Whether it was my final slip into indifference with the AMPAS or just because I'm always happy for anything nice that happens to laid-back, professionally-spirited New Zealanders, I have few quibbles with last night's battering ram. (Even Tim Robbins, who you could always spot acting in Mystic, even went fine with me; maybe the sudden attention will wake him up from the stupor he's been in for the last decade.) Clocking in at just under 3 3/4 hours and conspicuously missing of too too many Chuck Workman montages, the night moved by at a fast clip -- all the better to predict how little time would go by before LOTR: ROTK would receive another trophy. Amongst my LOTR: Extended Edition DVD-owning Oscar company, these dudes were no less than deities, and their more or less total lack of drug habits and flaming egos meant that the ceremony was less embarrassing. And also as boring as watching flies fuck.
Seeing how I was fatally distracted during the first hour and change, here's some of my faves:
- The "In Memorium" montage (natch -- is this not the only real reason to watch the Oscars?). Fitted with an unfortunately-sized connundrum as to which titan would wind up with the final spot -- Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck or Bob Hope? -- the Oscars did the clever thing, giving them one winsome montage each. (And the "winner": Donald O'Connor!) Stan Brakhage got the notice he should've gotten last year (he died on 9 March, 2003 and the Oscars were on 23 March; to look at it optimistically, maybe the deadline was earlier). Meanwhile, Leni Riefenstahl was intriguingly paired up with Elia Kazan -- connection?
- Liv Tyler can't read and talk at the same time.
- Billy Crystal personally issued an apology to Bill Murray for losing to Sean Penn. Why? Murray looked impatient because he's Bill Murray, Man Who Throws Away Scripts and Ad-Libs.
- Not entirely sure why they're giving Blake Edwards an Honorary Goldie (hello, Switch, Skin Deep, One Last Gravedigging Expedition Into the Pink Panther Treasure Chest) but nifty entrance and uncharacterstically gonzo intro from Jim Carrey (who's, incidentally, hereby forgiven for every transgression, past and maybe future, thanks to his next movie).
- The song performances, if not the songs, are the strongest in...ever? From the pop-ups from T. Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello to some dude playing a bike during the Triplets of Belville song (which so kicked much more ass in the movie), the evening was distinctly lacking in power ballads and cringe-inducing gimmickry. One thing, though: if they were smarter, Mitch and Mickey would've taken The Kiss up another notch. Why not act as though they were doing it a second time (the one in the movie being the first) and have, say, Mickey shoot him a petrified look, indicating "Um, we're not doing this again, are we? Aaaargggghhhhh!!!!" Just a suggestion.
- Adrien Brody trotted out the same lame joke -- twice. Would've worked had he looked like he came up with the idea personally.
- Fran Walsh: If you and Peter Jackson ever (god forbid) bust apart, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hey, remember how we all thought Sofia Coppola sucked in that movie? Well, she's now really talented! How about that? And did you know she was Francis Ford Coppola's daughter? He sells wine! But Sofia, she's really come into her own -- first woman nominated for Best Director and everything! And she's Francis' daughter! And she's so good now! And she's a Coppola! And her movie was cool!, etc.
- Wong-Kar Wai gets name-dropped at the Oscars. Alongside Antonioni and Godard to boot. Thanks, Sofia!
- Errol Morris apparently played that uppity mohel on that Seinfeld episode. Unlike his likeminded Doc-winning predecessor, he didn't merely try to proddle and provoke with his Message -- after all, he had already done that with his now-extinguished Oscar obscurity.
- There's some things you gotta be presumptuous about, Spicoli.
Currently accepting thank-yous for not mentioning the frocks.