Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscar Talk

by Jackrabbit Slim
Well, another Oscar season over. I did so-so, getting 11 of the 21 categories I predicted. I was bummed Peter O'Toole didn't win, the look on his face after he lost was like, "I can't believe I came all this way and sat through this show again, and for nothing," but I was glad for Scorsese, even if that was catching up for all the times he was screwed in the past.

I liked the show. Every year I watch with friends and we enjoy it and then the next day I read blistering reviews. Ellen was okay, particularly the interaction with Scorsese and Eastwood. I liked the Will Ferrell/Jack Black number, and the Pilobius (sp?) stuff was amusing. I'm not sure what critics are looking for in this show.

Some upsets always help. Even though I picked him Alan Arkin had to count as one, and certainly The Lives of Others was another, especially since Pan's Labyritnth won three other awards. But Foreign Film is voted on by only those who have seen all five films, so it's a smaller sample. Also, it was certainly a big night for Al Gore. It was also probably the only time a female Oscar winner has thanked her wife (Melissa Etheridge).

What did you all think?

31 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

11 out of 21 here as well. Whoo-hoo. Oscar predicting, like throwing darts.

Since I don't have a tv, I had to download the show. And since downloading takes time, and I had to go to class (show ends at like five in the morning here), I had to walk around with my mp3 player on loud, avert my eyes from all newspapers (even if most of them don't run it since it's past deadline), and not look at any news on the net, effectively shielding myself from all things media for a day, which turned out to be surprisingly hard.

Watched most of the highlights from the show this morning, and I thought DeGeneres was subpar. Crystal is still what I consider a highlight as far as hosts go.

Scorsese winning was the highlight of the show, though. Finally. Loved the part of his speech where he said everyone'd from people on the street to his dentist would tell him he should win one. Cool speech as a whole. Not meandering as it could have been. Why he wasn't onstage when the film won best picture is beyond me. Shy? He was like watching from the sidelines.

Great that Arkin won, even if I thought Steve Carrell was better in the film. That musical number with Black and Ferrell was pretty accurate. It's not good to be a comedian if you want an Oscar. John C. Reilly was a serious actor before he started doing comedy.

And Happy Feet was a pretty shitty film. One of those bad things to come out of global warming.

2/27/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Hollywood harpie Nikke Finke speculates that Jerry Seifeld's bit was a de facto audition, and that he might host next year. ABC would certainly love to have him, but not sure about the Academy, since he spent a couple minutes bashing the theater industry. He was right about being ripped off with the food, but as an ex-usher, I implore you--don't drop your shit on the floor.

2/27/2007 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

He was right about being ripped off with the food, but as an ex-usher, I implore you--don't drop your shit on the floor.

I don't, but I do hate those ads. The 'turn off your mobile phones' is good, but other ones, including 'you wouldn't STEAL a car' are just wasting my life.

Interesting about Seinfeld. He'd be a good host. At least better than DeGeneres.

2/27/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I remember when ads in movie theaters started, and they were booed by audiences. Now we accept them, sheep that we are. No wonder theaters are hurting for business.

2/27/2007 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

I got a personal record 13 right in my picks that night (and I would have gotten 14 right if I had not gotten sound editing and sound mixing mixed up in the heat of the moment--I submitted my published picks here as evidence but the judges, er, judge was not swayed). I got pretty lucky with Supporting Actor, Foreign Language Film, Best Song, and one of the shorts. But I was also unlucky with Best Picture/Director, argh. I just didn't believe that The Departed could pull it off, and I thought that would drag Scorsese along with it.

I've only been keeping track of my picks history the last few years, where you can get absolutely killed if you're not willing to bet the bank on a big sweep. This year was different, as was last year.

I enjoyed the show--there have been years I haven't enjoyed it so much, since I was never a Billy Crystal fan and that Rob Lowe opening number of way back when comes to mind. I thought Ellen was good, and the loosey-gooseyness of the show with the cameras going backstage and Ellen mixing with the audience seemed to be trying to outdo the Independent Spirit Awards while also retaining all of the Oscars' pomp and glamour.

I didn't like the Will Ferrell/Jack Black number, and I hated the Sound Effects Choir. I thought there was perhaps one clips montage too many. The presentation of the screenwriting nominees was great. I liked Pilobolus (and I've seen them in person before, where they didn't do anything with a backlit screen), and watched their "Happy Feet" bit a few times in slow motion to try to figure it out.

I also wondered if Jack Nicholson and Will Smith were showing sympathy with Britney with their shaved heads, and I wasn't the only one wondering that about Nicholson, though it turns out that he's playing a cancer patient in a film. Will Smith is free to sport the shaved look without such speculation.

And I again found myself asking how Borat qualified for adapted screenplay, but I guess "characters created by" is a good enough object for "based on."

I had always heard they had ads in European cinemas way before they started them in the US, in, what, the '80's? I don't mind them if there aren't too many and if they're of a high quality and something I won't see on TV--I hated the ones that were blow-ups of video to 35mm film, and then they just brought in crude video projectors, but they've gotten better recently, I think. My closest multiplex had adopted the truly annoying habit of inserting one ad in between the last trailer (the one that usually comes attached to the film) and the beginning of the film. That really got my gander, since I know of at least two films that have had their openings changed for release because they knew the mood set by the attached trailer (The Natural wanted to subdue the gaiety of the preceding trailer for some Muppet movie and Star Trek VII dropped its skydiving opening due to the Drop Zone trailer). Fortunately this practice stopped when the Eastern Federal chain was bought by Regal Cinemas.

2/27/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

A bit late to weigh in on this, but I thought it was a pretty good Oscars all around. With the possible exception of Happy Feet (which I haven't seen), there wasn't a single award that I thought was completely unworthy. Overall I thought that Scorsese and Departed were very safe calls, but I don't have any problems with either of those awards.

I thought DeGeneres was OK, too. She's a very safe choice as well, but she's not bad. You know what you're getting with her - a few amusing bits but nothing that's going to be edgy or even laugh-out-loud funny.

Low point of the show for me was Seinfeld's bit, which was painfully lame. I think his act has dated very badly; I don't even find his show watchable anymore. He'd make a terrible host.

3/05/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Yeah, I've thought the Seinfeld show has been so '90's that it's painful to watch for about five years now. Funny how quickly it got dated. Thank God the DVD sets didn't come out earlier or I would probably be looking at them sitting on my shelf now.

3/06/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I still watch his show almost every night for at least a few minutes, I don't find it dated. He did get hammered from two sides for his Oscar bit--from theater owners, basically reminding him that without money from food concessions, theaters would be out of business, and from the director of Iraq in Fragments, for suggesting that all documentaries were "depressing." Sometimes it pays to stay home in bed.

3/06/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

I didn't watch the show all that much during the 90s, did not have cable, so whenever I see it on tv it still strikes me as among the best comedy shows of all time. Only thing I find dated is Kramer, but I never really understood the appeal of him anyway.

DeGeneres was way lamer. Playing it safe as hell, with nary a mention of the war. And you think watching Seinfeld feels nineties? Try watching Ellen.

3/06/2007 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

DeGeneres was way lamer. Playing it safe as hell, with nary a mention of the war. And you think watching Seinfeld feels nineties? Try watching Ellen.

Well, I'm not inclined to defend Ellen more than I already have, but this strikes me as odd. Would you seriously expect hard-hitting Iraq jokes from Jerry Seinfeld? A man whose edgiest material is about how long the wait is at restaurants? A man whose one and only bit thoughout his career has been pointing out the pointless minutae of middle-class life?

3/06/2007 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Would you seriously expect hard-hitting Iraq jokes from Jerry Seinfeld?

From my limited knowledge of the man, I'd say, perhaps not hard-hitting but at least an acknowledgement. Somewhere in the opening monologue, most likely.

And what exactly is DeGeneres famous for, anyway (except being lesbian)? Looking at her Wikipedia profile it says her sitcom Ellen was "popular in its first few seasons due in part to DeGeneres's style of quirky observational humor; it was often referred to as a 'female Seinfeld.'"

At least Seinfeld's bit got people engaged and talking, which to me is always a good thing.

Sidenote: DeGeneres profile page has a curious listing of her previous work experiences "...a house painter, a hostess, a bartender, a part-time dancer and a pussy sucker." Fascinating. Is that a job?

3/06/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

If pussy sucker is a job, where do I apply?

I think the notable omission from the Oscars was any mention of the David Geffen/Obama/Hillary Clinton story. Clearly there are those who don't want to ruffle Geffen's feathers. And I read that the Academy leaned on the producer of the show not to include political humor.

3/06/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

From my limited knowledge of the man, I'd say, perhaps not hard-hitting but at least an acknowledgement.

Well, two things:

1) I doubt it.
2) Even if the host would make "an acknowledgement", what difference would that make? Everybody knows it's going on. If Seinfeld (or whoever) doesn't have anything to say about it, what's the point?

Fascinating. Is that a job?

What's so bloody fascinating about that? So some dumb jackass altered a Wikipedia entry to reflect his/her discomfort with homosexuality. Big fucking deal.

3/06/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

And didn't host Sarah Silverman make some what-I-thought-was-joking remark at the beginning of the Independent Spirit Awards that presenters and winners shouldn't talk about politics because it's boring, and then her admonition was actually obeyed for the most part?

And the Wikipedia profile on Ellen was having that relevant section changed (two revisions beyond what Nick was seeing!) while I was looking at it. Looks like there's a little war going on. I got all pissed off at wikipedia once because some busy-body took a word out of an entry I had made for "grammar" when it actually changed the meaning of the sentence.

3/06/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Well, two things:

So, wait, you're all right with her doing all the bla-ha "jews, blacks and gays" Hollywood-partisan political mentions/jokes, that's good, but a mention (even a small one?) of the most major event in US history, alongside 9-11, of the last 30 years, which is ongoing, that's pointless and useless?

Everyone knows all kinds of bloody shit happens every day, but a small mention to show that one is not at the moment blocking this out of one's mind goes a long way in at least making (some in) the audience remember that there are more important things than the Oscars going on, and the people there not look like total bubble-dwelling dipshits. It's an acknowledgement of that, as much as anything else.

If having an openly homosexual as a host is as political as they get I feel it's a teeny-weeny bit hypocritical.

What's so bloody fascinating about that? So some dumb jackass altered a Wikipedia entry to reflect his/her discomfort with homosexuality. Big fucking deal.

Thereof the SIDENOTE. Also, I was being sarcastic. I found it amusing, because it confounded me when I read it. So I shared! As we all do here at this sacred place. Deep breaths, buddy.

And, hey, I was uncertain. Could have been some profession within cat health services or something I was unaware of.

3/06/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

So, wait, you're all right with her doing all the bla-ha "jews, blacks and gays" Hollywood-partisan political mentions/jokes, that's good

You're getting ahead of yourself here. I said she was OK, not great or even particularly good. Just OK. I gave her credit for some amusing bits. I do not wish that to be a blanket endorsement of everything she said.

but a mention (even a small one?) of the most major event in US history, alongside 9-11, of the last 30 years, which is ongoing, that's pointless and useless?

Yeah, it is. How can it not be? It's the Oscars for crying out loud.

Deep breaths, buddy.

Fuck you. I haven't been able to take a deep breath for a week and a half. If it's made me a contemptible bastard then THAT'S MY PREROGATIVE, DAMMIT!

3/06/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Fuck you. I haven't been able to take a deep breath for a week and a half. If it's made me a contemptible bastard then THAT'S MY PREROGATIVE, DAMMIT!

I giggle at your misfortune, while dropping my third fizzing headache pill for the day.

It's the Oscars for crying out loud.

Yeah, well, I disagree, there is a point to be made, stated the reason stated above.

presenters and winners shouldn't talk about politics because it's boring,

Mostly it's because it's not trendy, I'm guessing. Everyone saw what happened to Sean Penn.

3/06/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Mostly because it's not trendy....
Yeah, Nick, things seemed to have settled into "normalcy" even though little has changed--welcome to the new normal! People at awards shows don't say much about the war etc., but that may also be because the Democrats had a good day last November and Bush isn't running for re-election. Fox Sports has quit their patriotic "salute the troops" intros to all their sports programming. We'll see if singing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium continues this baseball season (or had it already stopped?). Pardon my rambling thoughts....

The day my sinus infection peaked last week I was snapping at everyone....

3/06/2007 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

It's great how a brief negative comment about Seinfeld has set off such an interesting discussion covering a wide range of issues.

'Seinfeld' as a TV show is an interesting one and how its dated. A few years back on a messageboard I actually asked the question of whether it was a relic of the 1990s? I loved the show for the most part when it was on although it badly fell away once Larry David left and the final two seasons are close to unwatchable.

And another related issue that's of interest - what is a typically 1990's show, and indeed what are the defining features of the 1990s culture wise? I'll find it quite interesting in years to come how films/TV analyse and capture the essence of the decade, something that will be quite hard to do. I also think it will be quite hard to mine humour from it in the way that the 60s/70s/80s have in areas like fashion/pop culture, etc...

I guess if I had to pick an American TV show that typified the 1990s, it would be 'Friends'. I saw a few episodes of it and it was slick, watchable, often funny but never memorable and totally insubstantial.

3/08/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Hmmm, defining features of the 1990's? I'm reminded of a late 2001 headline from The Onion: "A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again." Of course, many have gone back to caring about stupid bullshit again, but to some that was a hallmark of much of the '90's, and Seinfeld was the hip ironic flipside to all the crap that the 24-hour news networks relentlessly focus on in their quest to make you think that's what happening right now, no matter how stupid or mundane, is quite possibly the most important thing ever. Of course, that sort of thing continues, though Seinfeld does not. Fight Club was a kind of commentary on the emptiness of all that, and its ending was eerily prescient as to what ultimately ended the '90's.

The '90's will be made fun of. They will look ridiculous. One thing about getting older is that you realize that any time period eventually looks stupid in retrospect, and you are powerless to identify (for the most part) what about it is going to be eventually embarrassing.

One thing I think I've identified for the 2000's is this architecture, which originally looked cool, but has now become so commonplace as to be nearly stultifying to me, and I'm sure it will not age well. (Here it's seen with all kinds of schools, public buildings, and businesses.)

3/08/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Great post, Jay.

My brother and I had a discussion on buildings a while ago (big building boom in Sweden right now, especially here in Malmö), and arrived at the conclusion that one has to be able distinguish a good-looking building from a freshly built one, since a new building usually looks good in the beginning.

As for the 90s, I remember I used to wonder then what the 80s would be remembered for, thinking they were too superficial to be worth remembering. So of course it's remembered for its silly superficiality.

One defining thing, for the western culture at least, in the last decades has been the American presidents of the era. I think 70s I inevitably think Nixon and Carter. I think 80s I think Reagan. 90s Clinton. The fact that this decade probably will be remembered for Bush is kinda sad.

If I'd hazard a guess for what the 00s will be remembered for it would probably be as a search for meaning, considering the renewed rise of religion, influencing film music and television, the popularity of shows like Lost, 'soul' talk shows such as Dr Phil and Oprah becoming more and more popular than ever, all those self help books, the Da Vinci Code and everyone wondering what Harry Potters destiny will be, and everyone and their grandmother blogging their opinions away (like here!).

It will probably be made fun of because how laughably stupid all these 'searches' were, considering also the rise of Fox News.

But we'll see.

3/08/2007 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I think the 90s will end up being laregly forgotten. Haven't they already been, to a large extent?

I'd like to think that the 00s will be remembered for the zenith and resulting death of American conservatism as a governing force. That's probably overoptimistic, but it could happen.

3/08/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I think the 90s will end up being laregly forgotten. Haven't they already been, to a large extent?

Yeah, you'd think that, but trust me, sometime in the 2010s someone will dig up tapes of 2Unlimited and Ace of Base, remember pastel colors, those color-drenched psychedelia t-shirts, and try to understand why everyone thought Jim Carrey was so freaking funny.

I'd like to think that the 00s will be remembered for the zenith and resulting death of American conservatism as a governing force. That's probably overoptimistic, but it could happen.

Man, lol.

3/08/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

The '90's: don't forget grunge, man.

3/08/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

Some very good points there jaydro.

I guess if you wanted a news event that encapsulated the frivilousness of the 1990s it was the O.J. Simpson case. Even here in Australia it got a lot of coverage, despite the fact that he was only really known here for the Naked Gun movies. Of course there have been similarlish type of events since then but none have matched the level of coverage and supposed interest it got.

Even though there are a still a few years to go, I'm certain this decade will be seen in hindsight as far more significant then the 1990s were.

Not just 9/11, but the increasing politicisation of large sections of society. The massive worldwide protests against the Iraq war in early 2003 were something that didn't occur and werern't conceivable in the mindset of the 1990s. In Western countries that have (on the surface anyway) appeared to be fairly placid and content have instead revealed major differences and opposition within the population. Not a bad thing to occur imo.

I don't think there'll be as ample an opportunity to mock and belittle the fashions and hairstyles of the 1990s as there have been for (especially) the 1970s and 1980s. The thing I noticed about 'The Queen' (set a decade ago) when watching it recently was there's very little difference in fashions and hairstyles compared to now.

3/09/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

The '90's: don't forget grunge, man.

I was actually going to post this. And though I do detect a hint of sarcasm in your fingers (as you typed) I think the early-->mid 90s produced some great music. The seattle scene was instrumental (pun intended?) in my upbringing.... My first concert ever was Pearl Jam & Henry Rollins 1993, which was supposed to be the topic of a personal blog post, but I've been slacking...turning 30...it's all downhill

3/09/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Nirvana, despite their small output, is one of my favorite bands of all time. I saw them in concert at the New York Coliseum in about '93 or so.

3/09/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

No, no real sarcasm, though perhaps a hint just to show I'm hip and ironic or something. I have all of Nirvana's original albums, though I haven't listened to one in forever. I remember watching a repeat of "Nirvana Unplugged" on MTV and talking to a friend about Kurt Cobain's unsuccessful suicide attempt in Italy (this is from memory), and us lamenting what a messed-up guy he was. And then a few days later he was dead.

3/09/2007 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Very cool...this thread has mutated from the Oscars to Jerry Seinfeld to grunge. Nirvana Unplugged, in my opinion, is one of the best live rock albums ever. Covers of the Meat Puppets and Ledbelly? Fantastic!

3/09/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

Won't you believe it - it's just my luck
Won't you believe it - it's just my luck
Won't you believe it - it's just my luck
Won't you believe it - it's just my luck

NO RECESS!

3/09/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

Saw 'Fight Club' for the first time last night and agree with jaydro's analysis of it. Whatever its faults and virtues, it was a pretty good analysis and summation of what the 1990s were all about (or weren't about).

3/20/2007 05:48:00 AM  

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