More snarky observations from the weekend, as the Hollywood Elite shook the Santa Monica sand out of their shoes (well, those with any Indie cred, anyway!) and headed to Red Carpet Land for the Big Show…
The 81st Annual Academy Awards
I'd like to fawn a friend...
- Sorry, Eric Roberts. For one night, at least, Hugh Jackman Is The Man.
- Nice to have five former Oscar winners help present each acting award. But was that an introduction or a coronation? Did it really take fifteen minutes to fawn over Best Supporting Actress nominees? It looked like they were inducting a new member into The Skull And Bones Society.
- Millions of dollars to reconfigure the theatre, douse it in brilliant lights and wire it to the heavens with cameras, screens and special effects. And the first time they try to use it, some stagehand forgets to open the curtain. (It’s a union job, smart money says he was probably in an oil drum in the Pacific by midnight)
- Why did people think that Hugh Jackman – a singing, dancing Broadway veteran – couldn’t sing and dance? Great ten cent sets for the Best Picture tributes, but none funnier than the tribute to The Reader.
- Anne Hathaway Is The Man.
- Ben Stiller was only the second best faux Joaquin of the weekend, but still funny.
- More actor fawning from prior Oscar winners. It’s a good thing that after the huge salary, the legions of fans, the constant media attention and the stroll down the Red Carpet through a crowd of sycophants, these poor people were able to get great seats and have their egos stroked by having lavish compliments spread over them with a trowel.
- Is there a stupider question in the universe than “Who are you wearing?”
- Judd Apatow Is The Man. (Or maybe Seth Rogen? No, no…James Franco!)
- Having the two-time Oscar winning cinematographer tell his collegue to “suck it”.
- Christopher Walken disappointingly did not do his Christopher Walken impression.
- No Jack Nicholson. What, was there a Laker game?
- Queen Latifah has a great voice, and “I’ll Be Seeing You” is a classic song. But when paying tribute to deceased Academy members, silence is golden.
- Slumdog Avalanche.
- Robert DeNiro on Penn: “How did Sean Penn get all those jobs playing straight guys” and he “gently reasons with the paparazzi”. Funnier than most of Bob’s last dozen comedies.
- Good night for Oscar Dads. Heath Ledger’s father gave a heartfelt and passionate speech, and Kate Winslet’s Dad’s whistle was the highlight of her speech.
- Has Jerry Lewis ever been that humble? Or succinct?
- Speaking of Kate, I do admire her always solid work, but if I don’t see her at a podium again for a while that will be just fine. (At least she toned down the breathless “I am so shocked” routine). I suppose I have to blame Ricky Gervais for this. Will she be “playing a mental” next time out?
- “I am Woool-verrrr-iiiiiiine!”
- Tina Fey and Steve Martin: Master class on comic timing.
- Philip Petit. I bet that humility and a cool magic trick will be remembered more fondly than leaping over the backs of chairs.
- Bill Maher (following an emotional moment in the show): “Great. Everyone’s crying and now I have to go on!”
- Sean Penn’s speech.
- A. R. Rahman running offstage after each win, much to the surprise of the presenters and usherette.
- In a world where we have so many movie trailers, how did the tribute omit Don LaFontaine?
- The Jimmy Kimmel promo was brilliant. It’s possible to like Tom Cruise when he’s not being Scientologish.
- “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto“
Full list of winners here.
Hopefully you didn’t put your money where my mouth was this weekend, because I lost three of the four NFL playoff games and only the late Heath Ledger’s posthumous win for Best Supporting Actor prevented me from having a clean sweep in the major film categories at the Golden Globes. That would be a sweep in reverse…
My one ace in the hole was The Joker
What I did know…
- Either Slumdog Millionaire or Benjamin Button would grab three majors: Best Drama, Best Screenplay and Best Director.
- An actress would win two major awards
- 30 Rock and John Adams would sweep their nominations
- Pre-written “presenter speeches” would still suck the life out of the room
What I didn’t expect…
- Those Foreign Press people really love their Irishmen (Byrne, Farrell upset victors)
- They were as apathetic about Mamma Mia as I was
- Neither Bardem nor Cruz won for Vicki Cristina Barcelona despite being early favorites
- In a category where long time press darlings Brad Pitt and Sean Penn were available, the HFPA showed Mickey Rourke the love.
My favorite moments of the evening:
- Springsteen winning the Globe for “The Wrestler” and cracking on Clint Eastwood. I was glad he won because I hoped it would draw more attention to the film; little did I know what lied ahead.
- Colin Farrell’s heartfelt speech about how art is really love in action
- Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan rocking the mike with material they scribbled on napkins at the awards table
- Ricky Gervais. The line about “no gag reel” in Schindler’s List was killer, but the one he wasn’t allowed to say (the ad for the DVD said to “have a box of tissues ready”, and I thought “well that’s sick…”) was even better. Plus the crack to Winslet about how he advised her to “do a Holocaust movie if you want to win an award”, referring to her hilarious guest performance on his show Extras. Gervais is flat out brilliant in both the US and UK interpretation of the word.
- The genuine warmth and excitement for Mickey Rourke, and his humble but funny acceptance speech. This was the win I wanted more than any other, but even I didn’t think he’s have enough votes. I guess I’ll have to update the comeback story.
- Dennis Leary telling a post-show interviewer that he’s audtioning to play one of Mickey Rourke’s dogs in an upcoming movie because he can’t seem to win as an actor playing people.
Even though he didn’t win, I can’t say enough about Sean Penn’s powerhouse performance in Milk, a film almost totally overlooked in last night’s nominations. The entire cast is phenomenal; the out reel shows each actor’s photo in character followed by photos of the real people they were playing, and even the physical resemblances are astonishing. I was deeply moved by the film, recalling the horror and astonishment I felt at the time of the actual events, and Gus van Sant deserves major praise for the way he structured the story using flashbacks, actual footage and voice-over; three techniques that can usually sink a film. Also kudos to Josh Brolin, whose Dan White slowly disintegrates before your eyes. Nice roll he’s on with Milk, No Country For Old Men and W…plus he gets to go home to Diane Lane? That’s a long way from being in The Goonies, my friends.
The Golden Globes are odd…everyone makes a big deal about them even though it’s a tiny organization of voters generating all the heat, Oscar-buzz and advertising dollars. There are under 100 members, many aren’t even full time writers, and they once gave an award to Pia Zadora the week after her rich husband coincidentally had a segment of the voting board come over for a week long party. They’re suck-ups, cat-fighters, gossip-mongers and probably would trade their credentials for dinner and a ride home from their favorite star. Not that I wouldn’t accept the invite if asked.
So again, I’m not listing my favorites but trying to guess who the HFPA selected and why (the full list of nominees including my predictions are in yesterday’s post). Most of my selections weren’t even nominated, but I’ll save that “overlooked” column until after the Oscars.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
First category should tip you off that paparazzi…err, I mean foreign jornalists tend to fawn over their favorite stars regardless of the projects. I doubt you’ll see Milk excluded from the Oscars in place of two Kate Winslet features. But I think Slumdog will lose by a Button.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Normally I would think The Woodman would sway the crowd, but this year I will go out on a limb and predict the HFPA goes Abba crazy.
continue to see how wrong I was here
Well, I was 0-2 for football today, even watching my beloved Titans give their game away (with a little help from a 32 second long 30 second clock, but I digress…). So far that’s a pitiful 2-4 for the NFL postseason. Guess my “pick ’em” informercial is going to die like an orchid in a glove compartment. Not that that ever happened to me.
So I guess I’ll try my hand at the Golden Globes. well, I’m really picking what I think that small group of easily wavered, gossip rag reading, red carpet ass kissers will do. Hell, half the categories don’t even have my picks among the nominations. But I’ll deal with that tomorrow. So on with the beret or fez or whatever these sycophants wear, and here goes…
Globe nominees and my picks here