Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar blogging

A few thoughts from the red carpet to start things off....

Best softball
“The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special” ­– It’s hard to beat Barbara Walters when it comes to lobbing it over the plate, but trust Oprah to innovate. She had celebrities… interviewing each other! Genius. Oprah should get some kind of special achievement in laziness award for getting an hour of network primetime without having to ask a single question.

Best pre-game
We watched Ryan Seacrest on E!, but that’s probably because we’ve been so fixated on “Idol” lately, we’ve forgotten what television is like without Seacrest. Truth be told, Joan and Melissa Rivers? Still pretty annoying, especially on the TV Guide Channel, where they’re sharing the screen with listings for all the more interesting programs airing right now.

Worst accessory
Toby Maguire’s goatee. Peach fuzz should wait until Spring.

And on to the ceremony!

That intro kept making me think of those Mac commercials: "I'm a Mac." "And I'm a PC." Stop talking Oscars and start talking peripherals!

Whoa. That is one extremely velourish suit Ellen's wearing. I used to have a couch covered in that. It's nice she's so upfront about wanting to host. Her voice sounds kinda small, maybe there's a sound problem.

There's Oscar hosts who play to the room and there's Oscar hosts who play to the viewers at home. Jon Stewart got dinged for not doing the former, Johnny Carson was an expert at mixing the two. Ellen seems to be completely ignoring the idea that there's a worldwide audience for this thing. She also seems to winging it -- or at least doing a bang-up job of pretending to wing it. Either way, it's not all that entertaining.

Warren - "I agree with you about Ellen's opening. She's great at being relaxed and working the audience, but she doesn't exude to the viewing public that this is a classy show the way Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal did .Oh, well."

I totally knew she was going to dance. When Ellen said she wouldn't it only made it a sure thing she would .

Art direction
Pan's Labyrinth. All four of our expert pickers picked that one, so no surprise.

Best 'fro
Will Ferrell was rocking the 'do. Although you gotta wonder about the wisdom of doing a bit called "A Comedian at the Oscars" in a year when "Little Miss Sunshine" was nominated for Best Picture. I'm pretty sure that film's plot came directly from "National Lampoon's Vacation."

Achivement in Makeup
Pan's Labyrinth. See "art direction."

Best couple
Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith. Repeat after me, "awwwwwwwwwwwww." Jada Pinkett Smith tearing up made me tear up.

Animated Short
This wasn't one of our categories, so technically I don't care, but that clip for "Lifted" looked really cool (although it didn't win).

Live Action Short
Don't. Care. I wonder how the director feels getting his Oscar from a 6-year-old, though. Maybe not, "awwwwwwwwwwwww." I have in fact heard of the winning film, though. I hope to actually see it someday.

I notice they have Clint Eastwood sitting next to Steven Spielberg. If a lighting grid were to fall on that row, Michael Bay would have a shot at Best Director.

What's up with the sound effects choir? That's really, really weird. I mean, I guess it's impressive, maybe, but I'm pretty glad nobody asked me to pay to see it.

Sound Editing
Letters from Iwo Jima. If you're keeping score at home, that one puts Kimball and Kathryn up 1 over Warren and Robert. "Flags of Our Fathers" -- tosh!

Sound Mixing
I still don't know what the hey the difference between this and editing is. Why aren't these in with the technical awards?
"Dreamgirls" scores its first of the night. Our score is now: Warren 2, Kathryn 4, Kimball, 3, Robert 3.

Supporting Actor
They used to throw one of the acting awards at the top of the show, to kick things off with a bang. That was a good idea. Waiting an hour, not so good.
Alan Arkin.
Whoa. Seriously whoa. Everyone -- ever-ee-one -- had Murphy pegged for this. The Academy must be too snooty to give something to Murphy. Scores stay the same - all of our pickers went for Murphy.

Warren - "Can't believe Arkin got it. His character is the reason I can't let my kids watch that movie. "

BTW, Arkin's definitely in the running for "Worst Speech." I don't blame him for reading. I blame him for being fingernails-on-a-chalkboard boring.

The Best Song performances always lend some much-needed pizzazz to the ceremony. However, despite the fact that I am second to none in my contempt for the Grammys, the songs themselves are invariably like "Our Town" from "Cars" -- instantly forgettable schlock. If the songs were any good, they wouldn't be on a soundtrack. Dammit.

Huh. Back-to-back best song nominees. Go figure. The eco-tips behind Melissa Etheridge are freakin' hilarious. Yeah, let's use light rail here in the Springs.

Leonard DiCaprio and Al Gore. Which one of these men drives a Prius? Trick question, it's Leo.

Is it me, or is Gore's hair less wispy-thin than usual? Gotta love that special effects magic.

Props to Gore for the announcement joke (Leo asked him if he had anything to announce tonight and Gore started off “With a billion people watching, it’s as good a time as any. So my fellow Americans, I’m going to take this opportunity, here and now, to formally announce...," then got played off by the orchestra). Funniest gag of the night, if you ask me.

Best Animated Film
Happy Feet. That brings our score to: Warren 3, Kathryn 4, Kimball, 4, Robert 3. Getting tight!

Adapted Screenplay
The Departed
Warren gets back in the game: Warren 4, Kathryn 4, Kimball 4, Robert 3.

Best Costume
Having real examples of the costumes on display is a cool idea. Love the corgi.
Marie Antoinette. Is this an upset? I'm not really sure. Warren and Kimball take the lead: Warren 5, Kathryn 4, Kimball 5, Robert 3.
"I want to thank everyone who had anything to do with this movie." Can't get more to the point than that.

What'sherface with the honorary thing might get "worst speech," too. Teachers are the real heroes? I guess it's a blessing that she got out of the acting side of the biz.

Warren - "I loved the Ellen bit when she had Spielberg shoot her picture with Clint Eastwood for her MySpace... then criticized the picture and made him shoot it again... I got a nice laugh. You?"

Best Cinematography
Pan's Labyrinth. Duh. Our score: Warren 6, Kathryn 4, Kimball 6, Robert 3.

Warren - "Highlight of the show: Gwyneth Paltrow's stunning pistachio dress... or was it lime?"
Definitely some sort of foodstuff.

The commercials during the Oscars are really interesting. They're just like the Super Bowl commercials except without the, you know, interesting parts. Why go to the trouble? And where the hay is Robert Goulet? I want my Robert Goulet!

Best Visual Effects
This is my favorite, because it's the "Token Oscar for a Movie People Actually Saw." Of course having said that, I'm the only one I know who saw "Superman Returns."
"Pirates of the Caribbean." $1 billion in box office can't be wrong.
Score: Warren's love of the low-brow pays off: Warren 7, Kathryn 4, Kimball 6, Robert 3.

Best Foreign Language Film
Ken Watanabe is so cool. I want to be Ken Watanabe when I grow up. Or at least change my last name to Watanabe. Even the name is cool.

Warren - "What a beautiful tribute to foreign films by Giuseppe Tornatore. I might have thought it self-endulgent to include so much of his own film "Cinema Paradiso," but considering it's my favorite movie ever, I'll let it slide."

BTW, Warren - Cate Blanchett's dress is way better than Paltrow's.

"The Lives of Others" wins. That's got to be a monster upset. Somewhere in L.A., Robert V is dancing a little hula, or whatever they do in Germany. (I should explain that Robert put in a big plug for "Lives of Others," even though he thought "Pan's" would win. We had to cut that for space - maybe we should give him a bonus point?). Scores remain the same.

Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson. Finally, a non-surprise in one of the big categories. After "Lives of Others" and Arkin won, Jennifer had to be sweating this a little bit.
Scores - Warren 7, Kathryn 5, Kimball 7, Robert 4.

Best Documentary Short Subject
Hmm.

Jerry Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure he got that tux at the rental shop in the mall. Presenting documentary. That's called casting against type.
Why isn't he hosting this thing? He'd be perfect. I'm actually an Ellen DeGeneres fan (and I don't usually like Seinfeld), but I'm just not impressed tonight.
"These five incredibly depressing movies..." He's killing it.

Best Documentary
"An Inconvenient Truth" wins. The voiceover blamed Hurricane Katrina on global warming. Weird - I don't think Al Gore would go that far. Cause and effect is tricky.
Scores remain the same, 'cause all the pros know how much the Hollywood establishment loves Al Gore. (Hint: A whole, whole lot).

Clint Eastwood talkin' up "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is making me geek out. That's pretty much my favorite movie of all time. Greatest score ever. I'll have it stuck in my head for a month now. (The rest of Eastwood's speech totally blew, sadly).

You know, Ellen was talking about how international these Oscars are, but nobody thought to have subtitles set up? I'm guessing having Eastwood translate was planned, but it's kind of a waste of time. I did not know Eastwood's Italian was so good, though. I want to go to the Olive Garden with that dude.

Original Score
Babel. And speaking of scores... Scores - Warren 7, Kathryn 5, Kimball 8, Robert 4.

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, Ellen changed outfits. This one's nice and shiny - completely unlike my couch.

Original Screenplay
Didn't we already do this one? Little Miss Sunshine. The writer was Matthew Broderick's assistant - is that what he was referring to when he thanked the producers for "saving my life"?
Scores - Kimball is really pulling ahead now: Warren 7, Kathryn 5, Kimball 9, Robert 4.

Warren: "I think Kimball has it sewed up. I think we all have the same picks for best actor, actress and director ... so even if I get best pix, he's got me, I think. ... next year, I go back to facing off against the monkey."

Is Jennifer Lopez an "excellent reason for high definition television"? I happen to be watching in HD and... eh. She's got a lot of makeup on. I might look halfway decent with that much makeup. Plus, she sounded bored. On the other hand, Jennifer Hudson's dress was, um, distracting in HD. I'll leave it at that.

Best song
Inconvenient Truth. A lot of people thought the three "Dreamgirls" nominations would cancel each other out, and I guess that's what happened.

Warren: "None of us saw Melissa Etheridge coming. You just don't think 'Inconvenient Truth' - great music.... but her song was terrific."

It was not.

Best Editing
The Departed. Interesting. None of our panel picked that one. Is it a sign of things to come for "The Departed"? Could be.

In Memoriam
I always find it interesting to who gets the most applause. Robert Altman was really the only one who got the crowd up. And I thought it was funny that the only one who got to speak was "Scotty" - James Doolittle. Although they really, really should have let him say "I canna doo it, Cap'n. I'm givin' 'er all I got."

Best Actress
Helen Mirren. Well, yeah.
This will probably win best acceptance speech:
"This is the best gold star I've ever gotten in my whole life."
"For 50 years, Elizabeth Windsor has kept her feet firmly planted on the ground. She's maintained her dignity... and her hairstyle."
Scores don't change.

Ellen vacuuming is a pretty good bit.

Best actor
Forest Whitaker. Well, yeah.

Best director
Martin Scorsese. Well, yeah.
Pretty good speech - "Everywhere I go, people are saying, 'He should win one.' I go to my doctor's office, 'he should win one.'

Best film
The Departed

Warren: "Congrats to Scorcese and to Kimball's for topping me this year. Way to go."

So, since all of our panelists picked correctly for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor -- and because all four blew it for Best Picture, Best Song and Best Editing -- our final score is Warren 10, Kathryn 8, Kimball 12, Robert 7. (I'll go through that again tomorrow and double-check my math).

9 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

I agree with you about Ellen's opening. She's great at being relaxed and working the audience, but she doesn't exude to the viewing public that this is a classy show the way Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal did .

Oh, well. Can't believe Arkin got it. His character is the reason I can't let my kids watch that movie.

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

I see a come-from behind victory. ...

Damn, this was a lot easier when I was going up against the monkey.

 
At 7:15 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

I loved the Ellen bit when she had Spielberg shoot her picture with Clint Eastwood for her MySpace... then criticized the picture and made him shoot it again... I got a nice laugh. You?

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Highlight of the show: Gwyneth Paltrow's stunning pistachio dress... or was it lime.

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

What a beautiful tribute to foreign films by Giuseppe Tornatore. I might have thought it self-indulgent to include so much of his own film "Cinema Paradiso," but considering it's my favorite movie ever, I'll let it slide.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Rhonda said...

So, Warren, you're saying that Oscars should be given only to people who play characters you'll let your children see?
Alan Arkin is a god.
And I vote for Forest Whitaker's acceptance speech. Classy, moving, articulate.
Ellen rules.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Yes, all Oscar-winning characters should be family friendly!

Forest was certainly heart-felt in his speech.

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Monika said...

On the Softball Oprah Special. I too felt it was weak. Are actors really going to ask serious questions? No. George and Julia looked like a scene of outakes from a blooper reel. Nicole's "I'm so shy" demeaner was uncomfortable to watch. And Sidney and Jaimie came off like a worship session. I think the show was a plug for Oprah's book club selection and a push to take Barbara's place when the 77year old finally retires.

 

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