So here’s how it all went down…

Here’s my Oscar recap, blow by sordid blow:

8pm

We’re off and running with “The Road to the Oscars,” the 30-minute preview special in which we celebrate fashion and hairstyles. The thing that annoys me most about these types of programs is the complete and utter inanity of the red-carpet interviews. Gee, Leonardo DiCaprio is falling all over himself to kiss Martin Scorsese’s ass and praise his filmmaking talents? How very… expected.

And now we need to interview the head honcho of Vogue magazine? A certified film expert, I’m sure.

8:15

Best inane quote from a red carpet interview so far:

“Little Miss Sunshine takes a family of dysfunction and gives us lemonade.”

8:30

Helen Mirren looks fantastic, as does Kate Winslet. Me, I’d show up with a dead Bjork draped around my neck.

8:45

Okay, Ellen’s pretty funny after all. She’s not Jon Stewart… but on the other hand, she’s not Billy Crystal either. I’ll take her. And now, the first award.

Best Art Design.

The nominees:

Dreamgirls
The Good Shepherd
Pan’s Labyrinth
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
The Prestige

Winner: PAN’S LABYRINTH! Yay! It’s a promising start, as the film was one of the most unshakable viewing experiences of the past year for me.

8:53

Will Farrell and Jack Black duet on a song about how much it sucks to be a comedic actor at the Academy Awards. We’re not worthy, folks.

8:57

Achievement in Make-up.

The nominees:

Apocalypto
Pan’s Labyrinth
Click

The winner: PAN’S LABYRINTH. (Again!) I’m sensing a happy trend. At least it’s a good film that’s sweeping the awards this year.

9:06

After a few minor awards, we’re treated to a montage showing us how very important Letters from Iwo Jima is to the grand fate of the world. *sigh* I love this film, but hate this kind of pretentious Oscar showboating. Unfortunately, every other Best Picture nominee will receive the same treatment later in the program, including the trivial Little Miss Sunshine.

9:11

An acapella performance by The Sound Effects Choir? Bizarre, but interesting. Can’t imagine how much effort it took to mic all those people. Not a fun soundcheck, I’m sure.

9:21

Best Supporting Actor.

The nominees:

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Winner: Alan Arkin… by far the least deserving performance. And it’s funny that the narrator specifically mentions Jackie Earle Haley playing a pedophile in Little Children, but never mentions that Alan Arkin plays the same damn thing. And no, you won’t convince me otherwise, so don’t even try.

9:25

Ellen stages a skit, pretending to pass an original screenplay to Martin Scorsese (who looks disturbingly like Woody Allen). The script is supposedly a cross between Goodfellas and Big Momma’s House. The name? Goodmommas. A groaner of a joke, but still amusing.

9:31

James Taylor sings “Our Town” from Cars. I can’t bring myself to care.

9:33

Melissa Ethridge sings “I Need to Wake Up,” from An Inconvenient Truth. It’s a song I liked a lot when I saw the film, but it sounds like ass live. Did they forget to EQ her vocals? She sounds muffled and overly bassy.

9:37

Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio wax philosophical about saving the environment. WTF? Should Scorsese get equal time to plug violence and gunplay? Still, I loved Gore’s fake presidential announcement. Al’s actually a funny guy when he wants to be.

9:46

A tribute via montage to the craft of the screenwriter. Pointless… we’re all hacks, right? It doesn’t take talent to write, merely an unquenchable lust for lucrative paychecks. That’s why I’m so rich.

10:00

So, Bryan just walked in the room and asked why all these people on TV were being given statues of C-3PO whenever they win a prize. I love my kids.

10:24

Before announcing the nominees in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, we’re treated to a ridiculously long montage of clips from other non-English films, nearly all of which are presented silent. So what, er, is the point exactly?

10:34

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees:

Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Winner: Jennifer Hudson! WOW… despite the fact that many predicted her to win, I was actually surprised. (I’m guessing Babel split the vote.) At least Hudson was sincere and humble in her speech, which made me like her more than I did previously. And she was tons better than Halle Berry’s borderline incomprehensible ramblings for a few years ago. (“I am the vessel through which God is channeling this blessing?” WTF?)

10:52

Poor Clint Eastwood. While introducing a lifetime achievement award for his friend Ennio Morricone, Eastwood doesn’t seem to know where he is or what he’s saying. My wife hypothesizes that he’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Even if it’s not true, he was at the very least tremendously off his game tonight. Still in happier news, it was nice to see a “mere” composer get a standing ovation.

11:41

Best Film Editing.

The nominees:

Babel
Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed
United 93

Winner: The Departed

I enjoyed Thelma’s S.’s acceptance speech for The Departed. It was essentially a (tactful) guilt trip on the industry based on the fact that she’s won three Oscars for cutting Scorsese’s films, while the man himself has won none.

11:45

The annual Roll Call of the Dead. Nice to see it end with Robert Altman.

12:10 am

Best Director.

The nominees:

Babel
The Departed
Letters from iwo Jima
The Queen
United 93

Winner: Martin Scorsese for The Departed. (There. Now everyone PLEASE SHUT UP ABOUT IT.)

12:13

Best Picture

The nominees:

Little Miss Sunshine
Babel
The Queen
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima

The winner: The Departed

It could’ve been worse… at least The Departed is tight and suspenseful. I can live with that, even if Letters from Iwo Jima was, for me, the best film of the year.

All in all, a satisfying and entertaining show.

-CSJ

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2 responses to “So here’s how it all went down…

  1. Joe, glad to see you liked Pan’s Labrynth! I’m terribly disappointed that it didn’t win best foreign language film. Do you know anything about the one that did? I can’t imagine it would be better as PL was my favorite film experience in years.

    By the way, I’m thrilled that you started this blog, I usually don’t have time to listen to you podcasts.

    mike

  2. “So, Bryan just walked in the room and asked why all these people on TV were being given statues of C-3PO whenever they win a prize. I love my kids.”

    Dude, I love you kids too. It’s all the the rearing…you’ve done well.

    Anyway, love your re-cap! It saved me the five- hour torture of actually watching the Oscars, which, oddly enough, I try to watch every year despite only having seen one or two of the films that are nominated for anything. Missed it this year, however. Todd and I are moving into a new house, so everything is BAT-SHIT CRAZY.

    I guess Alan Arkin got the “I’m going to die soon” pity vote. I’ve been looking at it this way: Let this Oscar stand for the hilarious and best role of his ever, Sheldon S. Kornpett, D.D.S. in The In-Laws with Peter Falk. The one from 1979. “SERPENTINE, SHEL, SERPENTINE!”

    I also agree with Mike about this blog. I am SO glad you started it. It’s just so much easier for me to interact with it. I just don’t have the time for the podcasts either.

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