Roger Ebert said it was "elegant and somehow gentle." David Poland called it "the worst produced Oscar show in memory." I guess I'm somewhere between the two extremes, but leaning more toward Ebert's side. I don't know if it was a particularly memorable show, but is it ever? If so, it's usually for something horribly bad. (Actually, the pre-show was pretty awful. The Hot Button explains how that "Happy Feet" intro fell apart in the making, and thus was essentially demoted in the broadcast.)
At least there was plenty of live blog worthy material, which Susannah demonstrated at Pub of Knowledge. And she graciously mentioned that I was almost dead-on with my prediction of the show's running time, which I wasn't going to point out. (Okay, I totally was.)
What I most enjoyed was that Ellen DeGeneres stuck with the style that's always worked for her: somewhat awkward humor that doesn't generate big laughs, but sustains long giggles. I really liked the "normal person hosting the Oscars" tone she took on. Not too deferential, no arrogance at all. The bit with Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg was hilarious.
I also really liked the effort to tout the lesser known nominees. I know everyone tunes in to see the stars, but they get enough screen time. Let the other people deserve some spotlight, too. Errol Morris' film at the beginning of the ceremony was a nice touch.
One day late (which is becoming typical for me in 2007) are the awards I would've passed out (and the list of actual winners):
Please Tell Me He'll Never Work an Oscars Broadcast Again:
Andre Leon Talley. You, sir, may know fashion, but you do not know live television. How about learning how to hold a microphone while you're interviewing someone?
Shouldn't They Be Somehow Offended by That?
Guillermo Del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu being referred to as "The Three Amigos." Ha ha ha! Because they're Mexican! C'mon, we can't be more original than that?
Consider Yourself Permanently Invited Even If You're Not Nominated Because You Always Look Amazing:
Cate Blanchett. Has she ever not looked stunning at the Oscars? It's like she was sent from another planet to save us.
Nicole Kidman and her face. Did she permanently disable her face from expression so when Keith Urban asks what she thinks of his latest country dreck, she can't frown? She was already so beautiful. What the hell is she doing?
He Should Be the Oscars Host Next Year:
Will Smith's kid, Jaden (and his half-dozen middle names). "Our next presenters are two more people taller than me. When the hell is this thing ending? Can we go home, Dad?" But don't pair him with another kid again. That's just condescending.
Look, I Get Enough Presidential Campaigning From the News, Okay?
Al Gore. I thought the bit with him being played off stage by the orchestra was kind of funny. And Tipper probably got jealous over how Leonardo DiCaprio was looking at her husband so adoringly. Maybe it's not his fault, but enough already. Give his platform the attention it deserves, but the dude's not running for President.
Suavest Mofo on the Planet:
Ken Watanabe. Not only does he just look regal and dapper, but did you see how he waited and then held his arm out to escort Catherine Deneuve to the podium for their presentation? Smooth as pudding, baby. What a gentleman. I totally want to be that guy. At least when I have to dress up.
Yes, Okay - I Promise I Will Finally See It:
Pan's Labyrinth. Did it only win three awards? It felt like a dozen. I stomped up and down for weeks that we weren't getting to see this movie here in the Midwest. And now that it's been here for a few weeks, I still haven't seen it. I hoped I'd be able to shoehorn a screening in on Sunday afternoon, but that fell through. I'm taking care of that this week, man.
Eat a Sandwich Because I'm Starting to Worry About You:
Reese Witherspoon. Don't lose much more weight, kiddo. You don't need to. And when your cheeks disappear, it makes your face kind of look like the female Joker.
Still Not Sure If I Hated It or Thought It Was Cool:
Pilobolus, and their weird, contortionist shadow puppetry. I'd love to have them at a party, constantly making new shapes behind the largest wall in the room, but it just seemed to disrupt what (little) rhythm the show had. Forming a gun for The Departed was pretty cool, though.
Just Have Them Walk Down a Runway:
Bringing the Best Costume Design nominees to life by outfitting dancers and actors on stage probably seemed like a good idea, but it looked something from an amusement park ride. I hope Eddie Murphy got to beat up that dope who was imitating his character from Dreamgirls backstage after the show.
I was looking forward to giving this award to Salma Hayek for the third consecutive year, but she apparently didn't attend the ceremony. It looked like all Latino actresses were invited. How could J-Lo be there and not Salma Hayek? Sadly, everyone seemed to cover the goods up this year, which means there will be no winner. (But you came close, Rachel Weisz. And maybe Jennifer Hudson too, but in more of an accidental manner.)
And, for the third year in a row, because my Mom wants to know, here's how I did on my Oscar picks. This really wasn't a year to be daring, was it?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
My pick: Alan Arkin
Actual winner: Alan Arkin
You know me; I don't like to brag. But I'm pretty proud of calling this one. (Suz got it, too!) I was happy to see Arkin win. Meanwhile, I'm sure Eddie Murphy missed some post-Oscar party (all the) time because he was on the phone with Dreamworks, bitching at 'em for releasing Norbit while people were deciding their Oscar votes.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
My pick: Abigail Breslin
Actual winner: Jennifer Hudson
Okay, that was probably a dumb pick. Dreamgirls had to get an award for something, right? Hudson's just a great out-of-nowhere story, and she was so surprisingly impressive in her role. And it was nice to see someone with that "Oh my God, please let me win this" look on her face before the winner was announced.
My pick: Helen Mirren
Actual winner: Helen Mirren
The lock of the night. Even Will Ferrell and Jack Black (with John C. Reilly) knew that. Seeing how gorgeous she looked only reaffirmed how amazing her performance as Queen Elizabeth really was.
My pick: Forest Whitaker
Actual winner: Forest Whitaker
This was pretty much a lock, too. It was great to see Whitaker get a spotlight type of role like this, after what's been a relatively quirky career. Let's just hope he doesn't start doing a bunch of $#!+ty action movies like Nicolas Cage now.
My pick: Martin Scorsese
Actual winner: Martin Scorsese
Another lock, right? Where was the suspense? As happy as I was for Scorsese, I also felt a little sad because it shouldn't have taken this long for him to win an Oscar. But I love how his face was all eyebrows, glasses and smile. And note to future winners: If Martin Scorsese can keep his acceptance speech short, you have no excuse to ramble on.
My pick: Letters From Iwo Jima
Actual winner: The Departed
This was definitely my dumbest prediction. I just thought the Academy would somehow manage to screw Scorsese over again while giving Eastwood more love (for what was an outstanding movie). But this was absolutely Scorsese's year. Wouldn't it have been an all-time letdown had The Departed not won after he received his long overdue coronation? As subdued as the overall show was, I think a riot or explosion might have resulted. At the very least, Jack Nicholson's head would've immediately sprouted hair.
Ladies and gentleman, that's our post-Oscar post! Thank you and good night!