March 1, 2004

Okay, so I came home to watch the Oscars with Sara and write about them. I’ve been working all day and decided that I’d like to do some dessert writing, so here I am writing pointless Oscar coverage.

The Oscars
This is an as-it-happens account of the Oscars. Typos haven’t been fixed and I won’t be checking my facts. I don’t promise funny or meaningful. (Upon reflection, I find that I’m doing an imitation of the catty darlings at TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, and now I feel unclean. I apologize for crappiness and remind industry mags that I write freelance if you like this sort of thing.)

Costume Design
Return of the King won the Costume Design Oscar while Peter Jackson sat in the audience looking like a fanboy at his gaming club’s graduation ceremony. Nice of you to comb or button your shirt in respect for your awards, Pete. Maybe he wouldn’t look so bad if he wasn’t sitting so close to Ian McKellen, who demonstrates how to be unshaven, dapper, and elegant all at once. He and Jude Law make a strong argument for cloning and same-sex marriage.

Bob Hope Tribute Montage
Maybe Hope did do mudslinging current affairs humiliation jokes back in his day, but from the clip reel he seemed to host with smiles and gentlemanly comedy that humiliated only himself on the altar of celebrity excess.(“Alter of celebrity excess” is my tribute montage, by the way, to the writers at Enterainment Weekly.)

Two Soldiers Acceptance Speech
Speed, grace, and charm under pressure. Thanking the pit conductor for delaying the music cue is pure wit.

Is That William Baldwin
What’s with all the hair, dude?

Sting Sings
Every so often I have to be reminded that Sting performs in venues other than the Kodak Theater. I quite like Sting’s instrument, and have fun with that out of context.

Elvis Costello Plays
Three musicians appear to be singing “Scarlet Tide” inside an evil Xbox menu from Bizarro World.

Lisa Loeb and Steven Tyler Had A Daughter
Liv Tyler is presenting from some alternate 1950s world with pretty backless dresses.

Annie Lennox Works Hard, Look At Her
Her mouth moves a lot. When she stops singing, it’s like she came out of a trance. Looks like she’s a blond gypsy on drugs, but in a great way. The song’s much better when you get to watch Lennox do it.

Oh, also:
“Into the West” is the most boring song ever.

Cute Puppy MasterCard Commercial
I suppose they’ll do anything to extend the lifespan of those “Item: Priceless” commercials, but I’m not complaining. That’s a cute dog and a cute story. I’m a little media whore.

Commercials Continue
Between the puppies and the bears, ABC’s sponsors seem to be marketing directly to my girlfriend. United’s got a swell litte animated commercial that’s nice, and something (I dunno what) has a guy working up the nerve to propose that I think is well done simply ’cause I can relate.

Charlize Theron’s Date Is Wearing a Waiter’s Tuxedo

Billy Crystal’s Robin Williams Impression
Robin Williams is thinking: “That material’s a little out of date, Bill.”

Billy Crystal Says “Thanks For Being a Good Sport”
Save it for the end, Bill.

Will Smith Is Very Tall or Jada Pinkett Is Not

Visual Effects Awards
Master & Commander‘s effects are the most realistic of the lot (which may not be the point), but on the small screen, Pirate‘s seem absolutely monochrome.Return of the King has won, if not for weight then for volume.

Jennifer Garner’s Dress
She’s getting married to a tangerine mogul in ancient Rome or something. To be fair, it’s one of the nicest orange dresses I’ve seen, and it’s nice that she gets to present based solely on Daredevil and one scene in Catch Me If You Can.

Jim Carrey Revelation:
He doesn’t know what he’s saying either. Good to know. Something of a relief.

Blake Edwards Clip Reel
This presentation has not been formatted for this screen.

Jude Law: Man of the Future
When it comes time to market Tomorrow, he is the man we get on the posters. This in addition to Sky Captain, etc., please.

Samantha Morton’s Going To Prom
But not in a good way. I love Samantha Morton to bits, but that dress looks likes it belongs on a meth-addicted Bjork fan whose all-girl band is performing at Homecoming ’83.

Elvis’s Brother Mike Wins the Oscar
For make-up, if you’re wondering.

If Master & Commander Doesn’t Win An Oscar Tonight
then it’d better come out on DVD soon. Not because these concepts are related, but because I wish to buy that DVD as soon as possible.

Return of the King Wins Sound Mixing
And a half-dozen guys come on stage, each one paid less and looking better than Peter Jackson.

Richard King has won the Oscar for Sound Editing in Master & Commander, not because he deserves it (though I’m sure he does–great film), but because Return of the King wasn’t nominated and the voters know that it was a more sophisticated film than Pirates of the Caribbean. This is not an excuse to delay the DVD release of Master & Commander.

Katherine Hepburn Could Kill A Man
Just by looking at him and, in fact, may have. She always gives me the impression that she’s putting up with this shit just so she can act. Though, seeing her performances in cross-section, it sure looks like she played Hepburn a lot of times.

Lost Puppy Odyssey Continues
Sara says “Go, puppy, go!” and damn if it isn’t cute as hell. The commercial, too.

What About Kevin Bacon?
Why don’t we ever see him at any of these functions?

John Cusack and Diane Lane
I’m not sure how they go together, but they look good together. Weird, sexy dress, Diane. Ordinary tux, nice pronunciation, John. Nice to see you two at one of these things.

Angelina Jolie
We’re getting shots of her every so often and she looks good, like a movie star, but all smiles. I sure hope we get her into a good movie sometime soon.

The Audience Isn’t Laughing
Even the polite laughter seems low. What’s going on? The oh-gosh Oscar-winning plebes aren’t even getting their yokel-based laffs from the high-falutin’ Hollywood types.

Johnny Depp’s Outfit
Instead of a tie, a black spot. Button-down shirt, buttons off-center. Smile, absent.

The President of the Academy Is Speaking
I’m also making coffee, so I’m going to go check on that.

Imagine In A Few Years
When that montage of dead filmmakers includes folks like Spielberg, Kidman, and Penn. Then I’ll really be able to relate. It’s maybe a bit silly, but there’s something genuinely affecting about seeing people in the prime of their lives dancing in slow-mo clips from yesteryear. This is because I’m a movie geek and a loser, but what’re you gonna do.

Musical Score
Always one of my favorite categories, though I’m routinely disappointed in the winner. Howard Shore, though, probably does deserve it. Plus he’s well-dressed, Peter.

Pierce Brosnan
Another bloke I don’t expect to turn up at these things. He looks cool, comfortable and, as always, Bond-like. A bit of stubble and gray hair would do him well in the forthcoming Thomas Crown sequel and would be an interesting experiment in a Bond film.

Return of the Acceptance Speech
The editor is dressed in a common tuxedo, but looks fine. Peter looks like the relative you don’t know at the end of the wedding reception.

All Things Guest
Christopher Guest looks sheepish but happy to be there. I knew he was married to Jamie Lee. Did you? Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are great, and isn’t it a treat to see a song performed by the characters who sang it for a change? Good stuff, and the audience loves it. Catherine O’Hara, by the way, Hollywood, is excellent and is well worth hiring with great frequency. Please do.

Musical Timing
What’s with this leisurely presentation of musical nominees while, meanwhile, you’re shoving award-winners off-stage in ten seconds? That’s bullshit.

Triplets Song
Motherfucker’s playing a damned bicycle. That’s awesome.

Will Ferrell and Jack Black
Jack Black wearing his titular costume. If clothes stay on, I’ll be genuinely surprised. Now they’re singing, but at least there’s still pants. Then they downplay it. Nice work, I’m having trouble pretending I don’t like these guys nowadays. Then Will Ferrell says “Sting” as it’s meant to be said, and I laugh out loud for the first time all night.

Then “Into the West” wins the Oscar and I totally lose my thrill. This song is monumentally boring. So boring. Annie Lennox’s performance in person is something, but it’s like she was performing some other, interesting song while they played “Into the West.” So, Return of the King gets another Oscar, while Michael McKean and those nice French musicians get the finger. Bullshit, again.

Also, Peter Jackson: Badly dressed. Don’t know if I mentioned that.

Canada Wins An Oscar
Accepting on behalf of Canada…

Oh. They’re French Canadians. Is The Barbarian Invasion about American tourism?

America Sits Up
Ladies and gentlemen of all sexual orientations: Jude Law. Seeing Jude standing next to Uma’s outfit is a very confusing experience for a young man. That’s one ugly outfit, Uma. But what did I expect you to wear? The motorcycle suit?

Master & Commander Wins Another One!
Thank heavens. Cinematography’s no small award, either, and this movie’s deserving of it, I think. It’s nonsense, but I’ll say it’s because of the shooting in the Galapagos thing. Really, it’s about giving a vivid, thrilling life to a small color palette and a potentially dreary, wooden world.

Coppolas Enter to Apocalypse Now Joke
Sofia Coppola’s uncomfortable, uncertain presentation in front of a flock of strangely dressed strangers recalls the performance of another famous female person who also appeared in The Phantom Menace.

Boy, Did I Find Mount Doom Anticlimactic
The floating, brawling meanie and the drawn-out, cartoon-colored plummeting shot do not work.

The hobbits seem pleased, though. To be clear, I appreciate the effort and the success of the work these people did. I undertand what they had to overcome and think they deserve to be recognized for redefining the way in which films get made. Plus, they’ve popularized fantasy, and that’s always good. I just don’t think Return of the King is the best of the Lord of the Rings films and I don’t think Peter Jackson’s suit actually qualifies as a tuxedo. That’s all.

Toby McGuire Must Have Trouble Auditioning
He acts fine, but can’t read for shit. Plus, you shouldn’t put somebody in the spot of presenting a clip with them performing a big scene in it. It’s got to be an awkward spot.

Screenplay: Coppola, Please
Thank you very much.

Golden Globes: Trend-Setters
Sofia did not mention Scarlett. Again.

Mary Scorcese AMEX Commercial
Nice, without being too much.

Boy, the Kodak Theatre Is Tall
Could make a Tom Cruise joke here, but won’t.

Best Director
Barely wearing his tie.

(Billy Crystal just made my “wearing shoes” joke, I swear, so I won’t.)

Diane Keaton
Can pull off her wardrobe. You can’t. Also, she knows how to wear a suit. Peter, not so much.

Adrien Brody’s Binaca Joke
Nice. I laughed out loud.

Best Actress
Dressed like a movie star. Heard her on Elvis Mitchell’s radio show a little while ago, and she’s a very serious actress, which probably isn’t surprising to those of you who saw Monster. I haven’t yet.

Jude Law Shown Petting His Lips
Like you wouldn’t.

Somebody Put Nicole Kidman In Another Movie
Where she gets to use her own voice. It’s dreamy.

Best Actor
Fuck you, Hollywood. We all know Sean Penn’s a good actor. We get that already, right? The magazine covers, we’ve seen them; the nominations, he’s gotten them. What about Murray?

Then Penn goes and delivers a delightful speech. Comes across as a nice guy. Dammit.

Best Picture
Lemme guess. Yep.

Seriously. Peter. There must be a dry-cleaners in Wellington. Somewhere. Put it in the King Kong budget, if you have to, for the love of God.

When they say you’re not satisfied with 100%, I guess that doesn’t include shirt buttons.


So, there’s your Oscars.
I can think of only one thing that would’ve made it better. Let Murray deliver his speech anyway, in the interests of entertainment.


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