February 26, 2007
Oscars in slow-motion
The first half of last night's Oscars was so draggy that we should have been grateful that they only ran an hour over time. Maybe the producers were trying to make up for last year's rigid military-exercise of an awards show, but this year it got way too loosey-goosey with the cutesy filler, like Ellen's photo with Clint Eastwood for MySpace, those Pilobolus human pyramid-penguins, and all the montages.
Actually, every year's show has at least three montages, right? One weird one with only the filmiest of unifying themes (what was it this year? Immigration? America?) and one for everyone who died this year, and one other arbitrary one, which this year was a "foreign film" montage. And they sort of plowed through the usually glacial lifetime achievement award and humanitarian award. Ellen's opening bit wasn't funny, but it wasn't especially long either. So I have no idea why the show ran so long, and felt so uneventful until Jennifer Hudson won. Maybe it was the hordes of winners heaping praise on Guillermo del Toro, who sat there basking in adulation while not actually picking up any awards himself?
Anyway, the big acceptance speeches were personal and sincere-sounding this year, and nobody thanked their lawyer, which I'm grateful for. Vindicated good sport of the century Martin Scorsese managed to keep his speech focused on The Departed, while also acknowledging in a gracious way that he knows he got the award this year largely because of decades of Academy screw-ups.
Salon's toxic Oscars queen Cintra Wilson even refrained from her usual incineration of the whole night and everything it stands for, admitting that this year, the show was "a kinder, homier Oscar celebration. It was a little boring and flabby, but well intentioned."
One of the only moments that made me drop my sandwich was while Cate Blanchett was announcing the nominees for Best Supporting Actor and describing the difficult characters many of them had developed. She said that Mark Wahlberg played a cop, while in his own life he had been arrested twenty-five times! I have no idea if that's literally true, but I want to believe.
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