February 26, 2007

79th Academy Awards: The Fallout

Another year has come and gone, there were a few surprises, but most of the big ones fell in the manner that I thought they would. So, the show was a little predictable, and some of the year's best weren't recognized where I expected them to be, and some were not even nominated in the correct categories, but overall, all of the winners were more or less deserving of their recognition. My final tally had me correctly predicting fourteen of the twenty-four categories, although two of those were fudged a little.

I watch the Oscars for the movies, to see who will win, to see what upsets shake out, and perhaps an interesting speech or two. I cannot say that the speeches held me in thrall, although it was great to see Marty Scorsese holding the statue after all these years of waiting. What I don't really watch for is the fashion, who's wearing who, and all of that other nonsense which makes it a must watch for so many people (like my mother who only cares about the pre-show red carpet).

Before getting to the awards proper, let's kick off with some observations on the show. First off, Ellen Degeneres was fantastic. She was funny, kept the long show going, and has this wonderfully vibrant charisma that just leaps off the screen. Her interactions with anyone she spoke to was excellent, I loved her in the crowd with Marty, and Clint, and Steven, the bit with the shadow performers was humorous, as was her opening monlogue. Speaking of those shadow people, that was entertainingly weird, and delightfully imaginative, particularly Snakes on a Plane. The musical interlude with Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Reilley was sublime, and the subtle way they alluded to just how sexy Helen Mirren was wonderful. And she was, wasn't she? I would not hesitate to say that she is quite a sexy woman, well, maybe if she was still in full Queen gear. Watching Will Smith watch his son as a presenter had to put a smile on your face. How many montages do we need to see? Sure, they are very nicely produced, but with all the complaints of show length, these do not help. Do you think having Coppola, Lucas, and Spielberg present Best Director tipped who was going to win?

By the way, anyone else get the willies at the site of smiley, shade wearing, bald Jack?

I guess I should comment a bit on the ones that I got wrong. Highlighting my list of misses would have to be the Best Foreign Language film. I knew it was going to be a two movie race, especially once Volver was not among the nominees, it was between Pan's Labyrinth and The Lives of Others. I would have sworn the del Toro fantasy was going to take the prize, it had great momentum going in, only to have it taken away by Germany's entry, which I hear is a wonderful movie, I just love Pan's Labyrinth. Needless to say, I was disappointed and surprised with this turn of events. The other big surprise, well sort of, was Best Supporting Actor. I was sure that Eddie Murphy would take it for his excellent turn in Dreamgirls, but then along comes Alan Arkin, who had a wonderful performance of his own in Little Miss Sunshine. Murphy seemed to have it all going for him, but in the days leading up, it seemed like Arkin's stock was rising, and so it did, taking the award. I am not that disappointed in this turn, maybe a little shocked, but so goes the night. Congratulations Mr. Arkin.

On another note, and not as potentially disappointing as those first two were, along comes Best Animated Feature. I was sure that Cars was going to win, even though I would prefer either of the other nominees, in particular Monster House. So, I was a little surprised at the Happy Feet announcement. The last one I want to mention is best score. Gustuavo Santaolalla? Really? You are kidding, right? No? Oh well. First, I cannot believe he won last year for the lame Brokeback Mountain score. At least this work is better, but it pales next to Phillip Glass' Notes on a Scandal and Javier Navarrete's Pan's Labyrinth. And those pale next to the not nominated The Fountain score from Clint Mansell. Sorry, don't buy this win.

You know, I thought about commenting on the ones that I got right, but what is the point? We all know who won. Suffice to say, I was happy to see The Departed win Director and Picture among its four wins, even though I did not have them at the tops of my favorites of the year list (they weren't among the nominees). I am also happy to see Pan's Labyrinth walk away with three statues.

When it all comes down to it, it was a relatively predictable night. There were some minor surprises along the way, mixed in with the big ones. Honestly, who pegged Marie Antoinette to win a prize? There were disappointments, mainly Children of Men being shut out, I really wanted it to take Cinematography. The big ones fell the only way that they really could, and Ellen kept the festivities moving and entertaining.

Now, what do we have to look forward to next year? Will 300 be impressive? Will early quality flicks like Breach and Bridge to Terabithia be relevant come awards season? Will Shrek the Third be up for Best Animated Feature? Oh, so many movies, whereever will I find enough time?


RC said...

i too was discontent with the bable win in the score catagory.

although despalt's queen score was very very annoying.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

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