Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar Goes To.........

Every year just before Oscar time, I run out to the theater to try to catch the rest of the nominated movies that I haven't yet seen. This year, since we no longer go to the theater, thanks to an awesome home theater, I have seen almost none of the movies, so the usual movie marathon at the theater made no sense. So this is the first year since childhood that I watch the Oscars with little to no opinions of my own over who should win. I thought about skipping it since it wasn't the same; it was somehow like watching a horse race with no horses. But in the end I decided to go ahead and watch, because 1) I didn't have anything better to do, and 2) I hate to be out of it on water-cooler discussions. (Though since I work at home, my water cooler discussions are with my cat.)

The Fashion

Charlize (right) was hot, except for that pillow on her shoulder (as my husband quite rightly called it.) Apparently she was ready for a nap mid-Oscar night, when things got too boring. She was wearing a deep chocolate color also sported by others such as Keira Knightly, Amy Adams, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, while the biggest color choice of the evening was without a doubt the cream/champagne color family like the gorgeous Jessica Alba (left).

There were some hot colors too like J.Lo's bright olive green, Salma Hayek's peacock blue, and Michelle William's (right) soft orange. (Love the color, but the neckline isn't my fave.)

One trend spotted last night, was making gowns more practical with the addition of hidden pockets such as for the very pasty looking Sandra Bullock (left). Though Amy Adams, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and even Sandra couldn't quite get the point of hiding them, since they kept shoving their mitts deep into their pockets; apparently their moms never taught them how to avoid putting their hands in their pockets in formal situations.

I thought Jennifer Garner's dress (left) looked home-made. And it was too long, she even tripped on it on her way onto stage to present an award.

Then there was Naomi Watts, whose distressed frock looked like someone had sprayed a bunch of cream-colored icing on her.

In the what-was-she-thinking category, is Felicity Huffman (left). The dress is... well, weird! And not in the least bit flattering.

Jada Pinket Smith was looking very severe. It's the intense blue, shellacked side-parted hair, and muscles (not to mention the arms-glued-to-sides pose) which make her look wound up so tight, you just have to worry about poor Will Smith and the Smith babies.

Speaking of Will Smith, he showed us what is possible with men's red-carpet fashion, while keeping it low-key with his tone-on-tone black ensemble (note the slight sheen to the jacket and the velvet vest - right). Rapper/actor, Ludicris (left), took it one step further, going for a full velvet/black-on-black look.

The Show

John Stewart did a fine job of hosting. The show wasn't generally as fun as in Billy Crystal days perhaps, but there were some good jokes delivered. True to usual form, Stewart brought politics into his humor, though often not quite so overtly, such as when spoofing political mud-slinging ads (you know, the ones you see hundreds of just before election time) by making similar ads slinging mud on oscar candidates.

There were a couple of awkward moments in Stewart's bits, but none so awkward as Lauren Bacall's unfortunate delivery of a montage homage to Film Noir. It was so painful, with her fumbling of the telepromter lines, and profuse shaking, the entire audience breathed a collective sigh of relief when the montage finally played and her speech was over.

In the There-Goes-The-Neighborhood moment of the show, rap group Three 6 Mafia (shown left with mouths full of blingy diamonds) performed their Oscar-nominated song, "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" and promptly won the Oscar! Ground-breaking though it might have been for the legitimization of hip-hop and perhaps even black culture, I can't figure out why it was this rap song that did it. OK, yeah, maybe it was because it was from the Oscar-recognized flick, Hustle and Flow, but the song just wasn't all that great in my mind, and to me, not that great of a representation of the genre.

Also performing was train-wreck Dolly Parton (right.) To call her a freak of nature would be to imply that there was something natural about her. Ugh. You should have seen her in her performance outfit!

One theme returned to again and again was the promotion of film as a large-screen medium. Clearly the Academy is upset by the threats of new trends in simultaneous release and small-screen formats now including iPods and cell phones. Funny thing is, who do they think will listen to them as they plead at the Oscar ceremony for people to keep going to the theaters?

The Winners (and Losers)

Not surprisingly, Crash took home the big Oscar of the night, though I still say it is way overrated. Clearly the Academy also feels the pressure to like movies they are supposed to like, not only because they chose this one as the winner, but look at the other nominees; it was a big year for socially-charged movies. Also no surprise was the win of the equally overrated March of the Penguins in the best feature doc category.

Something that did surprise me was Rachel Weisz's win as best supporting actress in The Constant Gardener. I hadn't seen the other flicks (although I have since watched North Country) but I just didn't think there was anything special about her performance, and I have already mentioned how lack-luster I thought the movie itself was. Maybe they chose her because her role was the most poli-socially charged out of the category (although there were some other big contenders).

Also semi-surprising was the loss of Oscars for all Brokeback Mountain actors. I haven't seen the movie, so I can't say whether or not they deserved it, but there was huge Oscar buzz surrounding the movie, and they did get several actor nominations and none of them won. The flick did win for best director, Ang Lee, and best score, by Gustavo Santaolalla, so it wasn't a total loss.

Memoirs of a Geisha did fairly well, taking home Oscars for cinematography, art direction, and costume design.


It was a relatively interesting evening, without any real mishaps, upsets, or scandals. But for me it was more of a closer look at the pros and cons of some of the movies that are sitting in the saved portion of my netflix queue. Maybe the show helped me decide on some movies to add to the queue, or which ones to move to the top, but it wasn't as exciting as watching it when you have seen most of the nominees and have your own favorites. With the rapidly and greatly changing face of film technology and distribution, I wonder if the face of the Oscars will change in the future. Maybe in a couple of years, what I watch on my medium screen at home will be current and I will be back to my excited, Oscar-watching self.

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