|Index||7 reviews in total|
I have been watching the Oscars on TV ever since I was a kid, and a lot
has changed since then, some things for the better: the elimination of
those ridiculous musical numbers, the pairing of two presenter celebs
who were forced to exchange tepid, forced, non-witty repartee before
finally reading the names of the nominees and announcing the winner,
things like that - and one thing, unfortunately, has changed for the
worst: the 30-second acceptance speech rule for the winners.
This single act has, in my opinion, ruined every award show that it's been used on in the past few years. The producers say it's a time constraint deal, that without it the winners would just drone on and on, actually getting to enjoy their moment of glory, and the show would run too long, costing the network more money. This excuse doesn't hold water though, because so much time is still wasted, what with all the special presentations, the singing of the nominated songs, blah blah blah. This valuable time could be used to allow the winners to talk, rather than having them up there either (a) rushing like maniacs to shut up before the clock ticks off their allotted seconds, or (b) refusing to kowtow and trying to actually say what they would like to say under the gun of the dreaded ORCHESTRA MUSIC starting to play after their 30 seconds and continuing to get louder and louder until they shut the $#!* up and get the hell off.
I feel that the producers of these shows have completely lost sight of what makes an award show good, what provides the actual GUTS of the show: it's the winners, getting to share with the audience how thrilled, moved, excited, etc., they are to be singled out for this honor. Depriving them by forcing them to speak for only 30 seconds is a crime, in my opinion. And to the people who complain that the show is too long, the speeches go on too long, I say they shouldn't be watching. The Oscars is a show for hardcore movie lovers, and to try to reduce it to a lowest-common-denominator presentation destroys the entire purpose of the show, strips it of its meaning and renders it useless. You might as well be watching a car commercial.
Coming on the heels of the great writer's strike in Hollywood, the 2007
Academy Awards ceremony began amidst wonder about what it would be
like, after the Golden Globes, I think, was presented as a bare bones
ceremony to which few people showed up. I didn't pay much attention to
the writer's strike, partly because I'm living in the middle of China
at the moment and partly because I just don't see what the big
screaming deal is. Maybe it's because I work for a living so it's hard
for me to understand the unjust plight of people who get paid 100 times
what I make to sit at home and write jokes. Anyway, John Stewart, again
the Oscars' host, introduces the show by exclaiming, "You're here! I
can't believe you're here!" He then, of course, goes on to ridicule the
whole fiasco, clearly touching some nerves but hopefully lightening the
tone a little as well.
As usual, Stewart has some great jokes ("What a shame, Titler had some great ideas! He just couldn't get past the name .and the mustache "), and some that just clearly make the audience uncomfortable. But again, luckily we have the writers back so we can watch some of our most talented actors come on stage and tell jokes with all the animation and energy of a hockey puck. That's one of the biggest mysteries of the Oscars. Every year, we see the most talented people in the business come on stage and give astonishingly wooden deliveries of their highly rehearsed jokes and speeches. Maybe this is what happens when they don't have a good director helping them?
George Clooney, surprisingly, seemed to get just a little stuck once or twice during his speech introducing the outstanding 80 years of Oscar sequence. Maybe because of the deadpan response to his cheerful "Hi guys!" greeting to the audience. Maybe they were tired. I thought it was funny. The show could always use a little informality to lighten the tension. John Stewart doesn't exactly have the most perfect track record of delivering classic jokes on stage. He's a funny guy, but nearly half of his jokes must make at least half the audience squirm in their seats ("I believe Javier Bardem told his mother where the bathroom is "). I'm sure that high school kids failing their Spanish classes are still rolling over that one. The rest of us, not so much.
As always the awards are criticized for that ridiculous time limit imposed on the winners. It is certainly true that this show, and any awards show, is ABOUT the winners, and the majority of it should be given to them to give thanks to what is often one of the greatest honors of their lives. John Stewart has plenty of time to make bad jokes and often poke ridiculous fun at some of our most talented actors, yet those actors themselves are so often rushed off the stage by that incessant orchestra music, which is really no different from someone extending a hook onto the stage and yanking the speaker off by their neck.
Obviously, it's clear why this happens. The Oscars, unfortunately, are about honoring the greatest achievement in film-making, but more than that, they are a media frenzy. The show is designed to get ratings much more than to honor performances or achievements. This is why the greatest actors and animators and directors and costume designers and writers are shooed offstage so that Stewart can introduce another pointless montage that does nothing but eat up time. In this ceremony, he even mentions that, had the writer's strike continued, they would have had to "pad the show with even more montages" (Oscar Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes?? Bad Dreams, An Oscar Salute!??).
Pad the show!! What, was there a shortage of material?
After showing these film clips, which Stewart introduces as pointless, he quips about how great it is that they don't have to waste our time by showing them. What the hell is going on here? Is this what the winners are rushed off the stage for?
And by the way, best category announcement of the evening has to go to Forrest Whitaker, and best acceptance speeches? Tilda Swinton and Marketa Irglova. Definitely.
Note: John Stewart mentions the IMDb as he is introducing Nicole Kidman onto the stage. I think that's the first time I've ever heard anyone mention the IMDb at the Oscars. It's just too bad that he has become so famous as a political satirist, because political satire only has the tiniest place at an event like the Oscars. More importantly, it has made it nearly impossible for Stewart to offer genuine congratulations without sounding like he's going to crack some stupid joke afterwards (which half the time he does).
All in all, even though the Oscars seem to get more commercialized every year, they are still all about the love of movies, and this year is no different. It's an inspiring show no matter how many little bothersome things we have to deal with, and it's hard not to enjoy a lot of people experiencing their dreams literally coming true before our eyes. I particularly loved the occasional history of the Oscars montages that they would show in between awards. THAT is the stuff the show should be padded with. After all, remembering great moments in film is what it's all about.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My subscription to Sky's movies package recently meant that this year I
not only got to watch the show "live" but also decided to tape it onto
HDD so I could use fast-forward to produce my own highlights show as I
went. Mostly I was grateful for this because the show itself was not
much of a spectacle. It is reasonably OK in regards a ceremony where
awards are given out but mostly it did feel very, well, muted.
As much as I love Jon Stewart, he is not suitable for this type of thing. He feeds off being smart in front of an audience and the Oscar crowd doesn't give him the vibe he needs and indeed he doesn't give them the type of humour that they respond to. His digs at audience members fall flat even if some of his lines were really good not sure why they dropped the usual "comedy montage" opening in favour of just a bit of stand-up as well. Also while i think Oscar is fine with a bit of gentle mocking from inside, I'm not sure how well Stewart's sarcastic comment about the video section on "vote counting" will have been received - even if it was more than appropriate from a viewer's point of view (thank God the strike ended if this is what the majority of the show would have been like). Having said he was not brilliant though, you do miss him when he is gone and the final third of the show really feels his absence.
The other thing that sapped the ceremony a bit was the poor technical production. The sound quality was poor with the announcer in the background and often the crowd clapping drowned out by one individual near a microphone clapping. So the delivery of the show was not that great and it did take the "show" out of the show. Watching the show reasonably "live" also highlights just how many advert breaks there are. Sky took these of course but they also filled with a studio panel discussing the winners. I'll be honest and say that the bits of this that I watched were OK but still I ended up forwarding almost all of them.
This leaves the viewer with the awards to hold the interest and this year I was interested but not gripped. No Country For Old Men was the sweeping winner with best picture, director, supporting actor and screenplay. I was a bit surprised by this given how strong some of the other films were I genuinely thought that There Will be Blood would split it up but to be honest I thought the Cohen's film was great and that they do deserve all they got. Bardem was a given for Supporting Actor but it was a shame that Roger Deaken didn't win for either of his cinematography nominations and it does seem that his vote was split. Day-Lewis was also a given for his award and, if I'm honest, I had not seen the majority of the actress awards so I wasn't that excited by them. I liked the award to Juno and Once, with the recipients being a moment of lively fun (lets be honest the Cohen's were a bit dry). The rest of the awards were well spread out and deserved I particularly appreciated the dominance of Bourne Ultimatum in regards the sound, well deserved it was.
Overall then, a solid enough show with roundly solid winners. Stewart didn't work that well as a host but it was the poor technical delivery of the show saw the audience and announcers muted that hurt it more. Good winners but it really need to be a lot more entertaining than it was.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To call this year's Oscars thrilling would be a lie. The majority of
yesterday's winners was practically known beforehand so mostly
everything was as sterily predictable as can be. Sure, the two
actresses awards came as the surprise of the evening, but to me it
almost felt as if a certain sacrifice had to be made (shock-wise) to
keep the rest of the show somewhat interesting and decently
flowing...which, in the end, it did. On the other hand, it could have
just been yet another political move by the people behind the
all-mighty golden man (since many of the winners were not from the US),
but I'm not going there...;)
You've gotta hand it to the producers of the show for sticking to the same formula since like forever. This year saw fewer gags and more of impromptu-feeling sketches, which fared to decent applause from the crowd respectively. Jon Stewart was certainly the man of the hour and made some quite bold and much needed comments on current events, and overall made a stronger impression than the last time around.
In the end it was business as usual; winners spent much less time thanking their long lists of people, the Coens looked psychotical and tense, Jennifer Garner was so do-able (yeah I said it, so what), and old Jacko with his 5dollar shades still represents (in-a-nutshell-type-of-way) the fun surrounding the Oscars.
"The 80th Annual Academy Awards" this time hosted by funny guy Jon Stewart who was doing the hosting duties for a second time. Clearly was a winner the presenters, and the script was great as Jon's jokes were very humorous it kept the audience at laughter all night as he hit on pop culture things ranging from politics, sex, making babies, and he even gave good praise by saying things about the current nominees. As always legendary Jack Nicholson had a front row seat, the evening was also well done in a traditional and classy way for the way the old clips and montage of flashbacks were used. As each category award was presented before it was handed out a vintage montage of past awards winners was shown from that particular category which was a good film history tribute and it educated many folks in a classy way. Most awards went as expected the favorite Daniel Day Lewis won best actor. And the best film of 2007 clearly got it's due as "No Country for Old Men" took in the best supporting actor nod for Javier Bardem and Joel and Ethan Coen won best director and the just mentioned title rightfully won best picture. Overall this Oscars was well done it was made watchable by Jon Stewart and his honest sharp wit humor it was well paced even though the show ran a little over, yet it was done very classy for the way it used the old montage clips of flashbacks to pay homage to past Oscar winners. I give a thumbs up for "The 80th Annual Academy Awards"
Yes, it's true! I, the ultimate cinephile, have only seen two nominated
movies: "I'm Not There" and "Charlie Wilson's War". I've just been
working so much that I haven't gotten to go to the movies much (and I
frankly think that they should have nominated "Grindhouse" for at least
something; I mean, they nominated f**king "Norbit" for an Oscar).
But anyway, on to the review. I really liked that during the pre-awards ceremony with the people arriving, two people made solid statements: Julie Christie wore an ACLU pin to call for the closure of Guantanamo, and Michael Moore apologized to the world for everything that the US has done. I wonder what would happen to anyone who attended the Oscars and called for continuation of the Guantanamo base.
When Jon Stewart hosted two years ago, I named him best host ever (at least during my lifetime). This year, his true highlight was noting that despite the lack of recognition for movies about Iraq, we have to stay the course and keep the movies in the theaters...otherwise the audience wins! In fact, Arianna Huffington noted that the Best Picture nominees all sound as though they allude to John McCain: "No Country for Old Men" (election season!), "There Will Be Blood" (his foreign policy), "Atonement" (how's he explain to his wife all this stuff about the lobbyist?), "Michael Clayton" (he needs a fixer), and "Juno"...well, let's keep an eye on Vicki Iseman.
The montages were about what I expected (why do they never show Kevin Kline?). I get the feeling that a lot of the young people watching this see the montages showing people from the days of yore and have no idea who any of them are. Heath Ledger was probably the most recognizable person in the "In Memoriam" montage.
But like I said earlier, I watched "The 80th Annual Academy Awards" completely numb to most of the nominees. I have no idea whether the winners deserved their wins or not; hell, I've never even heard of Marion Cotillard or Robert Boyle. Although you gotta admit, who would have guessed that Best Original Song would go to an Irish movie ("Once") over a Disney movie ("Enchanted")? The kind of people whom Stephen Colbert spoofs must have gotten angry about Best Documentary Feature going to one about Iraq (and Best Documentary Short Subject, if I remember right, went to a movie about a same-sex partnership). Of course, these sorts of individuals consider the Oscars an excuse for America-hating, Democrat-backing celebrities to promote the "gay agenda". In fact, Stephen Colbert should host the Oscars - in his right-wing commentator persona - and bash everyone for being the blame-America-first crowd (because let's face it: how many movies has Hollywood made saying anything good about the United States?).
All in all, it's neat to see Steve Carell, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Helen Mirren, Hilary Swank, Forest Whitaker and the rest doing their stuff. Even though the two movies that I saw didn't win anything, I still liked the broadcast. Any pet peeves? Well, when they showed Bob Clark in the deceased montage, I think that instead of "A Christmas Story" next to him, they should have shown "Porky's"; or maybe "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things".
Overall, I liked it.
"The 80th Annual Academy Awards" shall go down in history as the show
that almost wasn't there and the year without any surprises. The
evening was nothing too bad but it all was just so standard and also
the winners themselves didn't really gave away any memorable speeches
While watching this I couldn't help wondering; How good would they show had been if there was still a writer's strike? Because of the writer's strike, this award show got almost narrowed done to an evening that would show montages from previous Academy Awards ceremonies and the winners being announced in between. It's obvious that they still implemented some of these montages in the actual show and to be honest, the montages were also the best moments during the evening. It showed all the previous movies that ever won for best picture and lots of winning actors and actresses as well as a couple of humorous montages such as one that paid homage to binoculars and one about waking up after having bad dreams.
When especially compared to other years, there were hardly any political jokes or statements being made. Not even a lot of Obama, Clinton or Bush references. Not by presenter Jon Stewart, nor by any of the award winners. Not even any Iraq references were being made, other then of course the nominated documentaries, focusing on Iraq.
Jon Stewart himself did a fair enough job as the evening's presenter. He had a couple of good fun moments but for most part of the evening he was just standing there filling up the gaps and announce the next categories. There was hardly any improvisation involved. Blame it on the writer's strike? Most likely yes, for also the award presenters themselves hardly said anything, funny, good or memorable.
All of the usual suspect were also present handing out the award, also no big surprises or anything memorable there. The only surprising thing perhaps there was Owen Wilson, who a couple of months ago attempted a suicide attempt. Guess he just wanted to show his face that he was still around and ready to make his Hollywood return. But also then again; what's the point of letting him present something if he isn't going to do anything funny? Basically all he did was entering the stage and said; the nominees are...and the winner is.
And as for the winners, well really were there any surprises? The only thing perhaps was Marion Cotillard wining best actress in a leading role for "La Môme". But other then that; "No Country for Old Men" winning best picture, the Coen brothers winning best director, Daniel Day-Lewis winning, Javier Bardem winning and so on. None of the categories provided any surprising winners. Besides "No Country for Old Men", the other big winner of the evening was "The Bourne Ultimatum" for winning three out of three Oscar', even though not for the most important categories obviously.
Some great filmmakers spend their entire directing career without winning an Oscar (Hithcock, Kubrick). I just can't help that I lost some of the respect I had for the Coen brothers after appearing on stage for each of their 3 wins, including best picture and best directing. I always thought that they were a couple of awesome young dogs who only made movies they really wanted to make but as it turns out they are pretty boring individuals. They acted like this was a normal every day for them and the Oscar was not a big thing for them.
Perhaps the nicest winners of the evening were Diablo Cody for winning for best original screenplay for "Juno", who was genuinely happy and emotional and Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová for winning best original song for "Once". It was nice that they won, since it was a simply made movie, made on a shoe-string budget and with a couple of camcorder but became an huge success nevertheless. It also was nice that they allowed Markéta Irglová back on the stage to make her acceptance speech, after being cut off by the music before. Perhaps a good idea to give EACH of the award winners the time to make an acceptance speech? I think it's quite disrespectful that in the case of three winners, only one is given the chance and time to make a speech. I mean, some of these people will probably never win an Oscar again. so please let them just enjoy this moment.
Interesting thing to notice was also the amount of international winners, from outside the English speaking countries. It shows that not the best movies and filmmakers are all come from Hollywood and film-making has become a real universal thing, perhaps more than ever before.
But really, do you always need to make a WW II to get nominated for best foreign movie? When is this going to change. It was nice for Austria to win their first ever Oscar for "Die Fälscher" but they really need to broaden their view on foreign films, since there are so many other nice films around, concentrating on totally different subjects.
Forgettable show, without any surprises, which perhaps is also a good thing since this doesn't annoy- or make anyone mad about things.
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