Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why Isn't There More to Say?

After all the build-up, the post-Oscar silence at NicksFlickPicks has been admittedly odd. Blame the flu. But also blame a not especially interesting ceremony featuring a not especially inspired list of winners and nominees. It's not altogether surprising that years with a lot of good movies tend to yield bad Oscar vintages: cult faves like Eternal Sunshine and Kill Bill, Vol. 2 and Before Sunset and Maria Full of Grace register strongly in their niches, but while the art fans are busy dividing themselves over these pet projects, consensus picks that lotsa people like but few people love tend to sweep up. Will anyone ever seriously discuss Finding Neverland or Ray or even The Aviator ever again? There were few if any pop phenoms at this year's awards, few if any upsets, no songs worth whistling, no swans as dresses, no Cher as Spiderwoman. But here are ten things I've still dug up to say:

  1. You mean Best Picture doesn't have to be a letdown?
    Million Dollar Baby is the first Best Picture winner since at least American Beauty, and really since Titanic, that seemed really and truly deserving. It struck me as the easy pick of this litter, though a Sideways win would have been satisfying in its own way. Still, I was psyched. If you want to know why, check out my new review.

  2. But even that wasn't the best Oscar of the night...
    ...since the Original Screenplay citation for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at least guarantees that the Academy has some cognizance of what counts as a masterpiece, in at least one category. The Incredibles win for Animated Feature was also gratifying, if unsurprising, as was the triumph of "Al Otro Lado del Rio" as Best Song. Even though I don't swoon over that song (even when sung by the right people!), at least three of the others were such drivel that it was a joy to see them shut out... also, it was the only category where I scored right with a "surprise" prediction. So there's that.

  3. And speaking of Eternal Sunshine and Bests...
    No one looked better than Kate Winslet. No one. No one even close.

  4. Tragedies
    Why did Laura Linney come as Brad Pitt in Troy? Is she trying to announce her candidacy for People vs. Larry Flynt/Sid & Nancy roles? Alternatively, if they decide to remake The Neverending Story, she's a shoo-in for the Southern Oracle.

  5. What did I think about Hilary's speech?
    I was fine with it, though I think I was alone among the group I watched it with. Sure it milked the trailer-park thing a little, but I don't get that Hilary is any more "fake" than anyone else in these circles. She probably would have been my fifth choice of those five, but I still thought she did a good job—this year's race happily lacked a Naomi Watts in 21 Grams, a Salma Hayek in Frida, or a Juliette Binoche in Chocolat, where you're just like "Whaaaa?"—and if I won an Oscar, even my second one, I'd thank everyone in the damn world, too. And by the way...

  6. Is Hilary Swank the new Sally Field?
    Sally began in an inauspicious background: Gidget, The Flying Nun; Hilary was a 90210/Karate Kid/Buffy-the-Movie girl. Sally won in '79 and '84. Hilary won in '99 and '04. I'm not sure either is a great actress (though Hilary was at least unqualifiedly great in Boys Don't Cry). They are both kind of personality performers who really go for the gumption thing. Characters you underestimate till they prove their mettle, unionizing, boxing, farming, writing false news stories, conning Marie Antoinette, shooting Robin Williams, that sort of thing. Sally Redux was all, "You like me, you really like me!" Hilary Redux was all, "I'm just a girl from a trailer park." If history keeps repeating, Hilary's run at Oscar is officially done. (Sally went 2/2 but hasn't been nominated again in 20 years, even in the Year of Gump.)

  7. How about those Oscars presented from the audience?
    Jamie Foxx's Gramma in heaven should whup someone for this. No respect, no dignity, no clips from the winners or even the nominees from Makeup, Animated Short, Live Action short. That's just fucked up, y'all. If Valli O'Reilly and Bill Corso and Chris Landreth and Andrea Arnold want to come to my house and personally show me footage and tell me all about their hard work, they may consider themselves invited.

  8. And what about the Rock?
    I thought he was funny at the beginning, which is the only time I ever really notice the host. He didn't seem to "fit" the Oscars format all that well, and he certainly wasn't all that funny or finessed in introducing the presenters. The Bush/Gap stuff was funn-nee. The ersatz disses on Jude Law/Colin Farrell/Rock himself were hilarious, though Jude obviously is amazing, so my boyfriend Sean Penn may be excused for (rather over-seriously) stepping up for him. Best joke all night: "I had to deal with this movie called Soul Plane. I'll trade you ten Passion of the Christs for one Soul Plane." That said, Whoopi and Steve are still, by far, my faves. And I reiterate: do we need a host? (You know who would be great, smart, funny, elegant, pretty, and articulate, with backgrounds in stand-up and in serious acting? Emma Thompson. Which will also never happen, obviously.)

  9. Am I seriously done ragging the bad stylings and failed humor?
    Josh Groban, be silent. Beyoncé, one note per syllable usually suffices. Robin Williams, shut it: you've been peddling the same "improv" for at least 10 years too long. Salma and Penélope, hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale! Scarlett, stop frying and bleaching your hair. Kirsten, what's with the platinum blonde? Laura Bush, what's with—oh wait, that's Drew Barrymore. Sean, you haven't called in weeks. Renée, EAT, and speak in your friggin' normal voice, the one you use when you're acting. And Melanie, you can't... I feel like... no. It hurts too much. Melanie has become the actress equivalent of the train-wreck in The Fugitive. With her around, I barely noticed that Sally Kirkland was MIA.

  10. But class is class...
    And Cate Blanchett and the extreeemely dapper Morgan Freeman have it. Morgan has such integrity and expresses himself with such sincere authority that I actually believed he was honored to work with Hilary Swank, rather than the other way around. And Cate, I'd love to have seen you win this for Ripley, but it's impossible to begrudge you anything. Talk about charm and grace. Let Marty Scorsese's daughter make her own way. I hope I marry your son. (Sorry, Derek. Sorry, Sean.)

Now, you know y'all have thoughts to share, too...

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Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:51 AM, March 04, 2005  
Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

Thank God. I thought Laura Linney looked like some kind of mutant bird of paradise. And not at all in a good way.

Congrats. on the job from a former 312 denizen...! :)

3:53 AM, March 04, 2005  

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