Star-studded even elevated by presence of Olivia de Havilland...
Despite the muted tone of the 75th Academy Awards, there were some outstanding moments and here are a few of the observations I care to make on the whole affair:
1) Adding not a bit of class to the televised event was CAMERON DIAZ, busily chewing gum and staring vacantly at some of the old-time presenters, as though she either didn't recognize them or didn't appreciate that they were a part of film history;
2) ADRIEN BRODY giving a genuinely heart-felt acceptance speech, including the surprisingly passionate kiss for Halle Berry! Talk about taking advantage of a situation, but at least he was honest about it;
3) MICHAEL MOORE making a complete jackass of himself by taking the stage to receive an award (for a non-documentary, by the way), and then erupting into a tirade against President Bush and the war that was greeted at first with abashed silence and then a round of well-deserved boos from the overwhelmingly liberal Hollywood crowd;
4) OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND receiving a standing ovation and still radiating good health and classic loveliness even with silver-white hair as she presented 59 of the past winners. Among the missing: ELIZABETH TAYLOR, which was just as well considering her diamonds would have weighed her down, even if she was sitting in a wheelchair, and would have called for even more of a bodyguard atmosphere than usual;
5) Among those who didn't look so well (some even shockingly bad), were KARL MALDEN, JENNIFER JONES (who looked like a wax figure), TERESA WRIGHT, GEORGE CHAKIRIS (another wax figure), KIRK DOUGLAS, DUSTIN Hoffman, PATRICIA NEAL and CLIFF ROBERTSON.
Although it was good to see a stage full of former winners, one couldn't help noticing how few of them resembled their former selves on screen.
STEVE MARTIN did an okay job as presenter, easily rebuffing Michael Moore with a clever comeback line about the Mafia, but unfortunately veering into tasteless territory with his jokes about MICKEY ROONEY's age or the sexual ambiguities of stars like JACK NICHOLSON and others.
I was especially impresssed with one of de Havilland's comments after observing that much had changed since the earlier times. "What hasn't changed," she said, in her gentle tone, "is our love of the movies. They inspire us and help us through troubled times." She's done so many Oscar shows as presenter (not to mention winner) and is always a reminder of how classy Hollywood performers used to be.
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