Monday, February 28, 2005

Falling Snow and Little Gold Men

A storm has hit the East Coast, and happily it's cold enough that the stuff falling here is white and/or icy. Snow day! Unexpected, and quite probably the last one of the year. What a gift. I've got lots to do.

So last night was the march of the golden statues. And let me say that the 77th Annual Academy Awards were just plain terrible. They were so predictable, and yet since so few of the movies being celebrated had actually looked interesting enough to see, there was just an empty who cares feeling about the whole thing. Not to mention that Chris Rock was so annoying in his first introductory bit - a constant crescendo in bad taste and volume - that I had to put him on mute. My theory is that someone behind stage told him to quit screaming into the microphone after that, because his next bit was in a normal voice, which to Chris Rock must seem the quietest whisper.

The best acceptance speech of the night belonged to Jorge Drexler, who just sang his song from Motorcycle Diaries simply and beautifully and walked off. The garish performance by Santana and Antonio Banderas had also prompted muting action with my remote. It was so far from the tone and feel of the film. The magic of the story is the emergent change prompted by seeing real life in South America as a whole and being introduced to revolutionary ideas gradually throughout the process, not some sudden and loud epiphany brought on by a rock concert. Hooray for Drexler for standing up to the Academy when it wouldn't let him perform his own beautiful song.

And speaking of singing, when did Beyonce suddenly become the only woman in the world who can sing? Her voice is pretty, but how annoying was it that she sang every song?

Hooray that Morgan Freeman finally got an Oscar! Hooray that The Aviator, Hollywood's narcissistic love letter to itself, didn't get best picture! Scorsese may be a good director, but he needs to direct something we want to see. Although I do admit that I probably will see it at some point for the purpose of catching Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Katherine Hepburn.

Elizabeth and I were on Instant Messenger through the whole event. We both agree that we would like to wake up as Cate Blanchett. Or even Gwyneth Paltrow. But mostly Cate Blanchett. Watching the proceedings with Elizabeth was so fun! Three years ago I threw a fantastic Oscars Party in Texas and having Elizabeth a computer screen away was the most fun I've had watching the ceremonies since my party. If the Academy actually has movies nominated next year that I care about, I really should just take a day or two off and go to Texas to throw another party. Wouldn't that be fun.

At the 2002 party, I made foods to celebrate the best picture nominees. That year, there was some fun competition. Although the Fellowship of the Ring was, in hindsight, my lasting favorite, I was pulling for Moulin Rouge. A Beautiful Mind won it. Gosford Park and In the Bedroom were also nominated. I served chicken wings for In the Bedroom because it seemed kinda white trashy. The Fellowship got a braided stuffed bread ring, Beautiful Mind got caramel apple cider (apple for the teacher), but Moulin Rouge was the coup de grace: a red velvet cake smothered in chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate dipped strawberries. I honestly don't remember what I did for Gosford Park. Cheese? There was always cheese. There was also a veggie tray in honor of Sting, who performed that night.

So here's the gaping difference between the ceremonies then and now. Then: I had seen and liked four of the five nominations! Now: I hadn't bothered seeing any of the nominations! I wouldn't mind seeing Finding Neverland, Ray or Million Dollar Baby, but that still didn't get me out to see them in anticipation of the big night. The academy needs to put itself in order. Where was I ♥ Huckabees in this whole mess? The show was brilliant! And why don't they make an Oscar for best ensemble cast? And why didn't someone just shoot Chris Rock when he started trashing Jude Law? Just Saturday Amilynne and I were commenting on some of the brilliant fine points of his performance in I ♥ Huckabees (although we both love Marky Mark Wahlberg even more). Thank you Sean Penn for setting the record straight.

Here is what the Academy is going to have to do if they want me to continue watching:
  1. Fire Chris Rock. Who should take his place? Let's think. Who did a wonderful job of it for years and years? Johnny Carson. So why aren't we looking for someone like that who entertains us nightly and hosts these stars all the time anyway? Letterman? Conan? Even Carson Daly? (n.b., Leno did not make this short list). They won't do it? Then how about someone who is funny: Tina Fey! Even Ray Romano would have been an improvement over Chris Rock.
  2. Nominate some good and daring movies like I ♥ Huckabees and Motorcycle Diaries. Part of this includes just giving Martin Scorsese the lifetime achievement award so we can quit feeling like we have to nominate him every time he makes a movie for the sole purpose of earning said nomination. Really. Do you know anyone who saw Gangs of New York?
  3. Increase the practice of nominating outstanding foreign language talents for the acting awards. I was so shocked and pleased to see Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace) nominated. This must continue.
  4. Stop inviting Puffy to the party. Ugg. His blatant self-promotion is so ugly. (His wife's dress was beautiful, though!)

And there you have it, and there I'll stop, even though I could probably continue. The 77th Annual Academy Awards will hopefully fade from memory quickly, leaving behind just enough of a trace that we remember not to repeat it.

No comments: