Monday, February 25, 2008

The Oscars Post-Mortem: More Awards and a Lil' Bit o' Braggin'

The 2008 Oscars were a rather predictable affair, with only a couple of unexpected winners. Despite the lack of surprises, however, there will still quite a few notable moments - as there almost always are. Both The Film Geek and Susannah captured many of them in their respective live blogs. (And kudos for those efforts. The closest I could come to live-blogging myself was updating my Twitter page. Watching the show alone, my mind just wandered a bit too much in the slow moments.)

I know bringing a host back year after year is a sure way to get tired of someone, but I'd love to see Jon Stewart emcee this thing again next year. Someone who could poke some fun at the tensions caused by the writers' strike (i.e., his joke about writers being invited to the Vanity Fair party), yet also found himself directly affected by the work stoppage was the right guy for the job.

Being hilarious - such as when he joked that the only time we see a female or black president is when a meteorite is about to hit the Statue of Liberty - doesn't hurt, either. (Stewart and his 'Daily Show' crew were responsible for the "Binoculars and Periscopes montage," I take it. That was a gem.) Having little preparation time suited Stewart's wit and improvisation just fine. He didn't hit a false note all night, and often seemed genuinely happy for many of the winners.

Here are the awards I would've passed out last night (and the list of actual winners):

Why Didn't They Think of This Before?
Regis on the red carpet! No one's getting in another word when Regis is holding the microphone. For example, when George Clooney made the mistake of asking him if Notre Dame won their basketball game earlier in the day. "Notre Dame finally WINNING AGAIN! Isn't that good, George?" Whatever you say, Reeg.

Okay, Maybe That's Why They Didn't
Inside the Kodak Theater just before the festivities began, Regis called Javier Bardem "Xavier Bardem." Where's that cattle stun gun when you need it? It's your business to get those names right, Friendo. Especially when the dude brought his mother along as a date.

I'm Not Sure I've Ever Seen a Tuxedo Tighter Than a Dress
The aforementioned Mr. Bardem, whose suit almost seemed to be wrapped around his body. Maybe I'm just jealous, since there's no way I'll ever be that thin.

That Nipple Joke Never Gets Old
Clooney will never live down having to wear the Batman suit with the nipples, will he? And Tilda Swinton just had to go there during her acceptance speech. Of course, Clooney can take it, which is why so many people seem to enjoy giving him a rabbit punch.

Where's a Rolled-Up Newspaper When You Need It?
I thought we were done having to endure Jerry Seinfeld and Bee Movie. Yet there he/it was, presenting an award. That must play great in the Kodak Theater. I thought that movie's original network tie-in was with NBC. Is the DVD coming out this week or something?

Hung Out to Dry
Poor Amy Adams, having to sing all alone on stage, with no dancers, cartoons, or anything else that could've accentuated her performance. She gave it the best she could, but had to be jealous when she saw the production Kristin Chenoweth got for her musical number.

Letdown of the Night
Roderick Jaynes not winning for Best Film Editing, which would've put Joel and Ethan Coen in the interesting position of having to accept the award for their fictional alias. It's just as well, I suppose, since the Coen brothers got plenty of stage time during the night (though Ethan gets brownie points for his short and direct acceptances). Still, maybe the Coens planned on sending an old man up there, like when Marlon Brando sent "Sasheen Littlefeather" in his place.

Speeches Can Be Good!
To me, Steven Soderbergh had the best acceptance speech in 2001, in which he thanked everyone who spends part of their day creating art. Glen Hansard imploring people to "Make art!" at the end of his speech last night was inspiring, as well.

First Class All the Way
Jon Stewart's finest moment (and it seemed to be his decision) was bringing Marketa Irglova back on stage after the orchestra rudely played her off before the commercial break. And Irglova made it truly memorable with a great speech saluting struggling musicians and artists who keep pursuing their dreams.

(You can see both speeches here.)

I hate to make fun of her, because she had a very touching acceptance speech, but Diablo Cody's dress looked like wardrobe from the Flintstones. It was an especially baffling choice after the va-va-voom she showed off the night before at the Independent Spirit Awards.

(And while I'm talking about va-va-voom, it's very disappointing that there were no obvious winners of the Best Cleavage award, which is one I spend a lot of time and effort researching. Where's Salma Hayek when you need her?)

So how'd I do on my Oscar picks? Really well, thanks for asking. Yet so many of the winners were locks that I didn't exactly have to be bold with my predictions. And I whiffed on both of the screenplay awards. Of course, I did nail the two actress awards, so maybe I'll strut a little bit.

My pick: Tilda Swinton
Actual winner: Tilda Swinton

Susannah picked Tilda Swinton to win, too, so I can't get too high and mighty about that. But I think the popular opinion was with Cate Blanchett, and if you'd asked me back in December, I would've said she was guaranteed an Oscar. But there was just something about Swinton's performance. That, and the apparent sentiment that Michael Clayton was too good a movie not to win something - which shouldn't ever be a factor, but you know it is.

My pick: Marion Cotillard
Actual winner: Marion Cotillard

Cotillard completely transformed herself to play Edith Piaf. It's as simple as that. Sure, she had a lot of help from make-up (which was also an Oscar-winning effort), but Cotillard seemed to shrink her body as La Vie En Rose went on. That was only more apparent when you saw the hot French babe that took the stage to accept her award.

Before I go, I'd just like to thank my TV for working last night, and both my laptop and new home wireless network for cooperating this afternoon and allowing me to type out this post. This is for everyone out there who spent part of last night or today writing about the Oscars. Write blogs! Write blogs!