Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the 2008 oscars: my 1/50 of a U.S. dollar

So, it's been now just over a week since the Oscars have come and gone, and like I have most years, this year I holed up beside my TV with wine and white trash picnic food. The hullabaloo about "will there or won't there be an Oscars this year?!?" because of the increasingly self-indulgent WGA strike seemed like such a moot point. Like all things in the media (re: Clinton vs. Obama), it was being made a much bigger deal than it actually was. Once upon a time, the Oscars wasn't even televised at all, so why would there be concern? If actors threaten not to show up because of the strike.... then don't televise it! Let them have the damn ceremony anyway. It would be better than the embarrassing auto-fellatio of the Golden Globes "press conference" this year which announced the winners in lieu of the typical drinking party. I couldn't get past more than five minutes of that without my stomach turning.

But I'm beating a dead horse. These were all potential snags which in the end didn't happen. The Oscars was its usual slightly-boring self (hence the necessity for wine and frito pie). Everyone got prettied up, awards went to mostly everyone that was expected (bravo to you people who chose Tilda Swinton in your respective Oscar pools), the hosting and presentation of awards was unmemorable, blah blah blah.

And now, my belated thoughts on some of the movies that were nominated and awarded:

*** Cate Blanchett. It’s no secret I love her. That said, I thought I’m Not There was kind of slow, maybe too self-indulgent with it’s Bob-Dylan-but-wait-it’s-not-Bob-Dylan premise, and too much a blitz of ACTING!!! on behalf of each and every one of the main cast. So, I thought her performance in the film was more of a hat-trick (re: acting for the sake of acting) than something passionate and transcendent. Also: Why is everyone hating on Elizabeth: The Golden Age? The movie, folks, really wasn’t terrible at all, but people felt the need to beat up on it anyway. That, and Blanchett’s fiery performance plays as a nice evolution from the first Elizabeth and was certainly deserving of the nomination she got. (Oscar trivia: Three women over the last twenty-ish years to be nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year (Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, and this year Cate Blanchett) have had a three-for-three losing streak. All the men who’ve been nominated twice for acting in the Oscars' history, though, have won at least one of their categories.)

*** Juno. Cute movie. I quite liked it. Best Picture worthy? Hell no. I find it somewhat disturbing that when teenage pregnancy is depicted on film or television, it’s usually a cute romp (re: Saved!, Juno).... except that’s almost resolutely NOT how it happens in real life. I think it’d be a bigger challenge to show how teenage pregnancy actually plays, sans the usual sass-talking precocious teenager. I’m getting a little tired of too-wise-for-their-age acid-tongued teens in movies; I think they show up so much because that’s how writers and producers wished they were as teenagers, and not a reflection of how the vast majority of teenagers actually are. My marks against Juno are mostly about the quippy dialogue (aside from Dwight Schrute playing Dwight Schrute, a character that doesn’t even belong in the world that Juno establishes, and is one of the most derailing openings to a movie I have ever seen).... most reviled by me is the line “honest to blog”, which I have a hard time hearing aloud let alone allowing myself to believe that kids think that that’s cool to say. Also: Diablo Cody, writer of Juno, wins Best Original Screenplay, and accepts the award dressed like Pebbles Flintstone. Last week’s "Saturday Night Live" offered a brilliant parody during Ellen Page’s (star of Juno, host of last week’s "SNL") opening monologue, with Andy Samberg dressed in Diablo Cody drag. Samberg’s firing of the tiresome over-witty dialogue from Juno (including “honest to blog”) was pitch-perfect, and offered a much needed lambaste of a film whose detractors have been driven into hiding.

*** Tilda Swinton. Great actress. She looked like a cadaver.

*** No Country For Old Men. Great movie. Even greater book. Nice to see Cormac McCarthy in the audience be the first to stand and applaud for them.... because it’s his story, after all. Too bad the Coen Brothers won Best Adapted Screenplay.... the adaptation is so faithful they practically dropped McCarthy’s book into an automatic screenplay generator. I think another film deserved the award instead (Away From Her, anyone?).

*** Gary Busey kissed Jennifer Garner’s neck on the red carpet. Inappropriate: absolutely. Reflection of what we all deep-down wanted to do: absolutely.

In other news, I’m (hopefully) jumping back on the blog wagon after a hiatus to be a writer. Now the book is done, so I can turn my writerly hobby to more cynical pursuits.