Monday, February 25, 2008

Liveblogging...We're Liveblogging...We're What's Happening...

It occurs to me that I spent all day liveblogging the Oscars and haven't written a word about it here. I guess it all just seemed kind of inconsequential this year. After months of expecting it not to happen, I think everyone just sort of got used to the idea. And I know they like to keep it at a reasonable length, but everything felt really rushed tonight. No spontaneity. It was very rigid.

I think the fact that it wasn't more competitive hurt as well. Best Actress aside - which was a two-way race between actual winner Marion Cotillard (whose movie I have yet to see) and the other favorite, Julie Christie (whose movie I also have yet to see, the plot of which Stewart turned into a weak Clinton joke) - all the big categories went to the expected winners. Many of the awards were TOTAL locks...Daniel Day-Lewis, Javier Bardem, Diablo Cody, No Country winning Best Picture. There was essentially no chance they weren't going to win. (I heard a few people mention Hal Holbrook for Best Supporting Actor, but Bardem was always the Conventional Wisdom). It kills any kind of momentum or suspense the show might have if everyone already pretty much knows who will win, and their expectations aren't subverted once.

And some of Stewart's lines were kind of funny (I loved the Norbit thing in the monologue about the Academy FINALLY recognizing films that weren't any good), but not so much the pre-planned "bits." (The whole thing with Travolta double-parking his jet was laaaaaaame. He'd never go for that kind of crap on "The Daily Show.") It felt like he was holding back, replacing his usually incisive wit with Bob Hope-inspired jocularity. And, legendary Oscar host though he is, I've never been a big Bob Hope guy.

Finally, what was up with all the Best Song nominees being from Enchanted? I know it's Alan Menken and all, but come on, people...was that all 2007 had to offer? Disney-style musical numbers starring the aggressively smiley Kristen Chenoweth? Where was this year's "Whoop That Trick"? Three 6 Mafia, we need you back!

Because I did the liveblog, I have a record of my Oscar-viewing experience, so I can treat you all to some highlights, with some commentary too mean-spirited or inappropriate for Mahalo:

- I really hated those "remember winning an Oscar" videos with all the legendary famous people. It's not the star's fault, really. There's no way to make a little film like that about being given an award and not come off like an egomaniacal show business phony. Even attempting humility during something like that would make you come off like an even bigger phony. Still, what was up with that Spielberg "winning an Oscar is like male menopause" line? He's got some pull in this town, right? He could ask them to edit that shit out of there...Just sounds weird and creepy.

- Speaking of ridiculous show business phonies, they had that montage of Best Actress winners and it showed Cher saying "winning this doesn't mean I am somebody, but I'm on my way." That might be the most insipid mock-humility I've ever heard. I'm constantly mystified by Cher's longstanding fame and popularity. Where, exactly, are you on your way to, 1988 Cher? (She won for the 1987 film Moonstruck). A featured role in the Farrelly's "slightly less forgettable than most other Farrelly Brothers movies" classic Stuck on You? A Michael Jordan-esque string of faux-retirements followed by half-assed reappearances?

- It's weird to me that Katherine Heigl appeared to have horrible stage fright, considering that she's a famous actress and all, but it makes sense. She got famous on television, not the stage. It's theoretically possible that she's never really had to do any performing at all in front of more than a few dozen people at a time.

- Why is The Rock still famous? He doesn't wrestle any more. He's never really made a good movie. (Some people like The Rundown, but it's mediocre at best, let's be honest. And if you like it, it's probably not because The Rock is great in it.) Can we all just move on from The Rock, please? I think we've all smelled what he's cooking at this point, and most of us just aren't really that into it for whatever reason.

- Seeing clips of Cuba Gooding, Jr. winning an award is officially Sad as of this year. It was funny a few years ago, when he was disgracing himself with Boat Trip, but I think appearances in both Daddy Day Camp AND Norbit in one year marks a paradigm shift. We're no longer talking a respectable actor who's made some odd choices. We're talking about a guy who is changing what it means to be an Academy Award winner. It now means, "individual who may or may not appear in Norbit."

- It's nice that Owen Wilson is apparently healthy again and ready to resume being a celebrity-type person, but I feel like he should have cut the tension with a joke or something. It didn't necessarily have to be a suicide joke. But he just kind of took the stage and got right into it like nothing had happened, but the whole world knows some shit happened. It's like, "you're the star of that odious-looking piece of shit Drillbit Taylor, right? Wacky it up, fucker."

- I didn't even watch Bee Movie, but from the marketing alone, I'm sick of death of this fucking Seinfeld Bee and wish he would go away and die forever. How is it that I love human Seinfeld so much but so desperately loathe his bee counterpart? They sound alike. They even kind of look alike. What is the deal with that? Who are these people?

- I've seen every nominated performance in this category. I probably would have given the Oscar to Cate Blanchett for her take on Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, easily the best performance in that movie. But Tilda Swinton would have been my second choice, and as you may recall, I wasn't much of a Michael Clayton fan. Though she was playing a stock character (hyper-aggressive but secretly vulnerable female executive), she really threw herself into the role. The wordless scene in which she freaks out in a restroom was probably the most impressive, performance-wise, in the film. (I really wasn't crazy about Clooney in the movie at all, save maybe the extended close-up at the end.) I thought she had the best speech of the night - no hysterics, no crying, just some thank-yous, a few quips, and it all came off really sincere.

- All of Jon Stewart's "pregnant celebs" jokes were kind of creepy, right? Especially the part about Jack Nicholson impregnating more women during the show. I get it...he used to be a ladies' man...We've all seen and enjoyed Carnal Knowledge. But the guy's like my grandpa's age, alright? It's gross now.

- Did I mention how much I hate James McAvoy? Who the fuck is this guy and how did he talk his way into a film career? In the movies, he's just bland and forgettable. In real life, he's obnoxious. It's really something...

- I wonder if the orchestra was at all affected by the flood of flopsweat gushing over the stage during Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen's "bit" about Judi Dench and Halle Berry. That was a 3 minute award presentation that seemed to last about 12 days. "See, it's funny, because they're fat young men, not and old lady and a sexy black woman!" Somebody get me Judd Apatow! We need 30 cc's of prime-time-TV-appropriate dick jokes, STAT!

- Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson, at this point, clearly dread the Oscars and go out of a sense of obligation or to promote whatever they're working on. You could feel Harrison Ford wincing as he had to go through the motions tonight. "Oh, man, more of this bullshit. Do I still have that roach on me? It may be time for a bathroom break." It's kind of awesome.

- I know I should see Once and that everyone loves it...but I just can't motivate on it. It's in my Netflix queue, but never seems to make it to the top there...

- Most awesomely retarded statement of the night: Upon winning Best Original Score for Atonement, Dario Marianelli says "It's called a movie because it's a very moving film." Um, no. They're called movies because they are pictures that are moving. As in the phrase, "moving pictures." Not everything that's called a movie is moving. For example, Epic Movie. Also, Atonement was not particularly moving. In other words, STFU.

- One of the two women who won for that Documentary Short Freeheld (no, I haven't seen it) had the most irritating voice I've ever heard broadcast on TV. I actually wrote that on the Mahalo liveblog, if you can believe it. I don't know what came over me. I have to share my displeasure with this shrill voice with the entire world! Here's what I wrote:

First Oscar nomination and win for Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth. They're very excited, clearly, and thank HBO for showing this film. I'm sure it's a great film and all, but this woman has a very irritating voice. They thank the produces who believed that "a 38 minute movie can change minds."

What a dick. Also, I wrote "produces," not "producers," because I was going too fast. Dang.

- I would love to see the Coen's teenage project, Henry Kissinger: Man on the Go.

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