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Oscar Night 2007

I know you’ve been waiting for this since we all crushed hard on Joaquin Phoenix and decried that thing Charlize wore on her left shoulder. The big news this year is that Tom Jesus and Katie are dropping Armani to allow Victoria Beckham to dress them like the dolls they are, “in matching black outfits, with his and hers red trim around them.” The preciouses!

Of preciouses, I like Forest Whitaker and Meryl Streep, but that’s primarily because most of the nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress I never saw this year. I did see 60% of the Best Picture nominees, however. The Departed is a lighthearted Beantown bloodfest that prances through a lot of plot machinations to get to a final shot that confirms there is indeed a Beat Your Audience Over the Head with a Symbol school of filmmaking. It’s refreshing in that it’s not realism: it succeeds through dramatic irony and a host of good actors allowed to thrive in caricature. Little Miss Sunshine, in many ways antithesis to The Departed—it’s caricature dressed up as realism—is also delightful. Between those two and Letters from Iwo Jima—and, from what I’ve heard of it, Babel too— subtlety is least of the Academy’s worries. Letters is powerful storytelling, though, in part because it broaches a theme, that humanity survives even in war, unusual in American theaters. Eastwood’s films this century—not only Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, but also Flags of Our Fathers—have consistently found ways to provoke through explorations of character both stark and tender. I like Little Miss Sunshine (for the sake of Greg Kinnear’s character alone) and Letters for their relevance.

Prognosticators who aren’t blogging here are drooling all over Scorcese, though, for both Best Picture and Best Director (whether Scorcese deserves it this time seems to matter little, since everyone and her mother points out that if he wins it’s really for being longsuffering). Meanwhile, writers bored with usual speculation game turn to the other time-honored tradition of inventing trends out of thin air. For example, take the lede from David Germain’s AP article about the field:

Once an evening of backslapping and merrymaking within the narrow confines of Hollywood, the Academy Awards this time look like a United Nations exercise in diversity.

The 79th annual Oscars Sunday feature their most ethnically varied lineup ever, with stars and stories that reflect the growing multiculturalism taking root around the globe.

Never mind the fact that the entire globe has been multicultural so long the metaphor, “taking root” is meaningless, the suggestion that American movies are about more than American vision is patently absurd. If you want to identify trends in cinema, do what David Denby does and discuss the complexity of narratives. Such discussions of trend, in part because they have real roots in history, have the added benefit of saying something interesting about the way movies see the world—certainly more interesting than “My God! There are too other cultures in the world!”

But we’re all about navel gazing here, which is why the comments, in addition to movietalk and your favorite memories of Ellen DeGeneres, we should also be concerned with who wears what tonight, and we should also pay lip service to a pretty much unrelated discussion about the unlikely possibility that Tom Jesus will deny Britney’s depression, in light of the hard time he’s had of such silence in the past. (As sad as her story is becoming, I still have to ask: Did you see she beat up a car with a giant umbrella outside of K.Fed’s house?)

 

Comments

Lest I forget, Al Gore.

Scorcese’s been denied so many times that I think the academy is now doing a Lucy holding the football to his Charlie Brown. He’ll never win it.

Yes, I did see that poor car getting beaten. Britney used to bore me to death, but I’m positively riveted to her now.

Do you think that Beckham will serve as John the Baptist, Peter, Judas or John the Revelator?

As for me, I think they both may go the way of Herod (or Prince Phillip).

2: If that were true, it’d be pretty funny.

Riveted is about right; sometimes I feel glee at stars’ shenanigans—I get that when I see Lindsey Lohan in anything for example, but BS has transcended the glee for me. The postpartum depression argument makes sense, but the fact that she doesn’t seem to know how to discover a private life in the midst of it—whose fault that is is debatable—makes it all quite amazing.

3: None of the above.

Aarrgghhh! Nicole Kidman, bow’d too? Didn’t everyone agree that Charlize proved that a bad idea last year?

pwned by Martin Scorsese!

Alas, it was bound to happen sometime. He’s made great movies, but The Departed is merely good.

Pan’s Labyrinth apparently got labeled an “artistic” movie and so got all of the ambiance awards. (We still never saw it—it’s here, but we haven’t yet gotten over to the theater…)

It’s pretty difficult for Nicole Kidman to look anything but awesome, and the scarlet dress was pretty. Still, I lament the bow. And who’s the tramp wearing her color, standing behind her?

Give some love for Forest Whittaker’s acceptance speech:

When I was a kid, the only way I saw movies was from the back seat of my family’s car at the drive-in.

It wasn’t my reality to think I would be acting in movies – so receiving this honour tonight tells me it is possible.

It is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in south central LA and Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them and to have them happen.

Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone, to that thing inside of each of us, that light that I believe exists in all of us.

Acting, for me, is believing in that connection, and it’s a connection so strong, and it’s a connection so deep, that we feel it, and through our combined belief we can create a new reality.

I want to thank my fellow believers in the Last King of Scotland. I want to thank Peter, Jeremy, Andrea, Lisa, Charles, Kevin, James McAvoy, Carrie, Steven, Fox, DNA, Channel 4.

I want to thank the people of Uganda who helped this film have a spirit.

And finally, I want to thank my mum and my dad. I want to thank my wife Keisha, my children, my ancestors who continue to guide my steps, and God.

God, who believes in us all—and who has given me this moment in this lifetime that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime and into the next lifetime.

That speech was the best of the night. That said, I had no idea he’s been having trouble giving acceptance speeches.

About the show itself: you know, Ellen DeGeneres, who mostly annoys me, was really good. She dropped a few jokes, but no more than Billy Crystal ever did, and those she did drop she picked up quickly. She managed to be understated without being overwhelmed by the personalities in the theater or the occasion—no easy feat. There’s a lot of ways to approach such a stage, while many people are aware enough to realize the stage is more important than they are, few are skillful enough to succeed in communicating that awareness while being on it. She did it very well.

FWIW, it is surprisingly rewarding to write lots of comments to yourself. The constant affirmation of your own ideas is worth its weight in gold.

it´s certainly not a lack of love dude… it´s just that i´ve been working on a symposium

rather than on my paper, which is due on the 15th of April, or the exams that are due back on wednesday.

i thought nicole looked operated.

Operated how? I have a terrible eye for such things—she looks about like she’s always looked to me. (That, I realize, could be proof itself.)

P.S. I denuded 11 of link, but not before I followed it. the symposium looks interesting.

thanks… i almost didn’t put the link up, but then i wouldn’t‘ve responded to you and you would still be all alone in the universe gazing at bows.

well, for one, and this was t. who pointed it out, she got a bb job, or her pushups were very flattering.

as far as the face, it seemed that she’d done something to the eyes, but from the close up that’s not the case… it coulda just been botox.

Hmmm. They do look pert, though if larger not much so. And since her dress is backless, a pushup’s not really an option. Still, she’s always had really good posture—are you sure it’s not just the way she carries?

If she has had them done, a pox on Keith Urban, for the principle of the thing.

well, the comment was made when she came out to give some award to some person… i forget who

we saw the departed… it was nice… it’s rather strange to say that a violent movie is nice… but it was nice.

saw catch 22 it was really good. the cinematography was absolutely stellar

i hadn’t noticed nicole’s bbs, but she always looks so pinched and just generally pained lately—in the face, that is.

i liked The Departed, too…more than G did, for sure. tho i have to say i’m getting right sick of the terantino-esque happy-violence. it’s been done enough already.