In any case, I'm glad to report that we survived the evening due to important quantities of beer, good food and Jon Stewart, who was classy, funny and appropriate and I would have liked to see more of him.
The big upset of the night was no upset at all, of course. In the end, the Academy could not bring itself to vote for the more controversial choice and to make the more courageous statement. They just gazed at their glamorous navels and congratulated themselves for living in a town that thrives on racist fenderbenders. They knew that in good conscience they couldn't be as cynical as to anoint the gay tolerance message when Hollywood won't easily employ homosexual stars, with a few brave (Ellen de Generes) or obvious (Alan Cumming) exceptions. So they went for the toothless choice. I'm sorry, but racism in the Oscars is so yesterday, so In The Heat of the Night, plus Crash is a crappy, bogus, fake, ridiculous movie whose only saving grace is its exceptional ensemble cast. But for some reason, the Academy likes Paul Higgis' heavyhanded scripts a lot (either that or I wonder who he's blowing). Just witness his script for last year's winner, the AWFUL Million Dollar Baby.
Now, for my very smart and astute readers this may be stale news, but yesterday I confirmed what I have always suspected: it is an utter lie that the producers of the show don't know what's on the envelopes. In fact, you can guess many of the outcomes within a 100% degree of accuracy to judge from whoever presents the category. For instance: Salma Hayek, wearing a dress twelve sizes smaller than her bazoombas, presented the musical score nominees. There were two Latins in the group so it stands to reason one of them would win. Sure enough, Gustavo Santaolalla of Brokeback won, quite deservedly. Then the amazing Queen Latifah presents the nominees for best song. You could bet your sweet ass that it wasn't going to go to Dolly Parton or the other white chick. Sure enough, it went to the rap group, who lost what little street cred they had with that unfortunate musical number that looked like it was staged for a Sunday afternoon at Epcot Center. When I saw that Jack Nicholson was presenting the best picture nominees, I immediately knew it was going to Crash: the LA connection. So why keep pretending that those two nerds from Price Waterhouse Coopers have anything other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in those briefcases? It's very annoying.
I knew Brokeback was in trouble when Michelle Williams didn't win for best supporting actress, just as Clooney knew he wasn't going to win best director after getting his Oscar for acting. We're glad for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, not surprised by Reese, the golden girl, who almost made an ass of herself as seems to be traditional in the best actress category, trying to make a feminist statement about women, but she corrected course and managed to thank her grumpy co-star Joaquin Phoenix and her long suffering husband Ryan Phillippe.
The worst faux pas of the night, however, belonged to the sour Ang Lee, who thanked Annie Proulx and the writers of the script for bringing to life characters who didn't exist and never mentioned the two great guys who actually did it onscreen, flesh and blood and tongue kissing included. It was horrible, and unforgiveable; compounded by the fact, that as he spoke, the camera froze in on Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, whose stony faces were growing ashier every second this putz neglected to thank them. He should blow them from here to eternity for that one. Loser.
We knew it was going to be the Penguins for best documentary and anything but Paradise Now for best foreign film. It's not that good a movie, but it was some kind of statement from the Jewish Liberal Media Conspiracy. Nice, halfhearted try. The winner was Tsotsi, probably another treacly spectacle, but again it's a safe choice not to pit nazis vs suicide bombers. Also, it is refreshing not to have a Holocaust topic get the prize, even if the German movie is supposed to be actually quite good.
The day the show's producers kill the musical numbers, we shall finally witness a miracle.
I loved the obits, which are one of my favorite parts. Can't believe Shelley Winters is no longer with us. Bummer! I liked the montages too, but I couldn't understand how they related to the proceedings. I loved the woman who thanked the Academy for sitting her next to George Clooney at the nominees' luncheon. I hear you, sister! I loved Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin doing a graceful Altmanesque riff as they presented Robert Altman with his kiss of death statuette. Also, Dustin Hoffman ad libbing and giving a hand to the losers. He's funny.
All in all, it was actually better than last year, perhaps because the movies were slightly less awful. I can't believe nobody in the rest of America has seen these films. What the hell do they watch? It's a rhetorical question, people, I know what they watch. The caca that Hollywood feeds them. Have you ever seen what they play at the multiplexes in suburbialand? It is freaking scary. But then the President of the Academy has the gall to chastize people about how they should not watch movies on DVD. The chutzpah! Hey, pal, perhaps if you didn't charge almost 12 bucks a ticket, we'd go to the movies more often. Perhaps if you didn't lobotomize people with dreck like Cheaper by the Dozen IV, more people would watch the movies that do deserve awards. And perhaps if you hadn't overlooked King Kong, or other good movies (like The 40 Year-Old Virgin) that are not insufferably high-minded, you'd have more people watching the Oscars.
Uma Thurman. It is a testament to that dress and how she wore it that she made a roomful of women gasp in amazement as she sashayed towards the mike.
Runners up: Reese, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Garner, Keira Knightley, Meryl Streep.
Multiple tie: Helena Bonham Carter, who also wins for worst hair, worst shoes and ugliest husband.
Diana Ossana, with a dress from the sales rack at Loehmann's.
Poor Felicity Huffman, who seems like a really nice person, looking as if a bunch of satin draperies had fallen on top of her.
Charlize Theron looked like a giant box of chocolates.
Naomi Watts looked like she tried to shred her way out of that dress, like a desperate mummy.
J.Lo looked like a giant, humorless cactus. Hair pulled back to such a degree, it's considered plastic surgery.
Men Looking Good:
Clooney, Terrence Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, David Strathairn, Sam Jackson, Steve Carell.