February 26, 2007

THE UNSPEAKABLE TOAST THE UNWATCHABLE:

And the Loser Is...: The movie-going audience, who is ignored by the Academy, and the telecast audience, who is subjected to an overlong, overwrought Oscars show (Ronald Grover, 2/26/07, Business Week)

Anyone who watched last night's Oscar telecast no doubt came away with one of several conclusions. First, Al Gore, whose environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award, is the most popular guy in Hollywood these days. Or maybe that ABC found a new, more boring way than usual to spread out what could be a two-hour ceremony into something almost interminable. But I came away with some new-found respect for Will Ferrell, or the guy who wrote the words to the song he performed with Jack Black. "You're the saddest guy of all," the comedian warbled about big-budget action stars. "Your movies make money but they'll never call your name."

O.K. so The Departed took home the Oscar for the best film of 2006. But was it? Maybe, but that's only because the level of competition was so very low. But, as usual, when the green-eyeshade guys at PricewaterhouseCoopers tabulate up the winners often has more to do with which film, actor, or director has the backing of those working in the industry. Should we trust a bunch of folks with vested interests, far-too-insider views and maybe a little too much riding on the results? Can these people really judge what film would be Best Picture for the Folks Who Watch Them?


When we were kids everyone used to watch them--they used to celebrate the movies. Know anyone who still does now that they celebrate Hollywood's politics?


MORE:
The Broadcast: Long and Longer (Tom Shales, February 26, 2007, Washington Post)

Alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) a bore and a horror, the 79th annual Academy Awards, televised live from Los Angeles on ABC, had a few bright spots to keep weary viewers propping their eyes open as midnight approached -- even if they had never heard of, much less seen, many of the nominated films.

Host DeGeneres schmoozes as audience snoozes (Matthew Gilbert, February 26, 2007, Boston Globe)
Ellen DeGeneres was a tepid host at last night's Academy Awards. With her wry, rambling, hemming-and-hawing style, she wanted to put everyone at ease; but instead, she put us to sleep. She took a rice-cake approach to her monologue -- it was airy, bland, and a little crunchy, as she focused on the diversity of the audience. "If there weren't blacks, Jews, and gays," she said to applause, "there would be no Oscars."

Alas, DeGeneres had less comic impact than one or two glimpses of Jack Nicholson, who'd shaved his head in solidarity with Britney Spears. He looked like the genie from a very high-proof bottle. When DeGeneres went into the audience and offered a script to Martin Scorsese, she wanted us to laugh, but we cringed as Mark Wahlberg sat right behind them. Moments earlier, Wahlberg had lost his supporting-actor contest.

And so the night proceeded with the same meandering tone as DeGeneres, inching toward nothing in particular.


Welcome to the club: Scorsese will remember his big night. But will filmgoers remember 'The Departed'? (Patrick Goldstein, February 26, 2007, LA Times)
HAVING won the Oscar for best picture, "The Departed" will always, from here to eternity, have an aura of distinction, like a suave white-haired gent gliding into the Governors Ball in his tuxedo.

But once the hoopla dies -- and in Hollywood, hoopla dies pretty quickly -- a thornier question will surface: What will we think of "The Departed" 30 years from now? Will it be considered a classic like "Lawrence of Arabia" or a musty heirloom like "My Fair Lady"?


Royal Flush: Whitaker, Mirren, crowned with Oscar gold (James Verniere, 2/26/07, Boston Herald)
Last night's Best Picture winner came with a "made-in-Boston" label and a Dropkick Murphys theme song.

Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg also presented six-time Academy Award nominee Martin Scorsese with his first Oscar for Best Director. A deeply moved Forest Whitaker accepted the Best Actor statuette for "The Last King of Scotland." Whitaker's fellow nominee, Peter O'Toole ("Venus"), was shut out of his eighth contest, making him the most-nominated actor not to win. Odds-on favorite Helen Mirren took home the Best Actress award for "The Queen."

"The Departed" picked up four prizes, including Film Editing by Scorsese regular Thelma Schoonmaker and Best Adapted Screenplay by the Boston-born writer William Monahan.

An air of uncertainty hung over last night's 79th Annual Academy Awards, the sense that anything could happen. And it did, when Alan Arkin was named Best Supporting Actor for his foul-mouthed, drug-addicted grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine."


Presumably Sheldon Kornpett didn't swear enough?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2007 8:03 AM
Comments

But he did a mean serpentine....

That trash from that editor did it for me.

Big fat middle finger to middle America.

Posted by: Sandy P at February 26, 2007 10:17 AM

I didn't see any of the nominated movies or actors/actresses; however, The Great Escape, Bridge on the River Kwai, and Lawrence of Arabia were on Direct TV this weekend and I watched all three.

Posted by: pchuck at February 26, 2007 11:23 AM

Scorsese's win is the latest example of the distasteful trend of giving awards to deserving recipients in years they don't deserve it (see Pacino, Al). Most recent Best Picture winners are awful ("Titanic" may be the worst film ever to win--but then only if it beats out "Gladiator").

Posted by: AC at February 26, 2007 11:41 AM

I haven't seen a movie in the theaters since Batman Begins. Did watch TCM's "31 days of Oscar", esp the restored version of Lawerence of Arabia. Beautiful, get it on a 780p DVD player with 16x9 if you can.

Posted by: Gideon at February 26, 2007 12:34 PM

I refuse to watch anything involving Ellen DeGenerant. The last movie I went to a theater to see was "March of the Penguins".

Posted by: jd watson at February 26, 2007 1:16 PM

Haven't watched a movie in the theater since 1974.

Thank God for Netflix. And books.

Posted by: jdkelly at February 26, 2007 1:24 PM

Watching "Lawrence of Arabia" on a large screen in a movie theater is an experience like none other.

Posted by: erp at February 26, 2007 4:56 PM

"The Departed" was a tense little cops and robbers drama, very tightly plotted and not overly pretentious. Jack was a bit over the top, but that's why they hire him. I would like to see the Hong Kong original (Infernal Affairs).

"Little Miss Sunshine" made me laugh, but a lot of these little "indie" comedies follow a similar formula, which is basically a re-write of "You Can't Take it With You": quirky family keeps it real while confronting the squares, with hilarious results.

Tonight I watched "Kandahar" which is worth a rental.

Posted by: ted welter at February 26, 2007 11:27 PM
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