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|Index||11 reviews in total|
I'm not usually given to hyperbole, but after seeing over two decades
worth of Academy Awards, I can honestly say that this year's awards
show was the most disgraceful example of poor direction, total cruelty,
and sheer stupidity that I've ever had the misfortune to witness. I'm
not talking about the awards themselves- as usual, there is plenty to
argue about when you tally up who won, who lost, and who never even got
nominated, but the process is as it's always been and is as fair as
it's liable to be. What is terribly UNfair is the treatment both the
"stars" and "non-stars" received at the hands of Cates and Horvitz, in
the name of "reducing boredom."
It is bad enough that for the last several years anyone who isn't Al Pacino has been "played off" at 45 seconds without any regard for what he was saying, how he was saying it, and what the emotion was behind the statement. It demonstrates nothing more than a total lack of respect, however, to herd nominees on the stage like cattle without paying them the honor of showing their faces while their names are read, to make them slink away quietly when they lose, to deny them the thrill of a walk to the podium, and to force them to read their statements with their backs to the audience. All of those things were done to the "non-stars" -never mind that the movies wouldn't exist at all without those artists and that most of them only ever get one chance to face their peers and their audience.
The stars didn't fare much better. It's becoming more sad than funny when winners of the caliber of Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood have to beg for a few extra seconds for their speeches. Chris Rock, as host, was neither as inflammatory and controversial as the Academy had hoped, nor nearly as funny as he could be. His opening remarks were almost (but not quite) as offensive as Sean Penn made them out to be, and his comments during the show were more innocuous than interesting. Of course, he could hardly be blamed when it was clear that was being kept on as short a leash as any host has. In the end, Chris Rock was something he's almost never been before: a non-entity.
Even the musical numbers were handled poorly. Beyonce sang well, but there was simply no reason why she should have been featured in three out of the five songs. Another example of utter disrespect for an artist was giving Jorge Drexler's nominated song to Antonio Banderas- even though Drexler was present and clearly wouldn't have minded singing his own song, based on his winning "speech."
The efforts of Cates and Horvitz to make the show shorter and faster may have worked to a degree, but what resulted was a show devoid of life. We've all whined about the overlong speeches given by people we don't know, about the overblown production, about the self-congratulatory quality. But this is THEIR night- not ours. What is meant to be a celebration has become an insult to the people being celebrated. Cates and Horvitz should, frankly, be ashamed.
Many people thought that the 77th Annual Academy Awards were going to
be controversial because of Chris Rock taking over as host this time
around. We all know of Chris Rock's attitute and comic lines, but he
was not as funny as I would have hoped.
To begin with, I was disappointed that neither Passion of the Christ or Phantom of the Opera got Best Picture nominations, instead the Academy nominated The Aviator, Ray, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways and Finding Neverland. The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby went head to head for the Oscar for Best Picture with Million Dollar Baby eventually taking the top prize.
Clint Eastwood won his second Best Director award for Million Dollar Baby, previously winning in 1993 for Unforgiven. Martin Scorcese probably may have been a better choice for directing The Aviator.
In this major breakthrough year for African Americans actors, as expected, comedian Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for his realistic role of real life blues singer Ray Charles in Ray. Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood were also favored to win in the race as well.
As for Best Actress, Hilary Swank took home her second award in that category for Million Dollar Baby. Annette Bening, whom had also previously been nominated with Swank in 1999, was nominated for Being Julia.
For Best Supporting Actor, I personally thought Thomas Haden Church would win for Sideways or Alan Alda for The Aviator. Morgan Freeman took home that award for Million Dollar Baby, a long overdue and also deserved award.
Cate Blacnhett won for her portrayal of screen legend Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. I thought that maybe Natalie Portman would have won for Closer.
Director Sidney Lumet was honored with the Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.
One of my favorite segments was somewhat disappointing, the In Memoriam tribute segment remembering the artists that died the year before was done with a musical solo by Yo Yo Ma, I think his cellist performance was not as good as using the Academy orchestra like in previous years, but the Academy did remember quite a few of Hollywood's dearly departed: Ronald Reagan, Peter Ustinov, Carrie Snodgress, Dan Petrie, Dave Raksin, Fay Wray, Carol Eastman, Elmer Bernstein, Frank Thomas, Russ Meyer, Jerry Orbach, Ralph E. Winters, Robert Thompson, Howard Keel, Janet Leigh, Christopher Reeve, Ossie Davis, Mercedes McCambridge, William Sackheim, Ed DiGullio, Paul Winfield, Philippe de Broca, Jerry Goldsmith, Rodney Dangerfield, Virginia Mayo, Tony Randall and Marlon Brando.
As special tribute was also given to Johnny Carson, who hosted the Oscars in the past.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As is the case every year, the Academy vote for the films, actors etc
that have been adjudged to have been the "best" of the past year. In a
ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock, Million Dollar Baby was head to
head with The Aviator as the two big pictures of the year that threw up
favourites against each other in many categories. Comedian Jamie Foxx
gained two acting nominations for Ray and Collateral in a year that saw
him shake off his "ethnic comedy" roots while smaller films such as
Vera Drake and Sideways try to compete.
And so it was this year that I was forced to watch the highlights of the show because there was no live broadcast available for those of us who do not subscribe to Sky Movies the only way to see it live this year. In previous years the BBC broadcast it live to the whole UK but, word has it, that the American company behind the Oscars did not like the poor presentation from Jonathon Ross et al (it was poor) in 2004 and took the chance to swap it over to another station. God knows what they will have made of the pathetic showing from Jamie Theaston and Sharon Osbourne then they were horrible to watch and I was glad I didn't have to endure the whole ceremony with them. Anyway, as a result of them being all over the highlights show I managed to see very little of the actual ceremony (well done Sky now please give it back to the BBC so we all can see it). However, I quite liked Chris Rock even if I felt he wasn't anything special or interesting; I will always prefer the out and out entertainment value of Billy Crystal rather than the hosts who try and just do stand up material but he was OK. The musical numbers felt like an overdose of Beyonce no matter how easy on the eye she is, four or five songs was probably too much.
The fact that that the show ran shorter by an hour showed that things did work in terms of that but I must admit to just not liking the idea that awards were presented to some people in the aisle of their seats- if their categories are so minor then perhaps they should be done another time like the scientific awards? So to the awards. None of the nominations really stood out to me and the year kind of felt, well, obvious. I quite liked Aviator and Million Dollar Baby but neither was a "great" film and the clambering over them recently had me a bit confused and wondering if I had seen different films from everyone else certainly Baby's best film award did nothing for me at all. Eastwood's direction was deserved even if Scorsese just needs to win one for the sake of his contribution over the past decades. The acting awards for Baby were also deserved but it was hard to ignore that better performances existed in both categories. Foxx has had a great year so fair enough but to me Cheadle was the one who really pushed the boat out and was worth me losing £35 on a 33-1 bet on him. The awards went to the nominees that you would guess Hollywood would give them to there were some close calls here but no real surprises; I only hoped Cheadle would win and I don't think anyone gave things like Sideways etc a cat in hell's chance of winning major awards and spoiling the big boys' party.
Overall the ceremony was OK and the awards were mostly deserved if unsurprising and uninspiring. Chris Rock did OK but will hopefully move over for Crystal to come back again and maybe next years the pick of films will be as wide but also throw up a lot more surprises since this years' was pretty obvious and typical for Hollywood. I'm not too upset I missed the live ceremony on the basis of what I did see but I still say Sky did a poor job and once again used their buying power to show that they want to win viewers by forcing them to buy the packages rather than winning them around. Shoddy at best and made the BBC's messy Jonathon Ross fiasco seem as slick and smooth as silk.
Seriously the only good thing about this year ceremony were the
Although the ceremony itself was pretty short it still was somewhat boring. I think it's seriously time to look for a new director and producers for the show, who can come up with something REALLY new. It's pretty obvious that they tried to make the show more 'hip' and appealing for a younger audience this year by letting Beyonce perform and letting P. Diddy and Prince present a category. Also letting Chris Rock be the presenter was an attempt to re-new the ceremony and make it more appealing. None of it really worked out.
Sure, Chris Rock is a funny guy but he wasn't really a good presenter. I really merely saw him as a guy who just talked every now and then in between of the different categories. His presence wasn't really as 'big' as for instance Billy Crystal's.
Also the handing out of the awards was pretty dumb at times. Not letting everybody come to the stage but also handing out some of the awards in the middle of the theater was plain weird.
Still, I can't remember being any more satisfied with the award winners. None of the movies really swept away the awards as the last couple of years always had been the case. So does that mean it had been a good year for movies with lots of competitive contestants? I don't think so. I think most of the movies will be largely forgotten in 20 years from now, with the exception of "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Passion of the Christ" maybe. Sure I don't agree with every single award that was handed out this year, for instance Caleb Deschanel should had won for best cinematography, not that I don't like Robert Richardson's work, he really did some amazing work for most of Oliver Stone's work but I really feel that Deschanel deserved the award way more. Also I would had liked seeing Jim Miller and Paul Rubell win for best editing and John Debney for best music. But oh well, there is no way the Academy Awards can please everybody of course, I understand that. There will always be people complaining about the winners.
It also was funny to see that most of the award presenters were way more nervous than the nominees and winners. Did Prince said any of the nominees names right at once? And were is Sean Penn's sense of humor? Al Pacino and Jeremy "I hope they missed" Irons were the best presenters of the night.
Overall a very forgettable show but with nice winners.
A day or two after "The 77th Annual Academy Awards", I read an article
in The Wall Street Journal about how Uruguay's new populist president
Tabare Vazquez had just been sworn in. But it said that the thing on
the minds of most Uruguayans was not their new president, but what
happened at the Oscars: Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler didn't get to
perform his nominated song "Al otro lado del rio", so he sang a few
lines when he won.
Aside from that, I wonder just what Martin Scorsese has to do to win an Oscar. I mean, "Million Dollar Baby" was good, but Clint Eastwood had already won an Oscar. As for the whole thing about cutting people off before they have a chance to finish their speeches, what are you gonna do? And I do think that Chris Rock was a pretty good host (but I liked Jon Stewart even better the next year).
All in all, passable.
and giving people Oscars in the audience WAS disrespectful. Did Beyonce have to sing every song but one? Has Hollywood no more singers these days? What about Catherine Zeta-Jones, who used to sing with the Welsh National Opera and won an Oscar (in part) for singing? It turned the Oscars into a Beyonce concert....As to the winners, Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman were really no-brainers, but I was depressed to see the women win who did. Hilary Swank won an Oscar five years ago for playing a butch woman from the wrong side of the tracks, and here she plays the same kind of role and wins again. In between the two awards, her career has really come to nothing, because she is a terribly limited talent. Can she play an l8th Century French aristocrat? No -- but Michelle Pfeiffer can, brilliantly. Can Swank play a turn of the 20th-century suffragette? Nope -- Julia Ormond took every scene away from her in IRONJAWED ANGELS. Swank is a very contemporary American woman, masculine, and not really very attractive. She doesn't seem to have much depth or sophistication. If she can find other roles like these two, she can continue. Meryl Streep she ain't. Annette Bening really deserved to win, whether people liked BEING JULIA or not (I doubt many actually saw it, but it was a tour de force). And while I do admire the multi-talented Cate Blanchett, basically she was doing an imitation of Kate Hepburn; I don't think impersonations deserve Oscars. Virginia Madsen really deserved to win in that category. As to Best Director and Picture, AVIATOR was much more artistic, and Scorsese is to my mind a greater talent. But Eastwood has grown tremendously since his spaghetti western days, and he is popular in Hollywood. Doesn't justify a simplistic boxing movie winning, though.....Thanks for a chance to express my opinions.
I firmly believe that the best Oscar ceremony in recent years was in
2003 for two reasons:
1 ) Host Steve Martin was at his most wittiest: " I saw the teamsters help Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo " and " I'll better not mention the gay mafia in case I wake up with a poodle's head in my bed "
2 ) Surprise winners: No one had Adrien Brody down for best actor ( Genuine applause ) or Roman Polanski for best director ( Genuine jeers and boos ) but they won
Last year's award ceremony wasn't too bad but there was little in the way of surprises and I was happy to see RETURN OF THE KING sweep the awards even if it wasn't the best in the trilogy ( FELLOWSHIP was much better )but what let the BBC coverage down was Jonathan Ross getting a few of his sycophantic mates round and pretending they were hilarious when they were anything but . So when I heard Sky were doing the coverage for British TV I was expecting Barry Norman and Mark Kermode to be doing the links , but instead we ended up with Jamie Theakston and Sharon Osbourne ! Oh gawd if British TV are desperate for film critics ( Obviously they are ) I'm sure both Bob The Moo and Theo Robertson will happily fly over to LA to give their honest opinions on the winners and losers
Chris Rock wasn't too bad , but he's no Steve Martin while the location seemed to resemble a sports hall with seats put in ! Not much of a glitzy arena in my opinion . The main problem I had with the ceremony was the format with the " minor " Oscars handed out to the winners who were sitting in their seats ! There's no such thing as a " minor " Oscar and just because the award is for Best Animated Short or Best Costume Design they're as well deserved as Best Picture or Best Director . All the winners should be allowed to march up to the podium . What a bunch of arrogant snobs the Academy are becoming and I quite agree with the comments that this format is disgraceful and if it wasn't for the surprises this could possibly have been the worst ceremony in history . As for the awards themselves
Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett . No great surprise for a competitive category
Best Supporting Actor - Morgan Freeman . No real complaints since Freeman is one of America's greatest living character actors
Best Actor - Jamie Foxx . Most predictable award of the night . Yawn
Best Actress - Hilary Swank . Major surprise since everyone thought Annette Benning was going to win simply down to academy politics but Swank did deserve it and gave the best speech of the night
Best Director - Clint Eastwood . Major surprise since everyone thought Scorsese was going to get the award simply because he'd never won one . Actually I'm glad about this because if he didn't deserve it for TAXI DRIVER , RAGING BULL or GOODFELLAS he didn't deserve it for THE AVIATOR
Best Film - MILLION DOLLAR BABY . Again another major surprise since everyone thought the academy would split the awards for best director and best picture while I thought the Hollywood friendly plot of THE AVIATOR would have made it a dead cert for Best Picture while MDB's controversial subject matter would have turned a lot of voters off
What these awards perhaps illustrate is that this year the voters have decided to ignore Oscar politics and genuinely give out awards to people who deserve it something they haven't done in the past , I mean A BEAUTIFUL MIND beating THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING for gawd's sake ! And long may the academy vote with their heads instead of their hearts
1.Beyonce singing every nominated song was a bit irritating but then again you would be to if you had a voice like that...But her french was horrible"take some french lessons girl" 2.It was nice to see some DIVERSITY in the nominations believe race does matter in the academy.therefore it was great to see Jamie Foxx & Morgan Freeman walk away with the statues 3.It was high time the ever so great underrated Morgan Freeman get recognition and the brilliant Cate Blanchett as well 4.The lowest point was Hilary winning the best actress award,don't get me wrong she was great in the role but did she need a second Oscar especially for this role Imelda & Annette were way better in their performance than she is.Never had a false win made more angry than Nicole kidmans"The Hours" win over Julianne Moore"Far from Heaven" two years ago. 5.Chris rock rocked though
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fun, fun, fun! This is entertainment for the whole family! Twisted
twists in the plot and oh-so-lovely musical numbers! I fell in love
with this movie in the first instance I saw it.
The Chris Rock monologue in the middle of the beginning is the most hilarious thing ever written for any event. I mean, the way he improvises as being Clapton is bloated, yet silly. Way to go, Chris, way to go.
The only problem I have with this film is that there doesn't seem to be a coherent plot in this movie. I mean, it's spectacular to look at (I know because I took my whole family to see it!), but still, it should be written in the books of law that there should be a plot. I mean, all the shooting and Jeremy Irons grinning, those moments are exploitation, but those flaws aside, this is the best time I've ever had in the cinema!
I was a little concerned during parts of the show that it was going to
be swept up by The Aviator, it seemed like just about every category
was going to something from that movie. It is understandable since it
is such a great film, but the competition for awards this year included
an unusually high number of great films. The Aviator, Million Dollar
Baby, Finding Neverland, and Ray all deserved the Best Picture Oscar,
for example. And so did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by the
way. Here's an interesting little factoid Eternal Sunshine received
six times as many votes by IMDb users for Best Picture than The
Chris Rock delivered a completely unexciting performance as probably the most anticipated host the Academy Awards has seen in years, at least in terms of the potential for controversy. People were afraid he was going to do something obscene or vulgar, and all he did was get up there and make a lot of bland, dumb jokes like so many others before him. He had some moments, but I know that he is a much, much funnier man than the one we saw during the show. For much of the second half he seemed to disappear completely.
Pierce Brosnan was the only person forced to announce an award winner alongside a wildly unamusing animated cohost, which was one of the options that the IMDb gave in a daily poll that asked what event would make you immediately turn off the show. Interestingly enough, another option was if someone referred to Million Dollar Baby as some gigantic cliché like "a knockout," which strikes me as funny now because, in announcing the winners, the quote on the IMDb home page is "With a one, two, three punch Million Dollar Baby proved to be the one, the darling of the Academy as Clint Eastwood's boxing drama put the competition out for the count." Clever.
I was glad to see Eternal Sunshine awarded in the Best Screenplay category, although I think it deserved more. I also agreed with most of the main acting categories, which is rare, although I was surprised that Jamie Foxx won Best Actor, I was sure he was going to win Best Supporting Actor for Collateral, if only because I really think Don Cheadle deserves an Oscar for his performance in Hotel Rwanda, which was brilliant all around. But Foxx delivered an astonishing performance in Ray as well, and it was also good to see Morgan Freeman recognized for his work in Million Dollar Baby.
Troy should have won costume design over The Aviator, The Passion of the Christ should have won Best Makeup over A Series of Unfortunate Events, I, Robot should have won over Spiderman 2 for Visual Effects, and I really think SuperSize Me should have won Best Documentary, although I haven't seen any of the other nominees, so what do I know. These are just a few categories that I had other opinions on, but I really had a problem with the Best Foreign Film category this year. I haven't seen any of the films in the category, so I won't say that they don't deserve to have been nominated. I'm sure they do, in fact. But here are a few films that not even recognized Hero, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Maria Full of Grace. What is that? The Motorcycle Diaries certainly deserved much more than recognition than Best Original Song. Catalina Sandina Moreno was at least nominated for Best Actress, but how about Hero for Cinematography or Art Direction? Anyone with me on this?
Oh, that's right. The Motorcycle Diaries wasn't exactly a foreign film, and Hero was originally released in 2002. But still.
Ah, nobody cares. The winners won and that's the end of it, I'm just another in an endless line of people who have to rant and rave about how it should have gone. But I should mention that while I disagreed with some of the awards this year, it's like that any year and I think that all of the winners this year deserved the Oscars that they were awarded. There were just so many other films and people that deserved so much more than they got. Just see them all, that's my solution.
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