Monday, February 25, 2008

The Oscars: A Recap

Sunday night's 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony was a so-so affair. Not surprisingly, it looks to be the lowest rated Oscar telecast ever. I believe that the writers' strike had something to do with it. During the strike, there was some doubt as to whether there would be an Oscar telecast. As a result, the buzz factor for this year's Oscars was decidedly low. The fact that there wasn't a epic box-office blockbuster up for major awards (think "Titanic") is perhaps another reason why people decided not to watch this year. While watching the telecast, there were some things (both good and bad) that stuck out to me:

* Host Jon Stewart did a solid job of emceeing. Mixing entertainment and political humor, Stewart's jokes were mostly on target. One of his best zingers took aim at former President Bill Clinton.

Stewart (In reference to Julie Christie's best actress nomination for "Away From Her") :

A moving story of a woman who forgets her own husband. Hillary Clinton called it the feel-good movie of the year.

* The orchestra was quick on the musical trigger, giving the bum's rush to several winners before they had a chance to start or sometimes finish their acceptance speech. One cool moment was when Jon Stewart brought Best Original Song co-winner Marketa Irglova back onstage so that she could give her speech.

* Cameron Diaz has a sense of humor about herself. When presenting the Oscar for Best Cinematography, Diaz stumbled over the word "cinematography". In mock defiance, she then put her hand on her hip and said "I can do this!"

* As I predicted, Heath Ledger was shown last in the montage of Hollywood figures who died in the past year. However, Brad Renfro (who died a week before Ledger) was noticeably missing from the tribute. When asked about the Renfro snub, a spokeswoman for the Academy gave the bullshit reply "Unfortunately we cannot include everyone". True enough, but would including 5-10 seconds of Renfro had been so bad? I have a feeling that had the troubled Renfro died in a less sordid manner instead of from an accidental heroin/morphine overdose, he would have been included in the montage.

* In two other oversights, four-time Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg and two-time emcee Steve Martin were omitted from a montage featuring those who presided over the ceremony in the past.

* In his acceptance speech, Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Javier Bardem honored his mother, who attended the ceremony with him, with a tribute in Spanish that moved her to tears. Although my mastery of Espanol is limited, that was still a cool moment.

Did you catch the Oscar telecast? If so, what did you think?


Jay said...

They snubbed Joey Bishop in the memorial too. And their excuse is bull crap. They just messed up and refuse to admit it.

For the most part, I thought the show moved pretty slow. And there was no reason for that 30 minute Red Carpet show with Regis. That was a complete waste.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

It was actually the first Oscars that I've ever watched and I had only seen Juno so I have nothing to compare it to. Loved Jon Stewart though...always a good laugh.

Malcolm said...

Jay: Son of a gun! I forgot to mention Joey Bishop in this post. When me and my girlfriend were watching the In Memoriam segment, I mentioned that Joey Bishop wasn't included. The reason it stuck out to me is because he died the day after Deborah Kerr (who was included). Although not a major film star, Joey did enough work on the big screen to be included in the montage.

SilverNeurotic: Jon was good, which didn't surprise me. He actually made the telecast bearable.

Holly Smith said...

I love Jon Stewart. But,we just saw 'Away from Her' a few weeks ago, so I thought that given the serious nature of the movie (Alzheimer's based) I thought the Clinton remark was a little bit tacky...just in terms of those suffering from Alzheimer's (not towards Bill and Hill).
His joking line about Tom Hanks having no right to be there made me smile.
Overall he's a really good host.

I noticed the Brad Renfro thing too, and I thought that maybe I just missed his name. I guess not!

Malcolm said...

Holly: I've liked Jon Stewart ever since he was a VJ on MTV. I forgot about him joking that Tom Hanks had no right to be there. One of Jon's best lines that night was when he commented on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton running for President:

"Normally when you see a black man or a woman president, an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty."

Holly Smith said...

YEAH! To show it's the future! That was really good!

pjazzypar said...

The Oscars are a bore. I do not care who the best cinematographer was. You were right about Brad Renfro, he should have been included. The powers that be on that telecast are biased against certain people for sure. I read that Whoopi was very upset about not being included, to the point where she was literally fighting back tears. They claim it was an oversight that she was not included in the montage. Oversight my ass!

X. Dell said...

Sorry, but I'm not a big fan of the Oscars. Most awards shows bite, but the Oscars arguably sets records every year in pretentiousness, self-righteousness, and irrevelence.

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: I saw where the Academy apologized to Whoopi and she accepted. Bottom line is that the Oscars are a big popularity contest that often gets it wrong. Will I be watching next year? Hells yeah!

X. Dell: I always find it funny that Hollywood uses Oscar night to play like they are all about quality and prestige, while for most of the year they are pushing product like "Daddy Day Camp" and "Good Luck Chuck".

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