Monday, February 26, 2007

Notes from Oscar night

Took me 6 days to come up with this. I'm nothing if not timely. Ignore the fact that's it's listed as Mon Feb 26, it took me 6 days to get around to finishing it.

Met some friends at one of their homes for Oscar night. Attended the gathering at about 7:30. Same thing I've done for 7 Oscars now. It's becoming tradition. Later in terms of time then we usually meet, something that was more pronounced when one of our group was late with the ballots. Generally, 5 of us go against each other in picking the winners. But three of us bet. It used to be a dinner, but it's since switched to a DVD. Third place provides a DVD of an Oscar winner from that year's ceremony for both second and first place, while second place provides a DVD for first. We also provide each other with our top 10 of the year. Is any of this geeky? Bite me punks, it's fun! Rather then break down each list, I'll combine them all for our combined best 10. A point system is used, based on placements on each list. 10 pts. for 1st, 9 pts. for 2nd, etc.:

1)The Departed: 18
2)Pan's Labyrinth: 17
3)Casino Royale: 17 (the only reason this is third is because Pan's appeared on more top 10 lists.)
4)United 93: 16.5 (a half point for being #1 on Hollywood Says' list.)
5)Volver: 14.5 (a half point for being #1 on one of the other top 10 lists.)
6)Cars: 13
7)Children of Men: 13 (Cars was on more top 10 lists then Children, certainly not on mine.)
8) TIED- The Heart of the Game and Jet Li's Fearless: 10.5 (Both made #1 on at least one of our lists, and didn't appear on any other list, because no one else in the room saw these films.)
10)Letters from Iwo Jima: 10

Films ranging from Borat, to V for Vendetta, to Rocky Balboa, to Talledega Nights, made other people's lists. Not mine of course, but anyway . . .

For once, I didn't finish 3rd in the betting of who picks the winners, I finished 2nd. Meaning I get one DVD and give one, as opposed to my usual coughing up two. I owe it all to unclean living, fancy flying, and Dreamgirls winning for Best Sound Mixing. The lass who did lose, did not hide the hurting ego too well. And now, she owes me a copy of Pan's Labyrinth, widescreen edition. Since there is no announced date for its DVD release, this will take awhile.

But like I said, I finished second, not first. I lost to Hollywood Says, yet again. So I owe him a DVD. You would think I owe him a Oscar winning DVD, based on what I wrote in the first paragraph. Instead, he wants Borat. It didn't win, but that's what he wants. Ever see a bald man cry? Not pretty, man. Not pretty.

Other thoughts from the group over the course of Oscar night:

Cate Blanchett was the first best dressed I saw that night. Kate Winslet was a close second, shortly after, though the little girl in the room saw Kate on TV and said: "Mommy, she looks like a lime." From the mouths of babes . . .

J Lo's hair looked real nice, and the makeup, a major improvement. The dress was crap, but from the neck up, she looked great.

My head really turned when I saw Montse Ribé, who won for Best Makeup for Pan's Labyrinth. Very nice indeed.

Abgail Breslin and Will Smith's son looked real cute up there. They were the best presenters of the night. The boy already has the strut, which was apparent when he blew right by the little girl, struggling to walk in her dress. He's going to be just like his dad, you can just tell that night. He's got good looks, an acting career and a failed marriage in his future, just like dad.

Very good intro for the screenplay nominations. Teaching people how a screenplay works.

The award that stunned us the most? Pan's Labyrinth losing Foreign Language Film to The Lives of Others. I wanted to see the film before, now more then ever. But why during the acceptance speech do they cut away Faye Dunaway, looking unhappy, and thanks to both age and plastic surgery, looking like the Cryptkeeper? What the hell?!?!?

In retrospect, I wished I was paying attention to the speech of one of the sound editors who won an Oscar for Letters From Iwo Jima. One of their fathers actually fought on Iwo Jima and I'm sure it was interesting. But honestly, it was Sound Editing, so we were seeing who got it right, wrong, talking about something else, etc.

Rachel Weisz introducing the Best Supporting Actor looking NIIIICCCEE. But trying to pronounce Djimon Hounsou's name was not just a job, it was an adventure for her. But I know what you're saying, let thee who has not mispronounced Djimon's name cast the first stone. I think it's from the bible. Or from Star Trek.

Was surprised by Alan Arkin's win, but loved the genuine emotion of the speech. Eddie Murphy got so pissed he walked out? Didn't even notice until the 3 Oscar nominated Dreamgirls songs were performed and they didn't have Eddie to cut to. Sore losers are not appreciated.

Loved Jennifer Hudson's 2nd dress, not thrilled with the first that had pockets. Yeah, a dress with front pockets to make a big girl look bigger. Stick on some shoulder pads from some sci-fi show from the 70s, and the fashion disaster is complete! And what was that one line from Jennifer's acceptance speech? " . . . look what God can do . . .". Personally, I'd like God to be a little more selective, but I really liked Jesus Camp, so my one way trip to Purgatory is already set. Also, "Bill Condon's a genius . . ."? Okay . . .

And on yeah, could the 3 Dreamgirls songs be performed in a less interesting manner? No wonder Melissa Etheridge won. Jennifer Hudson was one of the uninteresting performers, but remember what she said, this is what God can do.

I was not expecting much from Ellen as host (I took heat for that comment in the room), but after a slow start, she was okay. Fantastic when compared to Jon Stewart. Amazing when compared to Seinfeld, who stopped yawning long enough to deliver a truly lame set of jokes, before introducing the nominees for Best Documentary.

ABC's pre-game show starts with an interview with the two most boring women on the planet, Naomi Watts and the botoxed (probably) Nicole Kidman. They may not actually be boring, but I couldn't tell based on their quick interview. And how does Nicki still stay on the A list, when she doesn't seem to draw flys to her films, except for Happy Feet, and that wasn't hers?

The room split on Cameron Diaz's dress and hideous brown hairstyle, guess which side I was on? And who attacked Lisa Ling's dress with a weed whacker?

I thought I wouldn't care for the tumblers. That seemed to be the kind of slowing down act that would piss me off. But they were pretty good. Snakes on a Plane was pretty good, but The Departed was great. Damn, they fired the gun!

The In Memorium segment was as good as always. For a Star Trek fan like me, I felt like an idiot that I forgot that James Doohan had died. At first, I thought that Robert Wise was being honored, when they showed a clip from Star Trek The Motion Picture. But considering that not everyone is remembered and put in (Peggy Lee and Lawrence Tierney are examples), so it was nice to see Scotty remembered. Even though he died in 2005 and it he should have been in last year's In Memorium. Come to think of it, I didn't notice that Scotty was left out last year. Pathetic on my part.

The Ennio Morricone segment was terrific. Right up until Celine tried to put a billion people into a coma with her rendition of Ennio's song from Once Upon A Time In America. So slow, I'm wondering if she's still singing the song. But nice to see Morricone sitting in the Abe Lincoln seats of the theater (A joke I steal from Robin Williams at a Richard Pryor tribute). Seated next to him was Quincy Jones, wearing . . . I don't what he was wearing. Hollywood Says said it reminded him of something from Dusty Rhodes 's closet.

According to Leo and Al Gore, for the first time, the Oscars went green. You could cut the indifference in the room with a knife.

The 2 presenters who looked like they did not want to be anywhere near each other? Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The first time they presented, back in 2002, Spider-Man was about to come out, but they had broken up months ago. The body language between them: frosty to say the least. Now 5 years later, they've shot 2 more Spider-Man films (he was almost replaced by Dunst's then-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal), and Toby's fiancee gave birth, and the body language between him and Dunst is still awkward. Holding hands coming out, then dropping them as fast as possible. Eeeh!

Overall, not a bad show, but it still felt like it was stretched unnecessarily. Thanks to the snow, I needed to stay over. Luckily as you can see, I had a buddy next to me as I slept. Later all.

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