The 76th Annual Academy Awards

| March 2, 2004

Well, the Oscars are over…and thank goodness. This year was depressing. It was like getting all excited for Christmas and then getting a bunch of socks and underwear and nothing you really wanted. I didn’t pick a lot of winners, but then I chose with my heart, not my head. I did have a good year in seeing most the nominated films (apart from shorts, and doccos); of the major awards, I’ve only not seen eight of them: City of God, House of Sand and Fog, In America, The Cooler, Thirteen, The Barbarian Invasions, American Splendor and The Triplets of Belleville.
Lord of the Rings was not Best Picture. Nor did it have the Best Song, Best Art Direction or Best Costumes. It did, however, have the Best Director and the Best Visual Effects. It did not merit the awards it received. I think the Québecoise who accepted for The Barbarian Invasions said it best: “I am glad that Lord of the Rings didn’t manage to qualify for Best Foreign Language Film.” Yeah, or Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress, Best Live Action Short (ha–as if)…
It was a good movie. But it wasn’t that great. The dialogue was stilted, as was the acting (notice the general lack of acting nominations over the past three films). It did have skilled CGI and it brought a book that many people are quite fond of (and to which, in some cases, they have devoted their entire lives) to life in a way that meshed favorably with the version they already had inside their heads…but really? That’s about it. And that’s not worth 11 Oscars.
But apart from that, it was one of the best Oscars broadcasts I’ve seen. It was lively, funny and downright snarky at times. Billy Crystal kept it light and fun. The songs and the infamous Billy-in-the-Movies sequence were clever. The retrospective of Bob Hope hosting the Oscars was nostalgic but not maudlin. The presenters, many of them, were entertaining and looked like they actually wanted to be there.
And now, a few random observations…
There is a website that insists that Elijah Wood is very, very gay. I wonder if the way he was ogling the pre-show interviewer’s diamond dress (and not the way her boobs hung out of it) will show up on that site as further proof?
I thought it was very sweet that the pre-show guy in the threatre introduce Keisha Castle-Knight to Johnny Depp after he heard that the one thing she really wanted to do was meet him. After the introduction, she said the interview guy was a “legend.” Aw. My Aussie Boss Simon used to say that. I need to adopt it as my new word.
The Academy finally found a way to get back at Michael Moore for last year: They stomped him with an Oliphant.
Tim Robbins was doing so well with his acceptance speech, and then he had to go and make it all activisty. Sigh.
Marcia Gay Harden looks so cute and retro and pregnant. In that blue dress, I am reminded of Willy Wonka…
Billy Crystal did Robin Williams better than Robin Williams does Robin Williams.
Someone might want to point out to the people who went onstage to accept for LotR that if you fly all the way from New Zealand to attend a swanky, high-profile, internationally-televised awards show, you might want to consider dressing as though you are attending something other than an all-night Dungeons and Dragons game. That one woman looked as though she had birds nesting in her hair! And don’t even get me started on Peter Jackson…dude. You’re nominated for Best Director; when you get called up there and they hand you the statue, try not to look as though you want to ask if you can also get some Cheetos and Mountain Dew.
I love the ads for Weight Watcher that slam the Atkins nonsense. “Look! We don’t persecute carbs! We know they’re good! Join us and you can have pasta!” Yay, Weight Watchers. You rule.
Seeing the clip from Finding Nemo with Ellen DeGeneres really spotlighted the need for a new pair of Oscar categories: Best Actor/Actress in an Animated Feature. Ellen should have been nominated for her performance. It did as much for that movie as Renee Zellweger’s performance did for Cold Mountain.
Mitch and Mickey doing “A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow” was the best musical number I’ve seen since Robin Williams did “Blame Canada.” I loved when Mitch tried to introduce the drummer. And the fact that they had that rose onstage? Perfect.
Jack Black and Will Farrell doing the “get off the stage” song lyrics was genius. The fact that they did all of their other speaking in a serious monotone only enhanced it. I want a copy of that song.
Was anyone from American Splendor even in the audience? Or did they just figure there wasn’t any point to get all dressed up?
I loved Francis and Sophia going up to present. “I’m so glad you decided to join the family business.” Heh.
At least Lost in Translation got something. Original Screenplay is nothing to sneeze at. I just wish it had gotten a few more. Sad thing is, had it come out any other year but this lopsided one, it would have. I love the one description someone used: “The story of a lost man and a forgotten woman.” Yeah.
John Cusack looks really good in a tux. Hard to believe one of my girlfriends almost ran him down with her car.
Adrien Brody presenting Best Actress. The Binaca before he announced the winner? Brilliant. I still can’t get over how amazing Charlize Theron’s transformation was…but the thing is, it wasn’t all cosmetic. It was everything. I’m so glad I saw that one at the last minute.
I don’t think I’ve never seen them put all the winners onstage at the end like that before. Or if they have done, I’ve never noticed it before. It was kind of nice.

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