Monday, March 8, 2010

OSCAR REDUX-ULOUS

The only real highlight this year was Kathryn Bigilow's win for Best Director. First woman to do that, But I was hoping her speech would build on that, mention all the unsung (and often uncredited) women directors of classic Hollywood, as well as those in recent years that broke down the barriers.

I would have loved to have heard Ida Lupino lauded or Randa Haines (who broke ground with CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD as a woman director but was overlooked for the nomination despite almost everything else in that movie being nominated—full disclosure Haines was a friend at the time, but she still deserved a nomination).

The opening number with Neil Patrick Harris was embarrassing. The problem is they try to create the show partly to impress the live Hollywood audience, who can see the screens on stage and the dance numbers and the moving Ikea sculptures or whatever they were in a personally in-the-house connection way.

But they also have to impress the rest of us who are watching on our TVs. Most often they end up doing neither. Like I said, the opening number was an embarrassment and wasted way too much time. Ed Sullivan knew how to pace a show better in the 1950s!

But some stuff worked well. Like the co-hosts. A great team, comfortable and professional and not too intrusive (it wasn't about them, as it was about Billy Crystal say). And they made me laugh out loud a lot (full disclosure Alec Baldwin's an old friend).

I thought having James Taylor sing and play acoustic over the memorial segment was a nice touch, though the confusion in the directing booth about the on-stage screens and the TV screen at home made for some awkward moments. They never had that problem years ago, just automatically switched to the small screen the second any clips or montages began. Now they seem to linger for us to see, in this case, two screens at odd angles and have to try and figure out what's on them.

And as others have pointed out, they not only left Farrah Faucett off the memorial montage, but Bea Arthur, Henry Gibson and Brad Renfro as well. What's up with that?

And too many extraneous clips (like the one on how they did the sound for a DARK KNIGHT explosion, as if making up for leaving THE DARK KNIGHT out last year) and not enough of the stuff that matters (remember those old montages, like the one that incorporated what seemed like hundreds of the most iconic movie moments of all time—more of that please!). [I used to remember the guy's name who edited that, but can't post brain surgery and can't find it on the net either)

Surprisingly there were no memorable speeches this year either. I was hoping for something from Bridges or even Bullock that would nail the moment, but they kind of wavered and settled for sincere, but not that poignant or ultimately interesting (Bridges initial remark about being an "extension" of his parents and their show biz aspirations and achievements was a nice touch, but then he went into "The Dude" mode and I wondered if he had maybe toked up beforehand and thought everything was happening a lot faster than it was).

When Geoffrey Fletcher won for adapted screen play that almost turned into a memorable moment because he's the first African-American to win in that category and was obviously overwhelmed, but then it became more about him than the story, which after all was adapted, not written by him, though he sounded as if it had been. And as far as I could hear he didn't even include Sapphire among those he thanked and she wrote the book he took the story and characters and much of the dialogue from! (I hope I'm wrong about that, so if you heard different let me know.)

The other dance number had some amazing moves in it (triple flips etc.) but it was too much. They should have made the soundtracks the dancers were interpreting into a medley and had the dancers do their most spectacular moves in the shortest time possible, or cut the whole bit.

But despite all the problems and disappointments and glitches and being way too long, in the end I enjoyed it, because of Baldwin and Martin and because of some of the presenters and recipients and mostly because there were some nominees who were totally deserving of the accolades, and I got to see some old friends and co-workers live, even if just on the small screen.

7 comments:

harryn said...

hollywood celebrating hollywood - don't know if you caught Alec's in Huffington ...

one thing that bothered me a bit - and i'm not sure if it has to do with the proficiency of the camera-persons or if people today lack polite decorum ...
i saw a lot of sneering, eye-rolling, and looks of disapproval among the audience - as though it's more cool this year to visibly wear your opinion ...
i never recall seeing as much of it before ...

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget that Charlize Theron said she was not wearing any underwear.
TPW

Zuckster said...

Michael,

I befriended Randa also, around the time "Children" came out. Such a gentle, kind person. Timing plays a factor, among other things.
I don't see many films - I prefer to spend my free time creating or, these days, resting. So I haven't yet seen Avatar, Hurt Locker, Precious, District 9 or others. The Oscars are an event, and popular, but what we need is for Hollywood to start leading, rather than pandering. To use this magical, powerful medium to inspire, enlighten and pave new trails of thought and behavior, rather than perpetuate mediocrity, gratuitous violence and other low-beingness based on precedent.

It's disheartening to see a Star Trek or other futuristic scenario and see beings resort to guns (phasers, photon torpedoes, etc) to resolve conflicts. It would be amazing if Hollywood introduced new ideas of dialoging, interaction that expanded and nurtured tolerance, undrstanding, forgiveness, faith, awareness and the like, even inventing new language and terminology for this.

Socail Responsibility, to the present and the future. Then these awards shows would be much more meaningful and justified.

Zuckster said...
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Robert G. Zuckerman said...

To add to the redux-ulousness, check out this b.s. about why Farrah Fawcett and Gene Barry were left of the the in-memorium montage: http://my.earthlink.net/article/ent?guid=20100309/1c2fbb9f-a199-4fd8-904c-8ef480075418

what a bunch of two-faced self-important, selfish crap. I don't know Gene Barry's filmography, but Farrah did some great film work. And now it's become fashionable for film stars to cash in on tv work. And of course don't forget all the residuals, etc. from films playing on tv, etc. etc. So come off of this purist b.s. crap and have a little heart. What would it have cost to include and honor these Hollywood icons here? Shame on the Academy for this choice.

Lally said...

Robert, I saw that and couldn't agree with you more. Gene Barry by the way was in tons of movies including one of my favorites; THUNDER ROAD.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Michael, there are a lot of really good people in this business. Professionals who care about their jobs, their families, their co-workers. I am blessed to work alongside of, and literally put my life in the hands of, these people, in the trenches of movie-making. In the end, it's not so much the end result, with is often forgettable, but the way it's done and the collaboration and the acknowledgement.

Those same guys who ommitted Farrah from the montage should give a dollar to charity for every boner she gave them back in the day. And who was cooler with his cane and Derby hat that Bat Masterson?