Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mannion live blogs the Oscars with a three day tape delay

Not having seen a single one of the best picture nominees and none of the movies featuring Oscar nominated performances, for the same reason as last year---fate has decreed that I get to see one grown up movie a year and this year it was The Producers, which got skunked in the nominations. Uma, sweetie, it should have been you up there, not Rachel Weisz!---I had no rooting interests and so I just sat back and enjoyed the Academy Awards.

And they wee enjoyable. Tame but pleasant enough. The last few ceremonies have felt like wakes to me. And not Irish wakes.

You've probably read Wolcott's live blogging of the Awards, and I hope you've read the Siren's morning after post. She wrestles with what was the biggest "What the...?" of the night---all those awards to Memoirs of a Geisha.

I have a few thoughts still rattling around in my head.

I am honestly going to make the effort to watch all the nominated movies on DVD, plus Syriana, Mrs Henderson Presents, Walk the Line, Pride and Prejudice, The Constant Gardener, Cinderella Man, and A History of Violence.

I've already seen Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

I think I'm the only person in America who doesn't like Reese.

Jon Stewart was nervous as all get out when he started. I think his opening bit, the film showing past hosts refusing the gig and Stewart getting the call because the producers were desperate and scraping the bottom of the barrel expressed his true feelings about being there. But he relaxed as the show went along and and I hope they'll have him back next year.

He should wear a real tux.

All the men should.

Guys, if it doesn't have a cumberbund and a bowtie and a stiff shirt front it's not a tux it's a black suit. It looked like a mortician's convention out there. Except that morticians shave and comb their hair.

The women were beautiful. Possibly too uniformly so. And I can't believe I'm saying this but there was too much cleavage. Took away focus from the faces. But I thought the starlets all looked less rail thin than they have in the past. Is the anorexic look so 2005?

Haggis_and_rennard_3 Most spectacular cleavage: Jennifer Garner and Deborah Rennard, the wife of Paul Haggis, the director of Crash.

Haggis is the luckiest man in Hollywood right now. Not only did his movie win an Oscar as an improbable longshot, he is married to a beautiful woman with gorgeous breasts who appears to be a happy and cheerful person and his biggest fan. I hope he's her biggest fan too. Husbands and wives should root for each other.

Note to Ryan Phillippe.

Mr Stoneface.

Maybe I'm not the only one who has a problem with Reese.

Or maybe Ryan just wanted to be sitting over with all his Crash buddies who were having the best time of anybody in the theater. Instead he was stuck with the Walk the Line crowd because he's married to Mrs Shoe-in.

Uncle Merlin called me Monday morning upset that his beloved Brokeback was robbed of its Oscar. He felt vaguely betrayed and wanted to suspect foul play, as if he wanted me to tell him that it was Diebold and not PricewaterhouseCoopers counting the votes this year.

"What happened?"

I don't know, of course. Nobody knows, not even people in the business, because the vote counts are never released and there's no exit polling. Capote and Good Night and Good Luck could have drawn votes away from Brokeback. A lot of people could have voted against Brokeback just to be contrary, on the How Dare Anyone Say Any Movie Has a Lock Principle.

Some probably voted to mess with the heads of the Right Wing pundits and kulturkampfers. "They're all set to beat us up over championing the faggots? Ha! I'll show them! I'm going to vote for the racist cop movie! Let 'em choke on that one. Color blind society, my eye!"

My pet theory is that a lot of people voted for Crash because they liked it and thought Brokeback was such a sure thing that they figured their one vote wouldn't matter.

Maybe it was just the case that the cast of Crash swamped the ballot box. Like Stewart said, "Let's make this easy. Raise your hands if you weren't in Crash."

But I think the most likely explanation is that by giving Ang Lee the Oscar for Best Director the Academy was delivering their honest artistic judgment. Brokeback Mountain is a good a movie, very well directed and photographed and featuring some fine performances, all signs of excellent directing, but finally as a movie it was just a love story with an unhappy ending and nothing all that original, special, or "important," which is of course what people have been saying in its defense against the Right Wing homophobes.

I was actually glad Crash won, because it ended the evening with a big surprise and it was fun to watch the cast and crew whooping it up. Like I said, they seemed to be having the best time.

Ben Stiller's green suit bit was funny, but it went on too long.

Lily and Meryl's crosstalk act was brilliant, classy, funny, charming, and went on too long.

Robert Altman is probably right, they did give him his Award too soon. He probably does have a good 20 more films left in him. At least, I hope he does.

By the way, am I the only one who liked Cookie's Fortune?

My neck of the woods has two local connections to this year's Oscars.

Corinne Marinnan who won an Oscar for her documenatry short, A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, grew up around here.

And the scene in the opening where Stewart finds himself in bed with George Clooney was filmed nearby. Clooney was in the area, working on his next movie, Michael Clayton, and Stewart came up to film the bit.

There was no word that Halle Berry was in the area though, so maybe Stewart trucked in the bedroom set.

I got a kick out of the scene with Berry. When she tells Stewart she's a dream and he goes to peek under the covers at her, hoping she's naked, she tells him, "It's flannel, all the way down."

Stewart says in disbelief, "In my dream?"

Berry shrugs. "Go figure."

My dreams work like that too.


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