As of this writing, I have not yet read reactions; in fact, as it is post-midnight, wee hours of the Monday morn, I’m about to go to bed or should have been in bed awhile ago, but for various things. My own reaction: well, I want to think that Jon Stewart did an ok job. His opening monologue (which I caught mostly) was funny. His little sound editing tidbit was funny. I have a feeling that critics will put him in the David Letterman category in the history of Oscars – but I don’t think it’s his fault. The Oscars folks put him in a bind, with not-that-great writing and this terrible pacing they had. (then again, I never thought David Letterman was that bad and thought people overly criticized him).
Much of the evening was — meh. The music from the pit below the stage kept going from the very start of the winners’ speeches, forcing people to speak quickly or else cut them off without popping up out of nowhere. Yet, the winners managed to say a lot without saying very much. The stage design was bizarre and not tv friendly by any appearances. (why does the “78” for 78th Annual Awards have to be so damn huge?). And, the breakneck speed to which they got through the awards show – man, they ended at 11:30pm EST – way earlier than they have in YEARS. The filler still felt like filler, but there was somehow a feeling of boredom and “could you just get to the point” even as they headed to a point.
Well, maybe it was award ceremony fatigue – this whole ambiance that everybody at the Oscars just wanted to get this over with, since they’ve been to the Golden Globes and SAG and so on, so the winners (who they would be was incredibly predictable) already knew what they wanted to say, since they rehearsed their speeches in the previous awards shows.
George Clooney was a good winner, I thought, for Best Supporting Actor. He kindly acknowledged his fellow nominees for their good work; acknowledged the Academy’s lead in doing progressive work (ex., awarding Hattie McDaniel of Gone With the Wind with an Oscar during the pre-civil rights era); and teased that he probably wasn’t getting the Oscar for Best Director now that he won his night’s award. He even mugged for the camera and went along with Jon Stewart’s teasing him. Charming Mr. Clooney. Poor Paul Giamatti though – he should have won for Sideways and again loses out for Cinderella Man. (I saw Sideways and definitely felt he did great there).
And, they forgot to honor Don KNotts among the passing of the Hollywood community. Or maybe they figured the Emmys will cover him, thinking that he was more of a tv guy. But, he did do a few movies in his day!
I had that feeling that the Oscar wouldn’t go with Brokeback Mountain – Crash seemed to be having momentum from those awards shows (plus, it’s a movie about Los Angeles – the Academy people must be suckers for movies about/and taking place in their own neighborhood). (but, I’ve seen neither movie, so who am I to say?). But, really, kudos to Ang Lee for winning Best Director and Donna Osana and Larry McMurtry for winning Best Adapted Screenplay.
The group singing “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” seemed like the group most enthusiastic for being at the Oscars and for winning an Oscar (again, that feeling of meh couldn’t be avoided). I suppose it was amusing that their title was what it was; but then even the presenter and Queen Latifah noted that it isn’t that shocking (I mean, if the song for Shaft can win an Oscar for best song, reflecting its movie, why not this song for “Hustle and Flow”?) – amusing jokes of double entendre. Dolly Parton’s song for “Transamerica” wasn’t so bad, and seemed pretty relevant to the movie. So, no one can feel that upset really. However, there was a benefit to the five-second air delay – they managed to bleep out the curse words of the winners – at least keep joy clean for Middle America. But, the natural joy – it flowed well.
And kudos to the winners for Wallace and Gromit. I really have to see that movie!
I almost missed the lengthiness of Oscars shows of yore; at least they were long so that people bonded and celebrated movies. Here, it’s just… boring. The writing of the words which were meant to celebrate movies were trite and wordy, as if the writers wanted to give the presenters substantive stuff about movies and movie making but ended up getting them all tongue-twisted and more uncomfortable than ever. Please. Jon Stewart’s skit about the sound editors lobbying for Academy votes to win Best Sound was funny and kind of made you wonder more about sound editing than the usual gobbledy-gook the award presenters had to read from the teleprompter. Honestly, the Tony Awards were more fun with the wit and veneration of the art form. (I’m not suggesting that Hugh Jackman’s a great host; I’m just saying that there was a feeling of respect the art).
When morning comes, I’ll see what the professional commentators will say; I may post again later.