Monday, February 25, 2008

Country For Gold Men

Though I could really care less about how Nicole Kidman looks on the red carpet, I annually find myself glued to the tube when the Academy Awards come on. Who minds if it's nearly four hours long? (Wait, don't answer that...) With the writers strike threatening like a thunder cloud, the damn thing almost got washed away. It kinda felt like my duty to halfway laugh at host Jon Stewart's jokes during this 80th edition. While figuring out if Stewart's "Hadolf Tilbert" bit was more funny or tacky, I noticed these 10 other things:

1. Asking Marketa Irglova (above), writer/singer of the Oscar-winning number from Once, to come back on stage because she wasn't given ample time to make her acceptance speech was one of the classiest moves I've ever seen on television.

2. And speaking of time, it's just not fair that some people get 5 seconds (Best Animated Short- Peter & the Wolf) and others get nearly 5 minutes (Best Animated Feature- Ratatouille). Sure, more folks wanna hear what actor Daniel Day-Lewis has to say than the gal who did the set decorations for Swenney Todd. But fair is only fair. The folks behind the scene spend hundreds of hours making sure these flicks look/sound/feel good for us. This is pretty much the only night that their faces are ever seen. Academy, show some love by muzzling Bill Conti's band a bit.

3. Though Day-Lewis (who's absolutely haunting in There Will Be Blood) and No Country For Old Men's Javier Bardem (ditto) were as close to guarantees as to be had on the night, the two men still stood at the podium with modesty and a sense of surprise in their voice. No wonder they received the two highest male acting awards!

4. Did Atonement win anything?! I can't comment much on the picture because I never saw it, but who in the world nominated that movie for the big prizes? None of the entertainment mags said it had a shot. None of my friends or colleagues in journalism had much positive to say about it. None of the unscientific visitor polls thought it deserved to win. Odd, odd, odd.

5. Tilda Swinton won a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role as a spinning PR head for a corrupt company in Michael Clayton. She was solid but she was easily the third most memorable person in that movie. George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson deserved wins more.

6. Seeing Owen Wilson on stage was a pleasant surprise.

7. Watching Norbit go home with nothing was not.

8. I'm still amazed Ruby Dee was nominated for her itsy bitsy time in American Gangster.

9. I still can't believe the creepy guy (Paul Dano) from There Will Be Blood wasn't.

10. I'm embarrassed not to have seen any of the movies nominated for Best Documentary Feature. I promise that Spoiler Room will have reviews for Sicko, War/Dance or Taxi to the Dark Side before it's all said and done though.

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