Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Witches Talking Ship

by jaydro
jaydro says: I was going to call this Yet Another Oscar Recap, late (as will become usually apparent) as I am to the game after Favorite Oscar Moments and Crash and Burn here.

I pretty much agree with all of Chris's list of moments below. I thought Jon Stewart was as good as every host should be, and the show was one of the best overall I've seen in a while. It moved along pretty briskly, only going like a half-hour over, right? Imagine if it had gone more than an hour over, ugh. I even liked the set. The cool set designs at the Academy Awards leave me wondering whatever happened to all those people who used to do stuff like that week after week on all those variety shows that are no longer on TV? And to think that they even used to have song-and-dance numbers on the Oscars (other than for the nominated songs)....

Dave Poland asks how bad the telecast was, and while I disagree with much of what he said, I did notice three glaring miscues by the director, which is pretty bad, and then there was that weird cut to closeup that kept happening at the podium, which looked almost like some kind of digital instant zoom. The effect was the same as those weird jarring cuts to closeup in early sound films, where the camera goes from a medium shot to a medium closeup from seemingly exactly the same position. I don't know if anyone else noticed or was bothered by this like I was....

And yeah, those clip montages--they were the worst. The death roll call was okay, though not as good or moving as it has been in years past, but the others seemed pointless and poorly thrown together. I used to be a big fan of the inventiveness of the clip montages on the Oscars--they were just so slick and cool and demonstrated a thorough knowledge of film history and technique. My best guess at when their recent decline started was several years ago when they did a clip montage of bad sound effects editing, starting with the opening Sound of Music shot laid over with a strafing run machine gun fire effect (actually that sounds pretty funny to me as I write it, but it seemed pretty lame at the time). Are they being farmed out to students in someone's editing class? At least Jon Stewart made fun of them, too.

And the emphasis on moviegoing, with the Academy president imploring that no one ever says after "Cut!": "Won't that look good on the DVD?" Well, you can bet they also don't say "Won't that look good when it's shown out-of-focus and poorly-framed on a shoebox screen at the megaplex?" To then have a clip montage of epic moments in movies, while pointedly having no such film nominated for best picture, just showed that there's some kind of disconnect with the powers-that-be about what's wrong with declining movie attendance.

I know there are a lot of people out there sore about how Best Picture turned out, and I can understand and sympathize. But, geez, look at what the nominees were! It's really not too hard for me to imagine a slightly different universe in which the nominees had been King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jarhead, Munich, and, oh, maybe Syriana or even Brokeback Mountain, with Munich winning or Syriana or Brokeback being the possible big upset. This was a really weird year for Best Picture nominees, and I was happy with that.

In the years I've kept filled-out Oscar ballots pinned to the fridge, I scored a personal-best record number of correct picks: ten. The big shocker, aside from getting director and picture both right, was live-action short Six Shooter. I don't know how I guessed right on that one. I also have a record number of need-to-see-this notations on the ballot, which I am embarrassed to report.

Robert Altman disappointed everyone and remained appropriately humble, though his intro was perhaps one of the best I've seen for a lifetime achievement-type Oscar.

The Oscar-winning song: who at the Academy thought that changing the line from "bitches talking shit" to "witches talking ship" would actually work, when everyone I was watching it with swore they were hearing "wenches talking shit"? I guess it made a difference to those with closed captioning....

Edit: okay, mea culpa, but just to prove I wasn't the only one who totally misheard the lyrics....

7 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

I thought the line in the movie was "they'll be a whole lot of bitches jumping ship," changed to "witches" for the telecast.

3/07/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Well, there you go. I was always bad at hearing lyrics. ;-)

Gee, this is embarrassing--I feel like I need to at least change my post title. But, but.... Nah.

3/07/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I feel ya, Jay. That edit button sure is mighty tempting sometimes.

3/07/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Well, I found that I wasn't the only one who misheard it, and with that validation I added a mea culpa at the end of the post.

3/07/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Eh, it's no big deal. Only reason I knew is because I saw the movie, where the song really is vital to the plot. And it's much easier to understand since in the movie she sings it without any music or background noise.

3/07/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

Agree with Dave Poland's point about how, if you were going to insert so many clip montages, how come there wasn't one devoted to the 'Best Picture Nominees', instead of the very brief segments they received before the commercial break?

My favourite Stewart line was "And none of those issues were ever a problem again.", which totally undercut the back-slapping and pomposity inherent in that segment. A close second was his jokes at the expense of the clip montages.

3/08/2006 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I don't remember hearing anything about witches, there was a bleep near the beginning of the song though, was that it?

I never really pay much attention to the song performances though, so I might have fast forwarded past the witch part.

I think I would have seen Hustle and Flow if I had known that there were witches in it. There aren't enough rap witch movies.

3/08/2006 11:17:00 AM  

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