March 5, 2006

Simulblogging the Oscars.

7 (Central Time). A slow-moving intro for Jon Stewart, showing Oscar hosts of the past declining to re-host. We see Billy Crystal and Chris Rock shacking up together in a tent, for the first gay joke of the night. The second one comes a minute later when we see Jon Stewart waking up in bed with George Clooney. It's funny, see? Because men having sex with each other is funny... or not... Stewart begins with a reference to "Death to Smoochy," which is what he always does on "The Daily Show" when he interviews a high-quality actor. "The Oscars is the one night of the year when you can see all your favorite stars without having to donate any money to the Democratic Party" -- that gets a very mild laugh and I think I see suppressed panic on Stewart's face.

7:10. Gay cowboy montage. Pretty funny. A lot like all those parodies of the "Brokeback Mountain" trailer, but they came up with some nice clips.

7:16. Best Supporting Actor... I've seen two of the performances: by William Hurt and Matt Dillon. They give it to George Clooney. "We are a little bit out of touch here in Hollywood. And it's probably a good thing." Blah, blah, we're great, ahead of the rest of this benighted country.

7:25. They waste our time with a clip of Tom Hanks demonstrating how award winners shouldn't waste our time. Ben Stiller comes out in a green suit -- and powerfully sucking in his abs -- to talk about special effects. "King Kong" wins. Jon Stewart thanks Stiller for wearing a unitard. Reese Witherspoon is next, and she's very well trussed into a sparkly beige dress. Hey, I'm just noticing how cool the stage set is. The award she's announcing is animation, and I love seeing the clips, especially for "Howl's Moving Castle." "Wallace and Grommit" wins. The guys that win are wearing giant bow ties. Next out is Naomi Watts, and she too is wearing beige. Her dress has a tattery "destroyed" look. She introduces Dolly Parton who is shockingly, scarily anorexic! She's wearing a white pantsuit, and her breasts are still huge, but beneath them, there is nearly the complete absence of a body.

7:42. Jon Stewart is mocking Scientology. Surely, there is at least one religion we feel utterly free to mock. Now, it's the Wilson brothers. They announce two awards no one cares about. Really, who even gets a chance to see the shorts? At least with the animated ones we get to get a look at some animation. They bring out some "Chicken Little" characters to take over. "Seriously, Mr. Eisner, what's up with ducks and no pants?" Good question!

7:48. Jennifer Aniston comes out in a beautiful black dress and mega-diamonds. She's doing best costumes. She belabors her lines, as if she's a schoolteacher pissed at us for not doing our homework. "Memoirs of a Geisha" wins. Russell Crowe robotically introduces a montage about biopics. "Pierre, we've discovered a new element." "If we win, well, then we'll have what none of us have ever had before: a country of our own." Yeah, there have been some pretty cool biopics over the year. But, generally, the genre is a big drag.

7:57. Will Ferrell and Steve Carell come out in terrible makeup to announce the makeup award. Carell is wearing false eyelashes. "Once more the Sith will rule the galaxy." Ridiculous! "Star Wars" doesn't win. "Narnia" wins, and it looked pretty cool in the clip. Stewart makes his best joke of the night, expressing surprise that "Cinderella Man" didn't win: "Imagine the difficulty in making Russell Crowe look like he got into a fight." He points to a giant Oscar prop and says "Do you think if we all got together and pulled this down, democracy would flourish in Hollywood?" A political joke. The quickie technical awards recap follows. TiVo time! Ah, don't go too fast, here's Best Supporting Actress, announced by Morgan Freeman, who's wearing an ascot instead of a tie. Rachel Weisz wins. She's wearing a black dress, which nicely supports big, swelling breasts, and she's got tastefully dangly diamond earrings. She says nothing notable.

8:11. Lauren Bacall walks out stiffly. She's wearing a black pantsuit, and she seems short of breath. She's blabbing about film noir. Montage. "I feel all dead inside. I'm backed up in a dark corner."

8:15. A nice "Daily Show" style piece with fake ads for actresses is followed by a flatfooted intro for the documentary awards. An unfortunate juxtaposition. Another Woman in Black: Charlize Theron. (All the women are in beige or black. Did some neutrality order go out?) What will win for feature documentary? Surely, it must be the penguins. Yes, it is. The accepters bring stuffed penguins up and one guy whistles "thank you in Penguin." Another guy makes some comment about tuxedos, "penguin suits." At least, they thought of ideas. Jennifer Lopez is pushing the beige envelope toward a kind of greeny brown. She's even more robotic that Russell Crowe, but she says something about making "human contact." It's an intro to another song. TiVo, save me!

8:32. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Again with the black dress. And the ponderous delivery. Did some memo go out? Be elegant. And this is how it came out. "Geisha" gets set decoration. Samuel Jackson tells us Hollywood is unafraid! Issue films change the world, don't you know? Montage time. "Call me Mr. Tibbs!" "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" A roomful of Hollywood prissily applauds itself. Stewart: "And none of those issues were ever a problem again."

8:44. Salma Hayek busts out the non-neutrality by wearing a brilliant blue dress. She introduces the conductor, and the coolest part of this is not that we get to see where they tucked away the orchestra, but that the conductor has two packets of M&Ms. I'm using red wine to get me through this ordeal, but the maestro is going with the M&Ms, which, presumably, work too. So what wins for o-REE-gi-nal score? "Brokeback Mountain." Yeah, I know this score... from all those trailer parodies. It's supposed to feel serious, but, too me, it feels comic.

8:56. Jake Gyllenhall woodenly reads lines about how important it is to see movies on the big screen. Translation: please help us with our box office problem. We see a montage about spectacle. Which, ironically, we're seeing on our small screens. They end with the shot from "Gone With the Wind" that comes right before the intermission, which reminds me of one of the main reasons to prefer the home screen. You can break up the physical ordeal of sitting through it however you choose. Stewart: "Wow, I can't wait 'til later when we see Oscar's salute to montages." Good one! "Holy crap! We're out of clips. We're literally out of film clips. If you have film clips, send them, please. We have another three hours." Next comes Jessica Alba to botch her lines along with some guy. The lines are about... damn, I don't know. I fast-forwarded. But "King Kong" got it. Oh, it's sound mixing. Dull!

Bring out Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep to give the special award to Robert Altman. Tomlin's face is much larger than Streep's. But Streep's earrings are way longer and her neckline is way plungier. They do a comic routine that's supposed to demonstrate the Altman style by having a lot of talking over each other. Then, the montage. Well, damn, they just wore us out with montages up to the point where Stewart made a too-many-montages joke. Way to treat an honoree. TiVo.

Intro to another song. TiVo. Queen Latifah announces the song award, and the pimp song wins. "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." The room is jubilant; America, perhaps not so. Stewart tries to come up with a joke. Sound editing is the next award. A big bore, but they do another "Daily Show" fake ads thing. Jennifer Garner! Beige... but she almost trips! "King Kong" wins.

Now, we need to endure Clooney again. "Academy Award winner, George Clooney." But it's the best part: "In Memoriam" -- the dead ones! Biggest applause: Shelley Winters, Anne Bancroft. Getting surprisingly little: Robert Wise, Richard Pryor.

9:37. Will Smith hands out Best Foreign Language Film. He does some impressive fast-talking in some foreign languages. The winner is "Tsotsi," the South African film. Next, Film Editing. The winner is "Crash," which is a good choice. A lot was done with editing in that movie. Next, Best Actor! Hillary Swank presents (in black). As expected, the winner is Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's overwhelmed. He's got lots of folks to thank. He loves them. He loves his mom. "She took me to my first play.... Her passions became my passions."

9:54. It's John Travolta, introducing the Cinematography nominees. I only saw one of these: "Batman Begins," which I seriously doubt can win. Again, "Geisha" wins. It's doing well with the lesser awards. Jamie Foxx gets to do Best Actress. Here's our best hope for an emotive acceptance speech. Wow, Charlize Theron has a black dress with a pouf the size of her head on her shoulder. As expected, the winner is Reese Witherspoon. I love her in "Election." She's really cool, a distinctive actress today. That means something. She seems like a good person. "I'm just trying to matter and live a good life."

10:07. Dustin Hoffman is doing the adapted screenplay award. Weird that this one is coming so late. Did writers get upgraded? Unsurprisingly, "Brokeback Mountain" wins. Uma Thurman -- in beige! -- announces original screenplay. "Crash" wins. Tom Hanks announces Director. Unsurprisingly, Ang Lee wins for "Brokeback Mountain" (and I wrote that before the award is announced). Jack and Ennis taught us about "not just the gay mans" but "the greatness of love itself." And, finally, it's good old Jack Nicholson to tells about the best "moption" picture of the year. And the shock of the night...

"Crash"!


Nicholson points his fingers up and mouths "Wow!"

Wow, indeed! After all that predictability! I actually saw that one. It was pretty good. What the hell did I say about it. Let's see:
I thought it was quite good, constructed like "Magnolia," with a lot of characters and a script that connects their stories up with coincidences and a common theme. The theme in this case is race. You can tell from the first scene that you are seeing a heightened reality. I haven't read much of the criticism of this film, but if people are complaining that there actually isn't this much racism in real life, they are missing the point. This is a surreal depiction in which racism is concentrated everywhere. Everyone manifests racism, but then also a vulnerable human side. The characters' stories were nicely, complexly interwoven. I liked it -- even when it skewed melodramatic. I liked that you were kept on your toes about which characters to love or hate, to respect or revile.
UPDATE: For my morning after observations, go here.

103 comments:

tiggeril said...

This crowd is chock-full of humorless bastards. Laugh at yourselves, dammit! People will think better of you for it!

Mac VerStandig said...

Stewart seems to be holding on okay, by my estimation.

onelmom said...

Suppressed panic... that's exactly what it was.

It's the very same look that will be on my face if I get called on Tuesday and have to discuss "The Uses of Jurisdictionl Redundancy: Interest, Ideology, and Innovation" which I am unwisely attempting to read whilst watching the Oscars and reading your simulcast.

LoafingOaf said...

I think Jon Stewart is bombing!! I started feeling embarassed for him during the opening. He looked nervous and was boring.

I'm ready to declare that Jon Sewart has now officially jumped the shark.

The Cheney/Bjowk joke was funny though.

vbspurs said...

I can't believe only 3 replies, including mine, thus far!!

Come on, folks. Get the commentary juice flowing here. :)

Ann is doing just fine, but in case of interest, I am updating my predictions with the winners in each category, as they come:

The 2006 Oscars

Tiggeril, the klieg lights are a little too bright, I noticed, as compared to other years.

I think the crowd looks as shell-shocked as I've ever seen them, and almost apprehensive.

Wonder why...

P.S.: Clooney's politically-infused last paragraph was, at least, classy. If they're all like that, well, at least it makes the bitter pill of political partisanship go down my gullet sweeter.

Cheers,
Victoria

Karl said...

Scientology joke, followed up by a poke at the Baldwins. Are Trey Parker and Matt Stone writing his jokes?

-kd

TWM said...

I'm not watching so you have to be more discriptive - LOL

LoafingOaf said...

Well, I did like those over-sized bow ties the two guys who won...whatever it was they won...had on!

And Keira Knightly looks nice. :)

The Krishnans said...

Does anyone else find the music during the acceptance speech really distracting. While i am all for a pithy speech, this seems to say get off the stage...do not bother with saying thanks.

vbspurs said...

Does anyone else find the music during the acceptance speech really distracting

Yes, but I think they are doing that from word go, so that the music doesn't seem EVEN MORE RUDE than what it already is -- when it abruptly cuts in during an acceptance speech.

Still sucks though.

Ooh Steve Carell, thank God.

Cheers,
Victoria

Steve Donohue said...

Seeing Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe as presenters or other such roles, and seeing Jack Nicholson in the audience, looking really old, just remind me of how truly uninteresting these oscars really are.

Just for grins, take a look at the list of Best Actor winners from 1990-2001:

Jeremy Irons
Anthony Hopkins
Al Pacino
Tom Hanks (twice)
Nick Cage
Geoffery Rush
Jack Nicholson
Roberto Begnini- mistake
Kevin Spacey
Russell Crowe
Denzel Washington

Since then?
Adrian Brody
Sean Penn- that's OK
Jamie Foxx

Whatever happened to the great actors?

Steve Donohue said...

Along that same line- I'd pay Morgan Freeman to read the phone book to me.

Wade_Garrett said...

I love Lauren Bacall, but I'm squirming through her little speech right now.

vbspurs said...

Wow, someone give Lauren Bacall a drink.

Or take it away from her...

Poor thing. It's been a while up since she's been up there.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

God, I am not a fan of Jon Stewart, but I am willing to give any dog his day.

But his monologues are really stinking up the joint.

These "negative campaign" ads are great though.

LOL! Pirate patch on Dame Smythe-Smith-Smythe.

Cheers,
Victoria

LoafingOaf said...

Hahahahaha Charlize's dress was bad! With that crap on her shoulder!

I liked the French dudes with the penguins. :) Penguins rock. The rest of this show is LAME.

I'm not sure why Jessica Alba is there, but I saw her during the red carpet show and she was looking hot.

vbspurs said...

Hahahahaha Charlize's dress was bad! With that crap on her shoulder!

Watchutalkinbout Willis!

I thought it was a wonderful effort to put some much needed old-fashioned Hollywood Glamour into the evening.

One of the Penguin winners had taken off his bow tie, and looked like a waiter coming off of his late night shift, for chrissakes.

And Morgan Freeman, who could also read the contents of a breakfast cereal package to me, looked like he was expecting his butler to give him a whiskey in his drawing room.

So far, Clooney and Theron have looked the best.

Jay-Lo looked nervous and like she was wearing a repeat from the 2002 Oscars.

Cheers,
Victoria

Wade_Garrett said...

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock should not be allowed within ten city blocks of the Academy Awards.

Mark said...

I'm not sure why Jessica Alba is there, but I saw her during the red carpet show and she was looking hot.

I think you just answered your own question.

LoafingOaf said...

Yeah, JLo seemed very nervous, and it caused her to come off like a robot.

Hmm, you liked that dress Charlize had on? I dunno...Keira has the nicest dress I think (and I like her eye shadow)...but you had to watch E beforehand to see it.

vbspurs said...

Keira has the nicest dress I think (and I like her eye shadow)...but you had to watch E beforehand to see it.

That's what my boyfriend said too. ;)

Yeah, I arrived home at almost 8, so didn't get to see the red carpet toing-froings.

And LOL @ the Reeves/Bullock remark.

Although Ron might not agree with the latter bit.

Cheers,
Victoria

MadisonMan said...

Ann, thanks for giving a view of what I'm missing while I'm home working. I have to ask: are you wearing the long-lost magenta sandals while you blog? (And when do we get to see them?)

Semanticleo said...

Ann;

I have blogged at numerous sites both left and right wing and have never seen
such a display of self-importance and disregard for the opinions of those who
differ from your own.

You embody every negative aspect of Academia available rolled into one
piece of work carved from the dead wood of meglomania. You apparently
fear thoughts which counter your own, and scrub them from your comments
and your grey cells, apparently. That sort of mentality belongs buried
with the radioactive material, and Soviet methodology, at Chernobyl

You are a despicable, and raunchy paragon of denial and have no place
in a public University where young minds need open and honest
reality, not your brand of closed-loop faux-feminism and egregious
self-aggrandizement.

Perhaps you've noticed your posts average about 12 comments per.
I shouldn't wonder if that doesn't concern you, as the pap you administer
relates mostly to popular entertainment and drivel that others say and
you, like your alter ego Instapusillanimous, merely reference, to avoid
the untidy results which sometimes accompany a principled position.

Go feed your ego and bank account. Enjoy them while you are able.

Semanticleo

LoafingOaf said...

I think you just answered your own question.

LOL!

You know what? Sin City was actually my second favorite movie last year (my fave was Downfall - the movie about Hitler). If it had been up to me, Sin City would be up for a few awards. But I know it's not an Oscar type movie.

tiggeril said...

It was the post about the Oscars that set you off?

vbspurs said...

Of course, there was no way that the Academy show producers had no way of knowing that Clooney was going to address the "Hollywood was always ahead of the curve in everything", but this last montage bit was as Ann said...

Hollywood pats itself on the back, because they're so much more enlightened than the rest of us.

Hear that Lebanon, Kansas?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

WTF, Sematicleo.

You don't like a person, what they stand for, or their purpose in life, stay away from his or her blog.

Or do you say that to MarKOS too?

Don't answer. I'm bored already.

Cheers,
Victoria

TWM said...

Whoa, semanticleo must have gotten a thesaurus for his birthday.

Palladian said...

Wow, semanticleo's panties are in such a knot that he forgot to write his post in that annoying faux-poem stanza style he usually does. Here's hoping he won't be back.

Please keep the comments coming, as I don't have a tv to watch the show! Everyone's running commentary is much better anyway. The only part of the Oscars I really like to watch is the dead people montage.

Wade_Garrett said...

I'd be a little hesitant to criticize Hollywood for talking about those political movies it has made in the past. They have done a lot to change the way that people in Lebanon, Kansas and Buffalo, New York and Youngstown, Ohio think. How many people in Lebanon, Kansas do you think knew the story of Oscar Schindler, before Schindler's List?

Perhaps that montage was a bit of over-the-top self-congratulation. However, isn't it easy in hindsight to criticize those movies? Some of the movies they showed, especially Million Dollar Baby, In the Heat of the Night, All the President's Men, and Look Who's Coming to Dinner were significant, and different members of my own family have told me how they changed how they saw the world. That's one of the things art is FOR.

In forty years, when gay people are treated like, you know, people, and have equal rights with the rest of us, people will look back at Brokeback Mountain and say, what was the big DEAL, isn't Hollywood so smug for congratulating itself for making a movie about gay people. Hindsight is always 20-20.

Having said all that, The Day After Tomorrow and Five Easy Pieces don't really rank up there with the other movies.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Victoria:
Were any of those dame-names in the ad bit of real dames?

LoafingOaf said...

The only part of the Oscars I really like to watch is the dead people montage.

I'm still mad at them for not including THEO VAN GOGH last time! No guts in Hollywood. Don't tell me otherwise. Not until they take on Islamo-fascists in their movies.

vbspurs said...

Victoria:
Were any of those dame-names in the ad bit of real dames?


None, TTBOMK, Ruth Anne!

Also, and this is amusing since I just corrected someone when he called her "Dame Dench", but since I didn't catch that dame's first name (heh), my "Dame Smythe-Smith-Smythe" reference was also technically wrong. ;)

P.S.: Same thoughts about the dead people montage here, can you believe it?! And yes, I too couldn't believe they left out Theo. But as I said in my post at the time, Hollywood Hypocrites, what do you expect?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Wow, jokes about Betamax...

Listen, I don't ask for much, just everything in life, but if we can all please just sign this petition I have right here, to make Billy Crystal the Oscars presenter for life, I would appreciate it, MUCHLY.

Whatever Crystal has, whether it's ease with himself, truly excellent comedic timing, or Mickey Mantle's mitt for good luck, WHATEVER it is, he's got it.

Oh look, Stewart just referenced 8-tracks!

Cheers,
Victoria

Dave said...

Two comments (apologies if these have already been mentioned):

1) Wallace & Grommit mention Robret Iger (current Disney CEO) not Michael Eisner (previous Disney CEO). Details here.

2) Re Scientology: it is not really a religion but rather a cult. Seems to me perfectly appropriate for Stewart to mock it.

vbspurs said...

Wow, Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep are great!

This goes to Steve Donohue's point, doesn't it?

About all the good actors of yesterday being more alive, better than the crew we have now.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ricardo said...

I'll sign your petition on Billy Crystal, Victoria. Unless we can get the Penguins to do the show.

Steve Donohue said...

Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep are great. I stopped what I was doing just to watch them give that presentation.

It just reminds me that there's no one nominated in this oscars that I put on a pedestal as an actor, with the possible exception of Dame Judy.

The actors just recently seemed to have dropped off; the actresses have been on a decline for a decade and a half.

LoafingOaf said...

2) Re Scientology: it is not really a religion but rather a cult. Seems to me perfectly appropriate for Stewart to mock it.

And the difference between a "religion" and a "cult" is...what? If more people believe in it, it's a "religion"?

Susan said...

LoafingOaf,
Exactly. These people are falling all over each other to tell us how brave, daring, and provocative they are to make the movies they do and they couldn't even bring themselves to mention the one really brave man actually murdered for making his movie.

On a lighter note, re: the stuffed penguins. I thought product tie-ins in movies were bad enough, but are we now getting product tie-ins during Oscar acceptance speeches?

LoafingOaf said...

hahahaha Here's what the director of the show just did during the rap song: "Okay, locate black people in the audience for reaction shots!"

Elizabeth said...

Loafing Oaf,

What other non-Hollywood figures did they honor?

vbspurs said...

Dead people montage!

*passes the Kleenex*

Cheers,
Victoria

tiggeril said...

Someone explain to me why James Doohan didn't make it into the Montage o'Dead People.

LoafingOaf said...

Most popular dead person: Judging by the applause, I think it was either Sandra Dee, Anne Bancroft, or Shelley Winters.

they didn't include Don Knotts. Maybe that's because he died in 2006? But then...Chris Penn died in 2006 and was included.....

Steve Donohue said...

What the hell are the Palestinian Territories? I'm looking on my globe and I can't seem to find them.

Dave said...

So a South African movie win s best foreign language film...and South Africa's official language is English.

Yeah, that follows.

Robert R. said...

Don Knotts probably would have been included except that he just died last week. They probably already had the montage in the can by then.

vbspurs said...

Is it me, or did Heath Ledger channel George W. Bush for his cowboy accent?

Cheers,
Victoria

Ron said...

Victoria, how sweet of you to remember my love for "Mrs. Monster Garage!"

You charm me almost as much as she does! ;-)

vbspurs said...

Victoria, how sweet of you to remember my love for "Mrs. Monster Garage!"

You charm me almost as much as she does! ;-)


Let the be a lesson to you:

Women never ever forget. ;)

P.S.: Wow, biggest non-surprise of the night for Mr. Hoffman. I love love loved him in Talented Mr. Ripley, thought he nailed it in Capote, but his choice of "tux" and speech content, leaves a little to be desired.

His NCAA reference was this year's I want to thank my lawyer.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

YOu think it's going to be Keira in a major upset??

Cheers,
Victoria

Ron said...

Let the be a lesson to you:

Women never ever forget. ;)


yes...I delight in this knowledge!

vbspurs said...

Reese! Great stuff.

Didn't know she was a Tennessean, which makes total sense now.

I have long thought that people from that state are amongst the most elegant Southerners out there.

Think Dixie Carter, and you got it.

Cheers,
Victoria

Dave said...

Reese Witherspoon makes me want to puke.

And what's with her eyebrows?

They're like another animal on her face.

And her chin is very weird.

LoafingOaf said...

Reese seemed like a very genuine, nice person in her speech. That is refreshing.

tiggeril said...

I have to give props to Jon Stewart. This is the first Oscars broadcast I've sat through in ten years.

vbspurs said...

Reese Witherspoon makes me want to puke.

And what's with her eyebrows?

They're like another animal on her face.

And her chin is very weird.


Wow, I have the exact 180 opposite opinion.

Like loafingoaf, I think she was very genuine, and touching, in a totally unspoilt by her own celebrity Hollywood way.

It was almost an acceptance speech which could easily have been heard at the Grand Ole Opry.

She does have a bit of a scrunched up face, but hey, many another would've botoxed already.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ruth Anne Adams said...

tiggeril: There's no power in the dilithium crystals! Nothin' left to memorialize Scotty!

vbspurs said...

The only Crystal we'll get these Oscars, is the crystal meth Dustin Hoffman is on.

Cheers,
Victoria

lindsey said...

Why is Uma Thurman shaking so much?

tiggeril said...

Again with the beige. I'd prefer that the women were in black. Beige makes them look like corpses.

vbspurs said...

Wow, Christian Slater looks real old and high.

Cheers,
Victoria

tiggeril said...

Oh, snap! An upset by Crash!

vbspurs said...

I knew it was going to be a split (even if I got the wrong one, I said it would be Capote), but wow, Crash!!!

If you wonder why, just remember that the Academy is made up of an overwhelming amount of older persons.

Best Picture is the imprimatur of Hollywood, and how it thinks of itself year by year, in a litany of film names we all of us know and love.

So, those folks went for Crash, which is just as controversial, but perhaps a controversialness which hits closer to homes for the greatest amount of us.

There isn't a person reading this, and indeed, writing this, that hasn't struggled with the topic of how they see racism in daily life.

Good one. Congrats to all!

And Good night to all, too.

Thanks for keeping me company during the Oscars, and my simulblogging, as well. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Mark said...

Susan said: These people are falling all over each other to tell us how brave, daring, and provocative they are to make the movies they do and they couldn't even bring themselves to mention the one really brave man actually murdered for making his movie.

Did you notice that they didn't leave out the producer of the "The Message"
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074896/

Robert R. said...

I'm really surprised that Crash won. It's the big surprise of a night that seemed by the book.

Jack Nicholson's reaction is a perfect example of why he's a star. He has presence and instinct.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I love Reese Witherspoon: She is hot and talented. And as a bonus, she makes Dave want to puke.

Brent said...

CRASH!!!!!!

The Academy got it right - the only message film that didn’t say everybody else is evil (corporate bosses, anti- gays, conservative senators) but -

our problems are in ourselves.

A movie for the ages!

Brokeback - beautiful, but ultimately not an important film.

Crash - will ultimately be one of the 50 Best Movies.

Gundovald said...

Jon Stewart had a great opening monologue. He had a poor audience. They do not like being made fun of.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Well, I thought Crashturbation would win, so I can't say I'm surprised. I do think that ultimately it will go down as one of the worst Best Picture winners in history. Magnolia can't even get nominated and this wannabe wins best pic...laughable. Magnolia was challenging in every way Crash desperately wanted to be but wasn't (like Hollywood in general).

I actually thought Stewart did a really good job, in particular as the show went on and he became more comfortable. I'm curious to see just how bad the ratings are, though. I was actually the publicist for the Oscars in '97, when The English Patient won. We had a similar problem to this year's shows in the lack of high-profile nominees (With the exception of Tom Cruise), and the ratings were godawful. I think this year's may be lower.

lindsey said...

Gundovald is right. They can't laugh at themselves. Maybe that's why Hollywood's not so good anymore.

Of course, I also found the Ben Stiller dressed in green unitard hilarious. It did go on a little too long, but Ben Stiller actually did something for once that made me laugh.

lindsey said...

Also, did anyone else find the Oscar dresses to be mediocre overall? I felt they were very boring and was actually wishing Cher would show up.

Charlize Theron, egads, what the hell were you thinking?!? And Uma should have worn something red. She would have looked divine.

Brent said...

Andy,

you must be one of those that doesn't recognise the people in "Crash" . . . which is ultimately each of us.

Are you rather one of those that applaued every other message film this year, where the bad guys are evil corporate bosses, evil wives that don't understand their secretly gay husbands, evil government types that want to save their country from Communism, evil anyone, except .. . . possibly . . . I don't know, ourselves.

Crash make you too uncomfortable to look in the mirror?

Hollywood congratulates itself on it's tolerance and self-righteousness. It has no time to look in the mirror - until tonight. Kudos to the Academy for recognizing one of the great pictures of any age.

Andy, let's talk in 10 years.



By the way, re: George Clooney's
remark about Hattie McDaniel:

That "Industry" that he's so proud to be a part of wrote Hattie's acceptance speech for her, including the line "I will continue to try to be a credit to my race." Wow, really OUT THERE! PROUD!

Hollywood types (publicists included) aren't any better or worse than the rest of us, red state or blue state - we are all flawed, we are all "sinners",
we all screw up other peoples lives.

Hollywood Freaks said...

I'm glad I didn't watch it tonight. That post was enough. Thanks!

josil said...

let's see: homosexual cowboys, rampant racism, mccarthism,unhappy terrorists, regretful revengers of terrorists...have i missed anything? ah, hollywood. no wonder the world thinks we're demented or worse.

Palladian said...

brent, are you a publicist for "Crash"? You sound like a film trailer cliche generator.

josil- yes, nothing more horrible than gay cowboys (for the last time, they weren't cowboys). We ought to be ashamed for presenting something so shameful to the "world"! No wonder they hate us!

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Brent,

Um, Crash make speak to you, but it didn't speak to me, it SHOUTED AT me. To me that's poor filmmaking, regardless of the subject matter. And just because you saw your guilty face in the mirror when you watched it, don't assume that everyone else did, particularly Angelenos.

And no, I wasn't particularly taken by the "messages" of the other films. I thought GNAGL was very handsomely made, but intellectually shallow; Capote was dull; BBM was good, once it got past its slow beginning; and Munich was a really taut thriller that was BARELY "inspired by a true story." I'm not sure which of those is the evil corporation film you're asking about, though.

And for the record, my favorite films of last year were:

The New World
Match Point
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Lord of War
Cache

Does that meet with your approval?

Johnny Nucleo said...

Andy: "Crashturbation". Good one.

Brent: I think some people find Crash annoying because it's message - that we're all a bit racist; that people are multifaceted and complex - isn't particularly brave or insightful. I mean, sitcoms in the 70s dealt with that theme all the time. Beyond the technical skill displayed and the (I hear) excellent writing, what exactly is the big deal?

Badger Tracker said...

Great that Crash won ... or rather, that Brokeback didn't. Gives me a little faith that maybe, just MAYBE, Hollywood is still actually about the MOVIES!

And to whomever had bad things to say about Reese Witherspoon: thank you. The less competition I have, the better :)

amba said...

Everyone's running commentary is much better anyway.

Well, here's another one if you like these things. I've now read Ann's and Mac's and you're all invited to mine.

sasha barron said...

Ms. Althouse, you could be so annoying.

Drew said...

Althousefan & Andy, would you rather the message had been "white people are racist". Crash exposes intolerance as universal to all of us. I don't recall any sit-coms approaching intolerance from that perspective.

Kudos to Crash!!! It was the obvious best choice.

Drew said...

Oh, and Reese Witherspoon was truly delightful.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Drew,

My low opinion of Crash is not because of its message. I think it's a bad film because it's preachy and pretentious. You just know that everyone involved thought they were making something REALLY IMPORTANT.

But, hey, I don't begrudge anyone thinking otherwise, and I know a lot of people who thought it was a great film. (And I think Fight Club is one of the ten best films of all time, so what do I know...) What I do begrudge, however, are people who looooove the film and think anyone who didn't has some "motive" for not liking it, beyond thinking that movies shouldn't be speeches.

Agree to disagre...

Brent said...

Andy,

Loved 40 Year Old Virgin, Match Point, Lord of War. Cache - okay. The New World - I could take it or leave it.

Now, as good filmmaking (deserving of awards - since you were kind enough to ask):
Match Point was beautifully made. The other 4, I felt, were good, but heavily flawed - I often discuss with friends at length . . . "if we had made the film, I would have . . . "

I admit to being way over the top in my opinions, and invite my friends to do the same - fascinating dinner parties!

By the way, I live in LA. Last Thursday's LA Times had a front page story about the disparity of reactions to Crash among Angelenos. Excellent article.

My main point about Crash - and I did find several people whose film opinions I deeply respect that feel similar to you - is that majority of people that I find that liked Brokeback and not Crash also, almost to a man or woman, liked GNAGL, the Constant Gardner, Syrianna. In other words, those 3 dozen+ people in that category I just listed said by their selection of films (and bolstered by further comments)that they could not be bothered with a film that says some of the crap in the world might be due to myself, but always some evil other than me (politically correct evil, by the way - that was my previous list). These were I'm certain, good people that I talked about this with; certainly the ones I know well are good people. they just are not terribly introspective about personal "sin" or fault. I believe that closes debate about the real messages of any of the movies - when we can pat ourselves on thre back about being so knowledgeable regaring the problems the world suffers, but not look for personal responsibility on any of it.

Obviously, Andy, you are not in that group above.

Crash - a movie that can make you a better person. We all fail, we ALL screw up other people's lives.

Brokeback - a movie that, whichever side of the "gay issue" you're on - makes you feel that you ALREADY ARE a better person.

The first type doesn't work for everybody, but I discount those that ONLY choose the second.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply

Johnny Nucleo said...

Drew,

"Crash exposes intolerance as universal to all of us."

This is only news to rich liberal boomers who have never ridden the bus. (Cathy Seipp said something similar, but I don't think I'm plagarizing her, and I do live in Los Angeles and ride the bus. Please don't tell anyone.)

"I don't recall any sit-coms approaching intolerance from that perspective."

You're probably right about that.

"Oh, and Reese Witherspoon was truly delightful."

Absolutely, my brother! Let's not let our differences obscure what matters. Through Reese, Peace!

Ann Althouse said...

sasha barron said..."Ms. Althouse, you could be so annoying."

I could? How? Please advise. I aim to please.

Palladian said...

"The first type doesn't work for everybody, but I discount those that ONLY choose the second. "

And also, "Crash" doesn't have those icky homosexually oriented men in it that make us normal boys feel all crawly and icky!

amba: thanks for the link! I'm on my way over there next!

Aspasia M. said...

I thought Crash was pretty mediocre, but wasn't much invested in any of the other movies winning the award.

The acting was excellent in Crash, but I thought the script contrived. None of the people seemed subtle enough to be real for me. And I hated the music. I'm pretty picky about good movies, though.

I agree about Charlize Theron's dress. What was the thing on her shoulder?

But I loved a bunch of the other dresses. Selma Hayek looked great and Jennifer Garner was charming.

Brent said...

By the way, this conservative thought Jon Stewart was EXCEllENT!

Drew said...

andy, Humh, I didn't feel that way about the movie at all. Interesting point though. Agree to disagree... Oh, Fight Club was excellent! It took me two years to get around to watching it. Boy was I surprised.

Althousefan, I must spend a lot of time around "rich liberal boomers who have never ridden the bus". Then again, this is Seattle. I too rode the city bus growing up in California. Oh, I lived in Compton for a while too. A lot of the people here never had that experience.

Drew said...

I fell asleep at Brokeback Mountain. I'm sorry, it was slow!

And dang, whose idea was it to have Jake Gyllenhaal grow that heinous mustache.

That being said, it was a good story and the message was noble.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Brent,

I actually really liked Syriana, despite thinking its politics and "message" were a cross between execrable and laughable. I liked it for the same reason I love JFK: it's so over the top that it's fun. (I know Stephen Gaghan would hate that that's why I liked it, but he should just be happy someone saw it.)

Also, as an aside, I'm a libertarian hawk, not a liberal. I just realized that by saying I worked (past tense) in Hollywood I inadvertantly and incorrectly may have outed myself as a flaming liberal, which may be why you assumed certain things about my film likes and dislikes.

I'm glad to see universal love for Reese. She's one of the few nice and genuine people I met while in the "biz."

And honestly, I think Clooney is getting a bad rap. Yeah, he's started to seriously inflate his own importance, but I don't know anyone who knows him (I don't, personally) who doesn't think he's a good guy, from big shot directors, to lowly crewpeople, to bartenders. That supersedes politics, in my book.

Brent said...

Palladian,

I'm not sure I get what you're driving at.

If it's the point that Hollywood is too uncomfortable with Gay movies to give brokeback the best Picture, as many blogs are saying, well, keep trying to make it, but NOBODY, and you know it, believes that about Hollywood for a second.

If it's directed at those of us that preferred Crash over Brokeback, then I'm another wrong target for you, bud. I thought Brokeback was beautiful, an excellent adaptation of the Proulx story.

But, perhaps I am the reverse of you. I believed in Crash passionately, and only sought to defend it passionately when the merits of Brokeback in discussions
always centered on the "enlightenment of the story and the people who:

MADE IT :how about the screenwriter's swipe during her acceptance speech at the "darkness" that Annie's story shone a light on; and Ang Lee's preaching to us about "gay mens".

SAW IT : how enlightened they were - I actually had people boast to me how proud they were to not be "homophobic" because they weren't afraid to see it.

PROMOTED IT: C'mon, this wasn't honored as the best made film by the critics - EVERY review and awrd promotion felt the need to lecture about the enlightened (read -"I'm a better person because I liked it") nature of the film.


I t could have been reviewed as a quality film,, on film-making standards - gifted filmmakers, good story, great script, beautiful cinematography. But the Elephant in the Room was NEVER the elephant in the room - it was ALWAYS the MAIN POINT.


And because everyone else, not me, made "the daring, the message, the enlightened bravery to make it" the issue well - if that's the STANDARd - a MESSAGE MOVIE -

then Crash wins by miles.

Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack Oscar Prepare To Be Blogged:

"...Ann Althouse is simulblogging..."

hygate said...

"Althousefan & Andy, would you rather the message had been "white people are racist". Crash exposes intolerance as universal to all of us. I don't recall any sit-coms approaching intolerance from that perspective."

You must not have watched much TV in the 70's. All In The Family and its spin off, The Jeffersons, both featured racist, but well meaning, protagonists.

Jon Swift said...

The most shocking award of the night was the Oscar awarded to the film marketed as a love story, which was really just propaganda celebrating alternative lifestyles, in the documentary category.

litgurl said...

I'm with tiggeril, why in the world was Doohan left out of the montage. I wonder if the family has to agree...

Drew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Drew said...

You must not have watched much TV in the 70's. All In The Family and its spin off, The Jeffersons, both featured racist, but well meaning, protagonists.

Absolutely! They were also either white or rich. Both of which meet the racists stereotype.

downtownlad said...

I think Crash won because it was based in L.A. Didn't see the movie, but everyone I know who saw it thought it was pretentious. I will rent it though.

One award I completely disagree with was Reese Witherspoon for Best Actress. Just saw the movie three days ago. She was atrocious. Joaquin Pheonix was vastly better than she was. That woman cannot act to save her life.

I think a lot of men were voting with their dicks, not their brains.

vbspurs said...

Tiggeril, I hope you saw my H/T to you on the blogpost linked to, above.

Soon, all people will be using that term! And hopefully, the Academy. ;)

Cheers,
Victoria