Feb 26, 2007

No Surprises

This is so boring I don't even know why I'm posting it. But we're glad they are over. The Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres was charming and enjoyable and entertaining but toothless. I have to say though that the ceremony seemed better, much less cloyingly, alarmingly corny than in other years. The Pilobolus stuff was cute, the musical numbers were kept to a minimum. Beyonce rocks.
One thing that surprised me was that except for best director and best movie, I believe, you couldn't really tell from the presenters who was going to win. Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway presented the costume award but it went to the great Milena Canonero for Marie Antoinette, and not for their own movie. That was refreshing. Maybe the fact that the Europeans Daniel Craig and Eva Green announced the foreign film meant it was going to Germany. Maybe. But when we all saw Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola announce the best director, of course it was going to Scorsese. Obvious.
Very happy for Alan Arkin and for Martin Scorsese. Although the best picture of the year for me was either The Queen or United 93.
The Mexican contingent got technical awards for Guillermo del Toro but nothing else. I wonder if my countrymen on the other side of the border are feeling totally deflated, but then again, if they are, they are used to it.
That The Inconvenient Truth won best documentary is no surprise. Global warming is the designated cause celebre of the moment and this prize is a tacky exercise in Hollywood self-congratulation. The film is a lecture and it's not even good. Iraq in Fragments should have won. But except for one person who gave a speech, nobody seemed to remember that there is a war going on with Americans in it.
I can't believe cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men) lost for the fourth time, this time to a compatriot, Guillermo Navarro. Rodrigo Prieto should have been nominated for Babel, but then that would really be too many Mexicans in one category. Babel got best music as consolation prize, which sucks because as much as I like and admire Gustavo Santaolalla, his score for Babel is not that different from his score for Brokeback. I'm afraid he may have the Ennio Morricone (what a pompous bore, that man) syndrome, who rips himself off generously. Of all the music nominees, I thought Babel was the weakest. And speaking of Babel, much ado about nothing: seven nominations and only one prize. Next time perhaps people may want to nominate only those categories that deserve it. In Babel's case in my view Adriana Barraza, Rinko Kikuchi, the editors and Rodrigo Prieto deserved a mention. That's it.
I think the Three Amigos appearing everywhere together is starting to get a little old and makes me slightly queasy. The three of them are distinctly talented people, they don't really need to bunch up and repeat the same old tired joke about Alejandro G.I. being the most handsome of the three. They don't need to market themselves as if Mexicans only came in trios, unless they are plotting something.
I knew Little Miss Sunshine was going to get best original screenplay because it was not going to get best movie. Is it better than the perfect screenplay for The Queen, by Peter Morgan? No, but I was happy for the movie and the writer. I thought Borat would get a prize for good box office in the best adapted screenplay, but that went to William Monaghan for The Departed. Fair enough.
There was justice in that the German film The Lives of Others won for foreign film. I am partial to Indigenes, but the German film is certainly a much better movie than Pan's Labyrinth.
The best acting prizes were totally predictable. It would have been great if Meryl Streep upset Helen Mirren, but Mirren deserved it. The problem with the proliferation of pre-Oscar awards is that by the time the Oscars come around everybody already knows the outcome and the awardees have way too many statuettes in their closets. So Mirren and Whittaker winning were no surprise for anyone. I was just glad to see Peter O'Toole lose (for the 8th time!). I don't know why I dislike him intensely. Always have.
We had Oscar night at the movie club, which was well attended and great fun, even though I noticed that everybody talked all through the show and was eerily quiet during the commercial breaks.
The dresses:
Everybody pretty much looked gorgeous except for three people:
• Cameron Diaz looked like a napkin with badly applied self tanner. Hideous hair, hideous hair color, hideous tan, hideous dress.
• Nicole Kidman wants to be Amanda Lepore when she grows up, which is not only scary, but horribly sad. Her cheeks and lips looked like plastic balloons, her face was puffed up, she looked frightening. It didn't help that she was next to Naomi Watts, who was, as always, very pretty.
• Jennifer Lopez. Horrid Mexican mother-in-law hair, horrid dress.
Actually we should thank them for providing something to talk about, because nowadays everyone is so polished and so perfect, there are no idiosyncratic choices anymore. It makes you miss Cher, or Bjork.
Gorgeous dresses: Cate Blanchett, Penelope Cruz, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhall, Gwyneth.
The guys, they all look good in a tux.

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