Monday, February 25, 2008

oscar talk

"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 cafĂ© 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."

    Anonymous said...

    There's really not much violence in "There Will Be Blood," certainly nothing akin to the level seen in "No Country for Old Men" (which I think you could handle, if you could handle "The Sopranos," especially with the philosophical musing going on). The title is a bit misleading.

    There is some blood in the movie, indeed, and a shooting, but more blood was seen in "Chinatown" 30 years ago--a relevant comparison, given that both are set in California and involve greed, development, disputes over land and resources and that Lewis seemed to base his character's rhythm and manner of speaking on John Huston's similarly amoral, wealthy patriarch character. The movie's a throwback despite a contemporary score. It's an early '70s sort of movie at its heart, the only other noticeable modern-day elements being the capitalism vs. evangelical religion battle. Its a political Zeitgeist movie like "Chinatown," but with absolutely no appearance or references to government in the mix anywhere.
    -- Ray

    Monkeymama said...

    I enjoyed the Oscars too, although I don't think I've seen any of the films this year... we did build up our Netflix list though!

    I thought Jon Stewart did a good job, especially with the short bits - like the "tributes" and playing Wii with that young actress. He had so many funny lines - about the pregnant actresses... how the actors sit around during the commercials and make snide comments about what the audience is wearing...

    I really miss having because we miss the Daily Show, especially with the election coming up!

    I loved that he brought back the woman who won for Once and it was especially nice that she had something prepared to say!

    Anonymous said...

    Fun comments, thanks!

    I watched "No Country For Old Men" the night before the Oscars and I did not enjoy it. Very violent, but worse yet, the killer was so undeveloped. I do NOT think it deserved Best Motion Picture.
    (Though I did like it when a Cohen brother mentioned the Mpls. Airport as the scene of the boys' early camera lessons.)

    I wish Juno had won more awards. That movie was uplifting and warm and real. And yet, it must've had too much comedy for the Academy, who seem to prefer the dark and somber.


    Anonymous said...

    A comedy has close to zero percent chance of getting a best picture awards. On the other hand, check out animation and best foreign film. "Persepolis," a animated film which should have been nominated and maybe even won in the latter category. The film was France's official submission for the Oscars.(I saw the movie over the weekend. The only way I can think of to describe it in brief is "hilarious but somber.") It was instead nominated in animation, where "Ratatouille" won. I liked that movie too, but you can see what the expectations are there. The award would never have gone to an even halfway somber adult film based on a graphic novel.
    -- Ray

    Anonymous said...

    I saw "Juno" twice, by the way, and loved it. But I still doubt there are any 16-17 year olds who know who the hell Soupy Sales is! If I made a reference to him in my college classes, even in a retro-happy city like New Orleans, where I live now, I'd lose everybody (or at least would have prior to the film's popularity).

    In any case, the last comedy to win Best Picture was "Annie Hall" in 1977.
    -- Ray

    Ellen said...

    I'm not in a hurry to see any of these movies except Juno and some of the foreign ones. And Elizabeth, just because someone told me last week that I look like Queen Elizabeth I when I wear my hair pulled back. Don't really believe it, but still...

    Anonymous said...

    Ditto! Wow, we really think alike Emilie!


    Anonymous said...

    I say that about an old pop culture reference. Then I got out for a dessert at a bakery last night, and the teenager at the counter is wearing a Bruce Springsteen "The River" button, circa 1980. It was her mom's, the girl liked it, was thrilled that someone else noticed what it was.

    Anonymous said...

    About Twila, I think she's the prettiest one there! It's funny that people say she's too pale and angular, because if she were in downtown Portland, she would fit right in like you wouldn't believe! In fact, it would be the other stars that would NOT fit it; they would be too "glamorous" for the counter-cultureish Portland. I also like that Twila didn't wear something with half her boobs showing. Not that the other women don't pull it off well, but it's still kind of refreshing.

    - Susanne