Dunleavy said...

"Where were the Price-Waterhouse guys?", you ask?

Well, they were shown on the ABC pregame show, coming out of the first commercial break. However, someone had forgotten to turn on Chris Connelly's mic, so we never learned their names - we just saw three guys holding suitcases.

Dr. Sparky said...

But did anyone else know Clint Eastwood spoke Italian? And did Clint know he was going to serve as interpreter?

I think not.

Michael Zand said...

Ken,

This is off topic but are you posting your blog every three days now? This has been happening for about two weeks now where I check it daily and nothing new is posted for three days then when it updates you have three days worth of postings all at once. Or maybe it's just my evil computer.

Brown said...

The 79th Annual Academy Awards:

Scorsese took home the gold and the words "Red Sonja" were utterd before an audience of millions.


what more can you ask for....

benson said...

Michael Zand...

this might be a glitch with either Google or your browser. I get the same thing on my Firefox browser at work. If you don't see a new posting, just hit the refresh button. Takes care of it.

Dwacon said...

Did Scotty beam Eddie out of the ceremony after his upset?

Does Ken actually read all of these comments?

Infidel_666 said...

Why were so so happy to see Apocalypto lose at the Oscars? Because Mel Gibson expressed his honest opinion about Jews? Let me tell you something. I am saddened that people like you cannot separate your resentful feelings about a creator of art from the art itself. Apocalypto is a cinematic masterpiece, yet its failure to win an Oscar was disturbing validation that the Jewish members of the Academy were evidently obsessed with punishing Mel Gibson for his anti-Semitic remarks by denying him and the other creators of the film its just rewards. Such a disturbing display of revenge by Jewish Academy members shows us that those influential Hollywood Jews try to use their power to intimidate others into remaining silent regarding their true feelings about people and about life -- especially when those feelings are harshly critical of Jews. This is America, and when we cannot publicly express our opinions about anything or anyone without being punished with "blackballing," then we will have entered a new and unsettling phase in our rapidly-eroding society. My suggestion for the Academy members: if you cannot separate your personal feelings about the creators of art from the art that they created, then do us all a favor and excuse yourself from the honorable task of judging it. Don't let your personal, petty prejudices against the creators of the art negatively influence your decision concerning the bestowing of awards upon the art, especially when the art in this case -- Apocalypto -- deserves accolades. Your shunning Apocalypto has greatly diminished the Academy; but then again, is anybody really surprised that the film would be shunned -- especially after certain Jewish members of the Academy made disparaging comments beforehand that they would not even watch the film? I am truly disgusted at such behavior at these Academy members, and I have lost all respect for the Academy Awards. They mean nothing to me anymore.