Sunday, February 25, 2007


Oscar Blogging

UPDATE IV: Okay, so, it wasn't the mini-sweep for Pan's Labryinth that it seemed early on. Pan was upset for Best Foreign Film by the German entry, The Lives of Others. Meanwhile, the Academy's continued dissing of Dreamgirls (excepting Best Supporting Actress, Jennifer Hudson -- who did right by giving a shout to predecessor Jennifer Holliday who originated her role in the Broadway version) continued: Melissa Etheridge beat out three different entries from the faux Motown musical to win with her An Inconvenient Truth theme, "I Need To Wake Up." As an aside, I will admit to having a soft spot for Etheridge for some time, back to when she was just an all-out rock and roller. Given that she recovered from cancer over the last year (her showing up with a shaved head from chemotherapy at last year's Grammy Awards was a highlight) and that she had a song -- and person (Al Gore) -- that it was only too obvious that the Academy wanted to reward, her win shouldn't be considered that much of a surprise.

Speaking of Gore, the schtick between the former VP and Leonardo DiCaprio was saved from being completely interminable by the gag at the end where going-on-too-long music played just as Gore was began to make a "major announcement."

Forest Whitaker gave a splendid acceptance speech for The Last King Of Scotland that was equal parts spiritual, philosophical and genuine -- very classy. Exactly how did a movie like Fast Times At Ridgemont High manage to "graduate" both Sean Penn and Whitaker?

And, a little under four hours, Martin Scorsese finally won his elusive Best Director Oscar -- delivered by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola (with an all-star group like that presenting, how could they not give it to Scorsese?). So what if The Departed was his least-deserving picture? The Academy has a history of these "make-up" awards. Denzel Washington should probably have won for either Malcolm X or The Hurricane; instead he got the Best Actor for Training Day. And, the year Washington was beaten out for Malcolm X, it was because the Academy had to give it to Al Pacino for Scent Of A Woman -- when he should have gotten it for, say, The Godfather, Pt II.

Finally, a word about Ellen DeGeneres: As mentioned before, her monologue wasn't hilarious, but her "crowd work" was great. Trying to get Scorsese to "read" a script she was pushing was funny. Even better was her "directing" Spielberg to take a digital camera picture of her and Clint Eastwood. DeGeneres clearly enjoyed being there and had a great interaction with everyone in the audience.

UPDATE III: Alan Arkin wins first big award of night -- Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine. Pre-Oscar favorite Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls) probably can thank Norbit for costing him the Oscar. The comedy brought in a lot of money in its opening week, but it was so poorly received critically, such a gross throwback to "old" Eddie Murphy and so damn ubiquitously advertised during the voting period, that there was no way the Academy could give him an award this year.

UPDATE II: Pan's Labyrinth, an avante-garde fantasy flick from Mexico wins both technical categories in which it was nominated. Expect it to win Best Foreign Film.

Best line in Ellen DeGeneres monologue (political content aside): "Jennifer Hudson -- on American Idol, America didn't vote for you, but you're nominated for an Oscar. Al Gore -- America DID vote for you, and you're also nominated for..."

Very funny (though the rest of her monologue was "cute", there were no knee-slapping lines).

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