Monday, February 25, 2008
"Are you going to tell everyone about my Oscar victory?" Steve wanted to know. Yes, in our annual "pick the winners" contest, he beat me by two points, picking 13 winners to my 11. What's more, he tied with our resident film critic, Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press, whose picks were in bold on the ballot sheet. The kicker? Steve has seen pretty much none of the year's big movies. I haven't seen very many of them, either. But that didn't stop me from enjoying last night's 80th Academy Awards! Here, my totally random thoughts on the big evening.
I just love Jon Stewart. Period. I don't care what anyone else says; he had me giggling throughout the night. I knew about Cate Blanchett and Jessica Alba, but I hadn't heard that Nicole Kidman is pregnant. When Jon Stewart said that, I kept looking at her body when she came out to guess how far along she is. Barely a bump, so maybe ... four months? I am thrilled that Falling Slowly from the movie Once won best song. Those tunes from Enchanted were just so mediocre. And I loved it when Jon Stewart brought the woman back on after the commercial to give the acceptance speech that she'd been cut off from giving. It was one of the great unscripted moments of the evening. Another great moment: Marion Cotillard's genuinely surprised reaction when she won for best actress, and the way she couldn't stop shaking as she walked offstage with her face in her hand. I thought La Vie en Rose was such an awful movie that I turned it off after an hour and a half (with still an hour to go), but Marion Cotillard did do a fantastic job playing Edie Piaf. Diablo Cody was surprisingly sweet when she accepted her screenwriting award for Juno. I was moved when she — a former stripper — thanked her parents for loving her just the way she is, and it made me feel slightly guilty that I was judging her for dressing like, well, a stripper. For those who aren't aware, Diablo Cody used to live in the Twin Cities and write for the alternative weekly, and she wrote the script — her first — while sitting in the café of a suburban Target. Where was Ben Affleck? Let me rephrase: Why didn't Jennifer Garner (who looked amazing, by the way) bring her husband as her date? Steve Carrell is just ... so ... funny. I wish they'd have more of him. Maybe they'll ask him to host one of these years — oooh, that would be wonderful! I would have loved a Stephen Colbert cameo, too. I couldn't stop giggling during the "binoculars and periscopes in film" montage. Color me gullible, but I assume that was a joke and not really a serious montage they'd have run if the writers had continued to be on strike. I got all choked up when they showed Heath Ledger as the final entry in the "deaths in the past year" montage. Such a waste. That shot of him leaning against the cabin in his jacket made me want to see Brokeback Mountain again. He did an amazing job in that movie. Of the best picture nominees, I don't think I want to see No Country for Old Men, even if it did win best picture — not after they described Javier Bardem's character as a Hannibal Lector-style killer (with Dorothy Hamill hair — ha!). I don't do violence very well these days. I probably won't see There Will Be Blood, either. I do want to see Atonement and Michael Clayton, and I've already seen Juno. Why is everyone so down on Tilda Swinton's looks? She has always been pale and angular, so what's new? That is how she looks, and not everyone is movie-star glamorous. She's talented and interesting and clever, and that's what counts in my book. Not whether she needs to color her eyebrows. (Of course, this comes from someone who found myself wishing Diablo Cody had dressed better, so take it with a grain of salt.) My favorite line from her best supporting actress speech: "George Clooney, you know, the seriousness and the dedication to your art, seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from Batman and Robin, the one with the nipples, every morning under your costume ... on the set, off the set, hanging upside down during lunch. You rock man."