Monday, February 26, 2007

2007 Oscars Review

Is it over yet?

In the light of day while reviewing my notes regarding the all-night extravaganza that was the 79th edition of the Oscars, the most prestigious & pretentious of all the awards shows, it became clear to me what the highs, lows and "oh no's" were from the telecast.

Well, that and reading 4,576 stories on the web detailing every moment of the event, from red carpet arrivals to bar-frequenting celebs leading to post-show "buzz."

The Departed
definitely came away as the biggest success story of the evening, winning the coveted Best Director-Film-Screenplay trifecta as well as Best Achievement in Editing, but there were plenty of other big winners on the night, and I'm not just talking about Jennifer Hudson. Indie darling and Little Miss Sunshine tossed two trophies in the back of the yellow Microbus, along with Grandpa; Foreign Film loser Pan's Labyrinth still took home three statues for Art Direction, Cinematography and makeup; while Dreamgirls and Al Gore's global warming doc An Inconvenient Truth garnered two wins each.

Of course there was also a plethora of fashion statements made and, perhaps in honor of Best Director nominee and presenter Clint Eastwood, the styles ran the gamut from The Good to The Bad to The Ugly.

And what would the Academy Awards be without a few memorable moments, like a freshly bald Jack Nicholson (it was for an upcoming role as a cancer patient, not an homage to Britney Spears.)

Without further adieu here is my award-winning review. In keeping in line with the Oscars itself, I will try to wrap it up in under 4 hours.

-Biggest Surprises:
1.) Jennifer Hudson winning Best Supporting Actress
I didn't see Dreamgirls so I'm taking my wife's word for the fact that Hudson was great in the role of Effie in the musical drama based on the Broadway play, but I still can't understand how a song-and-dance performance from an Oscar newbie could win out over heart-tugging, meaty turns by Babel's Rinko Kickuchi and/or Adriana Barraza. The choice smacks of a cheap attempt to gain street cred with the American Karoake set.

2.) Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting Actor
Everyone went in thinking Golden Globe winner Eddie Murphy was a lock to win this category, but a funny thing happened on the way to the dais- the Academy decided that a man who still wants to release drivel such as Norbit, as well as get involved with transvestite hookers & crazy Spice Girls and gives terrible interviews, didn't deserve his first gold statue. Now, I don't like to pat myself on the back, but not only did I pick this upset, I won the argument with the wife when she said Arkin's performance wasn't big enough to earn the win. True, Grandpa wasn't around for much of Little Miss Sunshine I agreed, but his heart and spirit could be felt until the very end.

3.)Pan's Labyrinth's Best Foreign Film loss
The Mexican mythic masterpiece earned an impressive 6 nominations, most of them in the technical categories, and has been hailed as a visionary work of art from talented director Guillermo del Toro. But despite scads of critical accolades and pre-Oscar awards such as BAFTA's Best Foreign Film and Cannes' Best Picture, the film lost out to little known German drama The Lives of Others. That's almost as odd as some of Pan's characters.

4.) Ellen DeGeneres didn't completely suck
Don't get me wrong, I don't think she was very good. Her wardrobe was atrocious, her jokes benign and stale, and her casual delivery made the broadcast seem like the Daytime Emmys rather than the Super Bowl of black tie events. Although some of her material worked, like handing Martin Scorsese a script in his seat and having Stephen Spielberg take a picture of her with Clint Eastwood for her "MySpace page", many more jokes fell flat. Such as her vacuuming the carpet in the front row and tossing rolling papers to the band, as well as a ho-hum song & dance number and repeatedly using the quip, "I'd hate to follow that act," as she announced the presenters after an extravagant onstage display. In summary, she wasn't as bad as Letterman, but she certainly was no Billy Crystal or Chris Rock, either.

5.) The acceptance speeches were kept short and to the point
For the most part those who entered into ramble-on territory were promptly cut off by the growing crescendo of the dreaded Get Off the Stage Orchestra. The majority of the speeches were both straightforward, thanking the necessary people while never extending into Mary J. Blige overkill, and pre-written, helping to avoid a dreaded Forest Whitaker "what the hell do I say" Golden Globe moment. Whitaker himself delivered the acceptance of the night, giving a poignant and moving speech while appearing awestruck & humbled. And despite this valiant effort, the show still neared four hours in duration. Amazing.

-Notable Absences:
1.) Dame Judi Dench
Ellen joked that she was having corrective surgery to various body parts but it still seemed odd that one of the five Best Actress nominees couldn't attend the proceedings.
2.) Matt Damon
One of the main players from Best Picture winner The Departed was not there to share in the glory with fellow castmates Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and director Scorsese.
3.) Brangelina
Pitt played a pivotal role in Best Picture nominee Babel, but after Angelina's scary stare-down with red carpet oaf Ryan Seacrest at the Globes, I think they decided to sit this one out while choosing which country they will adopt their next child from.
4.) Jamie Foxx
The Dreamgirls costar and notorious party hound was nowhere to be found inside the Kodak Theater, but you can bet your last bottle of Cristal he was making the rounds at the after parties.
5.) Scarlett Johannson
She had no particular reason to be there, but I personally believe she should attend every awards show known to man, as well as sporting events, political conventions and, God willing, Dancing with the Stars.

-Best Dressed, Men

The classy Best Supporting Actor nominee brought new age to the classic black suit look.
There are many reasons why this guy goes through supermodels like Britney goes through rehab stints, and one of them is because he looks Old Hollywood cool in a dapper suit.
3.)Mark Wahlberg
Who said street punks from Dot can't clean up nicely? Way to represent Beantown, Marky Mark!
Nobody f**ks with 007 when it comes to wardrobes.
Made up for his dated, black monochromatic look at the Globes with this snazzy, original tux.

-Worst Dressed, Men:
Oh Q, what have thy done? As the wife aptly surmised, this jacket was designed to match the horrific plate-like backdrops hanging over the stage. Bonus points for being with daughter/The Office hottie Rashida, though she was heinously garbed as well.
The only thing that looked worse than his jacket was his superstretched face.
I'm not sure but I think this picture might have been Photoshopped from the Best Actor nominee's Senior Prom collection. Love the Sansabelt slacks; where's the cummerbund?
It's the Oscars, dude- wear a friggin' tie!
A loose tie and bed head just doesn't cut it on the carpet, no matter how many times you've been in jail/rehab.

-Worst Dressed, Women:
How can a 14-time nominee come to the gala looking like she's stuck in the '60s? Oh yeah, 'cause she's got 14 Oscar nominations.' The jewelry was simply HIDEOUS.
Is she auditioning for Cheetah Girls 3? C'mon, Kelly, I know it must be tough to be married to a man-smooching freak but you gotta use better judgement than this.
The Bond babe channeled Morticia Adams with this frightful frock.
4.)Faye Dunaway
At least Meryl tried to put some effort into her wacky look. This is just tired.
Lose the ginourmous bow and extra-long sash and this figure-hugging fiery number might not be so horrible.

-Best Dressed, Women:
Let me be blunt with you, Emily: "you're smokin' hot."
Borat's better half looks sexy and stylish in this daring green gown.
Is it just me or does Reese seem 1,000 times happier, thus prettier, now that she's not dragging dead weight ex-hubby Ryan Phillipe to these things anymore?
Although the wife strongly disagrees with me, I say lose the crazy shoulder strap and this is one of the hottest dresses of the night. (BTW, where the hell was Jay? Trouble in paradise?).
5.) Jessica Biel
The wife was not a fan of this lite bright getup last night and I wasn't either at first. Upon further review and intense scrutiny, I realized that she is Jessica Freaking Biel, and she can make a trash bag, even a day-glo one, look hot.

-Worst Moments:
1.) The intro
Five minutes of boring 'thank yous' replaced Billy Crystal's nominee-parodying montage, followed by Ellen's weak monologue. Awful.

2.)Tom Cruise awarding an honorary Oscar to former studio head/activist Sherry Lansing
After his glowing introduction, I kept waiting for him to jump on the podium and announce that Sherry doesn't believe in psychiatry, post-partum depression or medication, either.

3.)Ellen vacuuming
No one needed to see that, especially after the 3 hour mark of a dragging broadcast.

4.)Jaden Smith trying to read
Poor kid. With all the money Will & Jada have, you would think they would've gotten the kid remedial reading lessons by now.

5.) Chris Connolly's behind the scenes bits
Awkward, uninteresting, and just plain out of place. The Academy needs to stop trying to be like the MTV Movie Awards and just be themselves-formulaic and unoriginal.

-Best Moments
1.) Coppola, Spielberg & Lucas awarding the Best Director Oscar to Martin Scorsese
I just couldn't help but think "there are 4 of the greatest directors of my generation, all together at once." Very. Cool. Moment.

2.) Jack Black, Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly's song about the plight of comedians at the Oscars

This hysterical number brought the house down and was easily the best, most entertaining and original bit of the entire evening. "Helen Mirren and the Oscar will be coming home with me..."

3.)Jennifer Hudson & Beyonce's Dueling Divas Performance

The two of them have enough power in their pipes to light up an entire city. As each tried to outdo the other onstage during the Best Song presentation, they electrified the entire theater.

4.) Jerry Seinfeld's Best Documentary presentation

The reclusive comedian immediately settled in to his familiar schtick, but the "why moviegoers have the right to leave their trash at their seats" bit was funnier than anything Ellen did the entire evening, leading many to say it was an audition for hosting duties next year. If so, he passed.

5.) The ending
Although the awkward, solo acceptance speech by Departed producer Graham King was quite anticlimatic, at least it did signify the end of a long night.

Maybe they'll get it right next year.

But I doubt it.

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