Was it just me, or did that seem like one of the longest and most boring Oscars ever?
Ellen Degeneres was funny and likable as always, and those dancers behind the scrim were pretty impressive, but a time consuming vacuum cleaning gag after almost four hours (or more if you count the half hour red carpet bit) was more tedious than witty, and why do we need dancers at these things again?
And who wrote the lines for the presenters to read awkwardly and again, tediously? Didn’t sound like Bruce (the big gay guy who looks like a muppet) Vilange who wrote most of the cutting campy comments of Oscars past. If it was him, hmmmm.
And why did we have to watch that gray-haired semi-host addition to Ellen backstage saying basically nothing and pointing to shelves full of Oscars? Talk about editing, who’s responsible for not editing that shit out and saving some time?
And talk about editing, the film montages that were supposed to serve as some kind of nostalgically moving reminders of the glory of cinema seemed weak, and oddly edited to not make chronological or emotional sense (the “foreign” film homage was the best, but even that was confusing, and not what I would have chosen to mark the most memorable scenes from fifty years of foreign films at all).
And THE DEPARTED winning in all the wrong categories?
Wahlberg was terrific, but best adapted screenplay (for what, most non sequiturs? or just being a total mess?) over NOTES ON A SCANDAL, CHILDREN OF MEN, LITTLE CHILDREN and even BORAT?
And THE DEPARTED winning for editing (again for the mess or the non sequiturs? or for just being able to make something out of all that?) as opposed to BABEL?
And as for best director and best movie, my guess is that there were so many contenders this year, they all split the vote and the sentimental one for making up to Scorsese for past losses won.
But shit, better directing than Alejandro Gonzalez Inariiiiiritu for BABEL, or Eastwood for LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA? Or a better movie than those?
One of the few good things were all the great woman actors honored with nominations, though Judi Dench deserved the award more for what she did with her character in NOTES ON A SCANDAL. Mirren certainly deserved it as well, for anything she’s ever done for that matter, let alone THE QUEEN, which was a stunning portrait and rightfully restrained, but still as an actor fairly one note, while Dench’s performance was awe inspiring, stunning, unbelievably varied.
And as for supporting actresses, Jennifer Hudson certainly deserved it too, but more than Afriana Barraza or Rinko Kikinchi for BABEL?
And Alan Arkin deserves the Oscar for a lifetime of work as well, but no supporting actor was more of a surprise, and again, more varied in his take on his character than Jackie Earle Haley in LITTLE CHILDREN. (And Eddie Murphy, as much as he aggravates me, did kick ass in DREAMGIRLS).
Over all, a long, tedious, evening that seemed, to this viewer at least, less exciting and less glamorous than the “old Hollywood” of the 1940s and ‘50s, and less rebellious and original than the “new Hollywood” of the 1960s and ‘70s.
With the exception of Forest Whitaker’s remarkably unique presence and acceptance speech, Arkin’s surprise win and emotional acceptance (wouldn’t it have been a gas to see the also much passed over and deserving Peter O’Toole up there and hear what he might have had to say?) and the more international and “racially” mixed look of the nominees and some of the presenters—as well as the beauty of many of the women and some of the men—it was less engaging than the commercials. That’s pretty sad.