And the Oscar Goes to Zzzzzzzz . . .
2004-03-01 - 11:05 a.m.
Some people have the Super Bowl. Others, the World Series. I have the Academy Awards Ceremony, or, as I like to call it, Gay Christmas.
I mentioned some of this back when the nominees were announced and I was so thrilled about Samantha Morton, Djimon Honsou, and Keisha Castle-Hughes getting nominations. I may not have enjoyed Christmas this year, and my New Year's may have been a mixed bag, but I had the Oscars to look forward to, and unlike the Golden Globes, the Oscars had done a lot to acknowledge some people who were decidedly outside the mainstream. Sure, Scarlett Johanssen was snubbed, but she's already begun to develop the annoying stench of eau de Indie It Girl and, like Christina Ricci before her, could be perceived as a bit too calculated and precious.
Anyways, I mention the Super Bowl because the event is so often anti-climactic. You can usually call the game well before the event itself. Sure, there have been occassional down-to-the-wire games (I believe the one this year was rather exciting, but I really wouldn't know), but usually there is one team that has been kicking ass and one that has been lucky enough to play a lot of losers. This means that, after all the build-up and all the excitement, the actual event turns out to be a big snoozefest.
Much like the Oscars this year, which I think might go down in history as the most boring ceremony to date. Really, the whole thing could have been phoned in.
Even the red carpet was a bit dull. The only truly atrocious outfit was the ridiculously puffy concoction worn by Uma Thurman that made her look like a Christmas ornament. Otherwise, there wasn't much to see. Jennifer Garner needs to give her stylist head (although, her stylist probably doesn't want head from a woman). Shoreh Aghdashloo looked like Catherine Zeta-Jones. Catherine Zeta-Jones looked like she just stepped off the set of Dynasty, and not in a good way. Jamie Lee Curtis looked gorgeous in her blue dress, while Annie Lennox looked awkward and plastic. But there was no Bjork or J-Lo or Cher to really shock the Hell out of us with something see-through or something that required flying buttresses.
There was, however, mounting evidence that everyone in Hollywood need to EAT SOMETHING. Nicole Kidman is starting to look like an alien. Her head is starting to look way too big for her eensy beensy little body. It was not pretty, let me tell you.
Then came a full half-hour of Billy Crystal's standard schtick, which was kinda funny when I was twelve but which was grating in the extreme last night. For some reason, he felt the need to appear naked numerous times. There was really no need for that. Actually, there was no need for anything that he did numerous times. The first time he made a joke about New Zealand getting thanked, I chuckled a little. The fifth time, I groaned. Also, when Charlize Theron got into the act, I groaned louder.
Speaking of which, the winners. In case you hadn't heard, LOTRROTK swept every category it had a nomination in. What a shocker. Actually, I was surprised that it swept everything, even disappointed. As much as I love Annie Lennox--girlfriend could sing the phone book and make me weep--the best song of the year was clearly "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind. It was so deliciously cheesy, and Christopher Guest's films deserve some kind of recognition. I don't want to have to wait until he's 80 and zooms across the stage on a wheelchair a la Blake Edwards.
I did love that they had scenes from Switch in the Blake Edwards montage. Nothing like including a director's lesser known failures to round out a montage.
Speaking of montages, the only pleasant surprise of the evening was the special montage for Katherine Hepburn. I successfully predicted what scene from The Lion in Winter they would use: the one where she says, "I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!" Folks, it doesn't get any better than Kate. Even Meryl and the gang know when to take a step back. I'm sad that we didn't get just one more groundbreaking performance from her before she died. I'd gladly have killed off one of this year's nominees to make that happen!
Well, maybe that's being unfair, because I loved a lot of the nominees. Hell, I even loved a lot of the winners. But never have I seen a ceremony so boring. All the favorites won. There's usually one major surprise at every ceremony, and more often than not it's a pleasant one. Perhaps one of the best was when Marcia Gay Harden took home the Oscar for Pollock, when even her nomination was considered one that came out of nowhere. It was utterly deserved--if you see Pollock you see that her characterization is powerful, subtle, and complex. Last year, the huge surprise was Adrien Brody, in a year when everyone assumed that it was a two-way heat between Jack Nicholson (who was phenomenal in About Schmidt) and Daniel Day-Lewis (who was accurately described by Mike Nelson as "an evil Willy Wonka, or a deranged Mr. Peanut"). This year, however, there was nothing. Granted, Charlize Theron's performance was more of a lock than Hilary Swank's a few years ago (I have not seen Monster, but I want to). However, there was talk that Shoreh Aghdashloo might trip Renee up on the way to the podium, or that Alec Baldwin might trump Tim Robbins. Neither of those things happened. As for Best Actor, everyone had given the edge to Sean Penn and their hearts to Bill Murray, and Sean won. I'm sure Sean was great. I'm sure he was as bombastic as ever. However, well, come on people. Go watch Lost in Translation and tell me that it isn't one of the most graceful performances ever. And yeah, fine, Sean Penn never got an Oscar, boo-hoo, cry me a river. Bill has never even been nominated, despite his work in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.
The worst had to be when Billy Crystal DREW ATTENTION to Bill Murray when the man clearly wanted to be left alone with his disappointment. That's just not cool. If someone has lost something that they deserve to win, you don't give them a round of applause. You give them their space and let them leave with poise.
Yeah, all in all, a very disappointing evening. But nevertheless, still better than Valentine's Day!0 comments so far The End - 2005-02-11
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