My Ain True Oscars

Chatting About the Oscars

My Ain True Oscars

Chatting About the Oscars

My Ain True Oscars
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March 1 2004 11:30 AM

Chatting About the Oscars

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Well, that was … predictable. I mean, I didn't predict it all, but you did. There was even a sense of expectation among some of the winners that took away from the momentousness of the occasion. Can you imagine how Charlize Theron would have reacted had she not heard her name?

Biggest Embarrassment: the red-carpet show. Someone should be jailed for it. I remember when Chris Connelly was a fun guy, but asking Jude Law why Cold Mountain was so "nominatable" when the story of the year was how undernominated it was flustered even the star. Then Connelly used the word "competish." The brainless giggly gal with the cleavage was bearable, but Billy Bush needs to be hooked up with Mel Gibson for a private scourging party. It looked as if Angelina Jolie was ready to order a hit on him, and Naomi Watts never recovered from "Watts up?"

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Best Reason for the Unapologetically Crude Ogling of Giant Ta-Tas: La Sarandon. I mean, my God. In that dress, standing beside those two healthy-looking boys of hers. Mama mia.

Most Insensitive Billy Crystal Moment: Early, in the technically impressive but unfunny opening montage, saying, "This isn't the way to the Oscars" as he's driven off in the Mystic River car. That's what the Oscars need—more child-molester jokes! Runner up: throwing the spotlight on Bill Murray after he'd lost. Crystal is rather punitive when it comes to fellow comedians getting nominations.

Most Honorable Ducking of an Issue: Crystal defusing the Mel Gibson thing with a so-so joke about the movie having a "good Friday" and then leaving it alone. Mel didn't show up because, according to his spokesman, he had to be out promoting the film. And we all know that the last place you'd ever want to promote a film would be in front of a billion people at the Academy Awards.

Best Crystal Joke: coming and going as he pleased, "kind of like being in the Texas National Guard." Runner-up: His excellent Robin Williams impersonation.

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Best Reason To Wish That Someone Else Had Hosted This Year: his excellent Robin Williams impersonation.

Even Better Reason To Wish That Someone Else Had Hosted This Year: Jack Black.

Best Syllable: Will Ferrell pronouncing "Sting" with an exquisite rasp of awe.

Best Presenter Routine: Black and Ferrell singing the Boring Song and being anything but.

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Best Song: "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow." A nice tonic to see Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy performing in character instead of working to pass themselves off as real, like everyone else. (Speaking of real, it was nice to see Annette O'Toole again, if only in two quick shots. She's missed.

Smallest Shoulders: Blake Edwards.

Best Iconic Image: The San Francisco Wedding Cake.

Worst Iconic Image: Stiller and Wilson, the angry Jew and the golden pothead.

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Most Whorish Use of Irony: Wilson chiding Stiller for wanting to promote Starsky and Hutch.

Most Insufferable Acceptance Speech: Erroll Morris. Not because of the rabbit-hole line—that's fair, given the subject of his movie. It was the peevishness with which he said, "Thank you for finally recognizing my films." At that moment, a few thousand voters probably regretted that they had.

Most Tiny Touching Moment: Renée Zellweger slipping her folded-up speech out of her purse after she heard her name. Something very human about that. It was also sweet that she thanked both Nicole and Tom without acknowledging the awkwardness of that (while the camera vainly searched Kidman's frozen face for a flicker of emotion).

Hillary Clinton Award for Most Inhumanly Disciplined On-Message Performer: Nicole Kidman.

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Most Prominent Fashion Trend: Mermaid gowns. Thank God the women were tall enough to pull them off. In fact, they were so much taller than all the hobbity men.

Clearest Reason Why Brits Win Acting Awards: Ian McKellen introducing a Return of the King clip and breezing through the periods (or, as the English say, "full stops"), observing the meter over the punctuation. You never know what they're saying but it sounds lovely.

Biggest Fashion Mistake: Liv Tyler, with four things going on above the neck—assymetrical hair, glasses, dangly earrings, choker.

Most Uncomfortable Presence: Sofia Coppola. Fetching in her awkwardness, but as soon as she began to speak, the absurdity of her dad's casting her in Godfather III became even more apparent. I still think: What a thing to do to your kid.

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Still Unfunny: Bob Hope.

Still Gorgeous: Katharine Hepburn.

Still Clueless: Julia Roberts, adding her personal stamp to Hepburn's observation that "acting is the most minor of gifts." Julia seemed to think it was her job to make the thoughts the writers had handed her convincingly her own. It made her acting seem phonier in hindsight.

Oh yeah, I haven't seen so much kiwi since California Cuisine in the mid '80s.

Do you have any awards of your own?

David

David Edelstein is Slate's film critic. Lynda Obst is a producer at Paramount Pictures and author of Hello, He Lied. She can be reached through her Web site, LyndaObst.com.