Monday, March 06, 2006

A Few Thoughts Before I Crash

How much did Jack Nicholson have to pay to get seated next to Keira Knightley?

Usually the previous year's Best Supporting Actress presents Best Supporting Actor, so where was Cate Blanchett? Sneaky that they replaced her with Nicole Kidman who was reportedly originally supposed to play Blanchett's Oscar-winning role in The Aviator. Which brings me to this odd bit of trivia: In the past two years, two of the voices Anthony Hopkins used to create his Oscar-winning portrayal of Hannibal Lecter have been immitated by actors also going on to win Oscars - Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote. Early bets for next year's awards should be on whoever plays HAL 9000 in a biopic.

The music underscoring acceptance speeches from the start? A horrible idea. Almost as bad as last year's presenting in the aisles fiasco.

When Jon Stewart made that Scientology crack, why didn't the cameras cut to a celebrated Scientologist like Academy Award-winner Paul Haggis or John Travolta? After all, they cut to Jamie Foxx whenever anybody said the word "black."

I can't wait to see Crash: The Musical live on stage! Though I have to say, without the (Academy Award-winning) nail-on-the-head dialogue, I had trouble understanding that racism is bad. However, that musical number was ridiculous and over-the-top and thus the perfect tribute to the (Academy Award-winning) film that inspired it. Also, I want to give an Emmy to whomever cut to the close-up of faux-(Academy Award-nominee)Matt Dillon finger-synching faux-Thandie Newton. That they can show on TV, but Taraji P. Henson had to sing "A whole lot of witches jumpin' ship?"

Speaking of the luminous (and tragically un-nominated) Taraji P. Henson, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was brave enough to perform tonight (unlike Terrence Howard - who must've understandably had other things on his mind). Sadly, (Academy Award-winners) Three 6 Mafia's performance didn't do justice to the song and probably left everyone who hasn't seen Hustle & Flow wondering how it ever won Best Song. When "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is performed in the movie, it's an exhilirating scene of inspiration and passion, surpassing even the great sequences in Ray and Walk the Line where the legends give birth to "Hit the Road Jack" and "Folsom Prison Blues" respectively. Those characters recite those lyrics with such intensity and emotion and rawness that the moment transcends the song itself. Even listening to Howard and Henson on the soundtrack, divorced from the visuals and context, the song doesn't sound half as good as it did in the theater. That shouldn't take away from its Oscar win (AP headlines to the contrary) - it's nice to see a song that's truly integrated into (and integral to) the movie (I believe the film school term is "diegetic") win as opposed to the end credit tack-ons that usually dominate this category. Still, unless I missed it (which is entirely possible), Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard thanked Jamie Foxx but neither Terrence Howard nor Taraji P. Henson to whom they truly owe their win (the official transcript thinks they said "George Clooney" and not "Jamie Foxx," but still no mention of Howard or Henson - except Howard is noted in their "SPECIAL ONLINE THANKS" section).

What was with all the montages? It's never been this bad or incoherent (and I'm usually a fan of the Chuck Workman Oscar montages). They just kept getting more and more random, culminating in the genre of "Movies That Look Good on the Big Screen (AND NOT DVD!!!)." But all was redeemed, when, during the "Important Issue Movies" montage they included a clip from the iconoclastic classic Day After Tomorrow! Man, Fox's marketing of that movie as a serious political statement about global warming really stuck! My theory is that they included it just so they could have a shot of water over-taking a city, followed by somebody saying something about the director of FEMA. Whatever the motivation, I was thrilled. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Network and The Day After Tomorrow... all woefully ahead of their times.

Wondering: When Larry McMurtry mentioned "The Golden Globes" in his speech, was that the first time those words had ever been uttered on the Academy's stage? I know they like to pretend they're the only game in town. Oh, and what kind of sedatives were he and Diana Ossana on?

As if Crash's wins weren't painful enough, we had to sit through the orchestra's awful, operatic rendition of "In the Deep" every time.

Academy Award-winner Paul Haggis' acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay perfectly illustrated his writing style. "Bertolt Brecht said that art is not a mirror, but it is a hammer." So that's why - rather than accurately reflect real life and the way that real people really speak to one another and how subtle and veiled, yet none-the-less corrosive, racism really pervades our real society - he used a hammer to hammer his "message" into the heads of viewers. It's all so preclear now! Give this man an Oscar! Hell, give him two!

So Ang Lee thanked the fictional characters from his movie... but not the actors who played them? Whoops! Guess Academy voters weren't the only ones to snub Heath, Jake and Michelle tonight.

Ironic that in a year when the recurring theme seemed to be "Big Screen, Good. DVD, Bad," the Best Picture won thanks to blanketing all of Hollywood with shiny little discs.

Why wasn't Don Cheadle in attendance? Was he bitter that he wasn't listed as one of the nominated producers for Crash? Was he bitter that Matt Dillon got to molest Thandie Newton and get an Oscar nomination for it?

I've got more to say about Academy Award-winning Best Picture Crash, but it'll have to wait until I get some sleep.

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