February 28, 2005

The morning after the Oscars.

Last night, I simulblogged the Oscars. The morning, what sticks in my mind?

First: how mad I am at Jamie Foxx for romanticizing child abuse! Why did people just sit back and laugh and accept his account of how much his grandmother beat him? Just because he presented it in a positive light? I'm grouping this with the stories surrounding Hunter S. Thompson's suicide. People in the public eye need to see beyond themselves and think about what they are legitimating when they choose to present a bad thing in their own lives in an uncritical positive light.

Second: how out of place Chris Rock was. I like him as a comedian: I've watched his HBO shows and I own a couple DVDs of his comedy routines. But his style is built on a harshness and his mode of delivery is yelling. That just didn't go with a roomful of elegantly dressed people -- even if they are too full of themselves and in need of some puncturing. Sean Penn's use of his time on stage -- presenting the Best Actress Award -- was awkwardly devoted to restoring the reputation of Jude Law, the one actor Rock decided to rip into most viciously. I'm sure Rock chose Law because Law is riding so high and is regarded as so handsome. But it was too mean.

Third: the fashion for inflated breasts has ended. All the coolest looking women had smallish breasts, including the two Oscar winning actresses, Hillary Swank and, especially, Cate Blanchett (who won for portraying that great small-breaster of the Golden Era, Katharine Hepburn). Last year's winner, Charlize Theron was also sporting the micro look last night. So was nominee Natalie Portman. They all looked great. (I enjoyed reading The Anchoress's review of the dresses, which includes: "I loved Swank's dress; it was dangerous and bold, and a hard - unforgiving - dress to wear - if her bustline was the merest big bigger, it would have been a disaster, but she pulled it off.")

UPDATE: Tom Bozzo notes that I didn't say anything about Clint Eastwood last night -- I was tired by the time he got up! -- and points out that I had a lot to say back when the nominations were announced. So let's look back at that post, which was a morning after correction of typos -- and a meditation inspired by one of the typos:
I meant to express irritation "for the Oscar-worthy projects that extract Oscar recognition from the Hollywood fossils," but I wrote "Oscar-worthy projects that extract Oscar recognition for the Hollywood fossils," which is an even worse sort of mistake because it makes sense and just means something I didn't intend to say. Looking at the statement this morning, however, I'm thinking I could intend that statement to some extent. There seems to be an attempt going on to extract Oscar recognition for the "Hollywood fossils" Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood, but I wouldn't have used that epithet against them intentionally.

I will say though that Clint Eastwood looks horrible on the cover of the new Entertainment Weekly. When I saw it, I exclaimed "he looks like a snake head" about five times. Would grizzled old Clint get a face lift? Instead of a face full of interesting lines and crags, his thinned out skin is stretched back, forming a taut, glossy surface that does not look human. And it sure doesn't help that his ears are so far back that they are scarcely visible in the full frontal view. Why? Why? Why would someone that old do something that can't make him look young, but only make him look very weird? Why would an actor who is only suited to play weathered old men ruin his face -- his instrument -- in search of an unattainable look that belongs to men who belong in roles he could never have anyway? And why did Clint Eastwood get a nomination instead of Paul Giamatti? Maybe the old fossils look at his new, old snake head and see themselves.
In retrospect, that seems too mean. Clint Eastwood deserves credit for playing characters who are his age, and, on stage accepting the Best Director Oscar, he called attention to his geezerhood, showing the wisdom and grace of age. (See last night's post for the "wisdom and grace" reference -- it's from Drew Barrymore). I liked how low key and modest Eastwood acted. He's a real sweetheart, not a snake head at all!

ANOTHER UPDATE: MSM didn't like Rock. Tom Shales in the Washington Post called him "strangely lame and mean-spirited. " USA Today is harsher: "Loud, snide and dismissive, he wasn't just a disappointment; he ranks up there with the worst hosts ever." What's more:
[W]hat many viewers are most likely to remember — particularly those who feel Hollywood is out of touch with many of its customers — is Rock's lengthy attack on George Bush.

It went over big with the crowd, and if you voted for John Kerry, you probably found it amusing. But that routine had nothing to do with the Oscars, either, and it very likely sent half the audience fleeing from what was otherwise a politics-free evening.

But apparently, the ratings were good, so I suppose we're in for more of this sort of thing in the future. And what is that? An abrasive, political comedian followed by a parade of anaesthetized Hollywood folk with nothing to say? Actually, I think the people who voted for Kerry should be worried. But they'll have to get past their in-group enjoyment of themselves and their own imagined superiority and get some concept of how the people who didn't vote for Kerry -- AKA the majority -- respond to this sort of display.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Nina disapproves of my statement that a majority of people didn't vote for Kerry. Admittedly, I should have said a majority of voters didn't vote for Kerry, and I ignored non-Americans (though they didn't vote for Kerry either). [ADDED: And anyway, it is true that most people, including most Americans didn't vote for Kerry.] But I think her post overall is an example of exactly the problem I'm trying to talk about: Kerry voters do not want to worry about the impression they are making. They adored "Fahrenheit 911" and they trashed Bush viciously, and then their man lost the election. And then their reaction was: how could that possibly have happened? I'd say that if you want to win, you have to be able to imagine how things you find delightful look to people who don't share your politics.

AND MORE: Several people have written to say they also think Eastwood has had his face surgically altered, and one sends this picture link.

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