Troy: You are nicer than I am, I think. While I quite liked Ellen—how can one not quite like Ellen?—the show was edge-free, bland. I realize it's meant to be a tribute to movies, but what about a little spicy sauce? The week in which David Geffen kicked off the Obama vs. Hillary war and not a murmur about it on the Oscar telecast. It was a topic that morning on Face the Nation and Meet the Press but on the Oscar show, nada. Can't imagine Billy Crystal, much less Jon Stewart, would let that gift go unwrapped. (Imagine the Al Gore reaction shots!)
Ellen's little bits about slipping a script to Scorsese and getting Spielberg to take her picture with Clint Eastwood were amusing but hardly water-cooler fodder. Nothing was. That's a problem—a really big problem.
I am nicer than you about Alan Arkin. There were more disappointing speeches (Scorsese), but great actors get to mutter for 45 seconds.
I may be nicer than you about Peter O'Toole. That look on his face smote me.
Those who said Norbit didn't hurt Eddie Murphy must rethink. Also, it would have helped if he had behaved in a more becoming manner at any time during the season. Yes, it's about the performances, but when it comes to campaigning, the academy definitely likes the sauce and they like it sweet.
Best presence overall: the kid from Little Miss Sunshine. She could give lessons in dignity.
The shadow-mimes were fun at first but as things dragged on, it seemed that having them do a sequence of the five nominees right at the top would have been wise.
On a Hollywood politics note, don't think I heard Graham King mention Brad Grey in that thank-you speech when he accepted for best picture. After Grey's quixotic campaign to be recognized as a producer, that omission must have hurt. Maybe King gave him a shout-out on the "thank-you cam."
Here are a few ideas about what needs to happen:
- Sound awards: out—into the technical presentation. Sorry, but they need to go.
- Film montages: out unless they are brilliant and serve a discernable purpose. What was that thing from Michael Mann? Any guesses?
- Put more creative energy into staging the songs, and drop almost all other gimmicks. Make it stop.
- Making Sid Ganis talk fast was a fine idea. This show desperately needs to be streamlined.
The idea of pushing back all acting awards until later in the show might have been a reasonable gamble, but it didn't pay off. The audience needs a little meat early in the proceedings to keep from dozing off.
So, you are much nicer than I am about the show overall. What it lacked most of all—and this is not its fault—was a movie that really excited audiences. People liked The Departed as entertainment, but who loved it? This year, the best picture prize seemed like a tribute vote, which made it about as thrilling as the bestowing of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Until next time,