Monday, February 28, 2005

Academy Awards: The Aftermath

Eight for eight in the main categories, nineteen out of twenty-four overall. I can live with those numbers. I won my Oscar pool. Although considering that the prize is buying a round of drinks, I’m not sure how that’s winning. If I were smart, I’d have gambled on a late FINDING NEVERLAND groundswell.

The show moved fairly quickly. It always does around Chez K, where the first cocktail is poured as the pre-show ends and they keep coming until Barbara Walters is done yammering. Chris Rock, wisely realizing that hosting the Oscars is exactly like hosting SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in that the opening monologue is all anyone remembers, treated it like any other stand-up gig. He owned the room for five minutes and then stayed out of the show’s way. I have no doubt he’ll be back, although I prefer Steve Martin myself.

Gil Cates deserves credit for mixing up the show’s format. He made better use of the Kodak Theater than previous telecasts, and having the nominees line up on stage actually worked. They each got to appear on camera for a split second, which is better than nothing, and those tortuous walks to the stage were eliminated. The Donahue moments out in the audience flopped, but at least they tried something different.

The “young Oscars” still came off as stodgy when compared to the Independent Spirit Awards, dominated this year by SIDEWAYS and ably blogged by the Cinetrix. That show is still geared more toward the attendees than the television audience, and the laid-back vibe comes across on screen. It helps that the movies they’re honoring are better, too.

As for the winners, I knew there would be no surprises once I heard that Halle Berry showed up to accept her Worst Actress Razzie in person the night before. Hollywood can only take one real-life plot twist per weekend.

As one of the few film bloggers who thought MILLION DOLLAR BABY was the best of the five nominees, I’m not going to complain. It would have been nice to see Martin Scorsese take home an award, but at least he fared better last night than he did two years ago, when GANGS OF NEW YORK was up in ten categories and left with nothing. And Charlie Kaufman finally got his Oscar. All in all, not bad.

The high point of the show was Sidney Lumet’s gracious speech accepting the lifetime achievement award. As if he hadn’t done enough by making great movies, he thanked Francis Faragoh for writing LITTLE CAESAR. What a guy.

The ad for the new BAMBI DVD claims that the film has been “restored beyond its original brilliance.” That’s not restoring, kids, that’s improving. And thanks to the SPARTACUS spot, I’m never drinking Pepsi brand products again.

Miscellaneous: Link

At Slate, Seth Stevenson explores the popularity of the ad for I link to it as a public service for the many of you who, according to my referrer logs, come to this site looking for information on the alluring woman who appears in the commercial only to find a rather dull post I wrote about it that doesn’t even mention her.

As for those of you who came here because you searched for nude photos of OPEN WATER star Blanchard Ryan, I still can’t help you.