- Boy do I wish Al Gore had made an announcement to run for the presidency. The stunt with Leonardo DiCaprio was pretty clever, but it would have been a real Oscar moment if a candidate announcement had been made.
- What is Jessica Biel doing at these awards? She was on "Seventh Heaven" like five years ago, right? Does that qualify one to present an Oscar? And she was in The Illusionist. Isn't that a poor man's Prestige?
- Jennifer Hudson's and Martin Scorcese's acceptances were surprisingly touching. Both seemed genuinely humbled by receiving the award which evidences once again that people in Hollywood put a lot of stock into the Oscar, even though a look back at past winners shows some stunning wins and some ridiculous oversights. Take the year 1976 when Rocky--definitely a good movie--won over Taxi Driver and Network--two great movies. If I were a perennial Oscar loser, I would comfort myself by reviewing the unremarkable group of winners of Oscar's recent past, like Best Actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998 and Best Picture Forest Gump in 1994. The Academy is not very discerning, often perferring the heart-rending to the subtle and themselves swayed by politics as much as by a good performance.
- Speaking of Martin Scorcese, don't Hollywood actors realize how disingenuous they sound when they lavish praise on a film impresario? By the end of the night, I'd lost count of how many times someone involved in The Departed said what they wouldn't do to work with Martin Scorcese. Scorcese's a fine director, but I think I heard someone offer to give away one of their lungs to work in a movie with him. Just once I'd like to hear someone say in public what I'm sure is said quietly at many an after party: "he hasn't made a good movie in years, and he's a jerk to work with."
- A green Academy Awards ceremony with fuel efficient limos is the height of absurdity. Can an event so prodigious and decadent really be conservationist in spirit? Okay, maybe the lights are dimmed a little and the stretch Hummers are gone, but really, the Oscars. When Hollywood actors start lobbying for mass transit in L.A. (and using it themselves!) I'll be a little more convinced.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Ellen Degeneres is dreadful and other Oscar observations
Some Oscar hosts get panned for not fitting in with the event. David Letterman, Chris Rock, and Jon Stewart come to mind. Last night's performance by Ellen Degeneres was so painful because she tried so hard to fit in, hamming it up with out and out bad jokes about the attendees and silly and desperate self-deprecation. In fact, she was at times just plain awkward. When she made a crack about the diversity of the award show's attendees, it felt as if Joe Biden were up on stage. The subsequent shot of a baffled-looking Steve Carrell said it all. A few other thoughts I had about last night's show: