My Baloney Has A First Name, It’s O-S-C-A-R

Not that I have anything new to add to all the chatter about last night’s Academy Awards, but I don’t know if it could’ve been any more boring.

My main reason for watching — Jon Stewart — was an abject disappointment. Not even a third of the way through his opening monologue I knew we were all in for a long, mostly unfunny night of him playing to a cold house. Whether he was unable or unwilling to be funny doesn’t matter. He was only moderately humorous on too few occasions and extremely safe on too many.

The most memorable moments of the night for me:

  • George Clooney’s speech accepting the award for best supporting actor because he gave voice to my long held belief that it is an impossibility to compare performances and call one the best
  • Ben Stiller in the greenscreen unitard and Steven Spielberg’s failure to go along with the joke
  • The passion of the director accepting the award for Tsotsi, which won for best foreign language film
  • Will Ferrell’s and Steve Carell’s make-up
  • The total shock in the house that It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp from Hustle & Flow took home the award for best original song (which gave way to me wondering how long it would be before one of the songwriters would turn the Oscar into the ultimate bling by drilling a hole through the statuette’s head and stringing it with a gold necklace to wear around his neck)
  • The Oscars going to Rachel Weisz, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reece Witherspoon.

And the wish-they-could-be-forgetable:

  • Any joke/montage referencing Brokeback Mountain
  • Keanu Reeves’ puffy face
  • Lauren Bacall flubbing her lines introducing a tribute to the film noir genre (but to her credit coming up with a nice save at the finish)
  • The makers of March Of The Penguins coming onto the stage bearing huge plush-toy penguins
  • Dolly Parton
  • Yet another embarrassing animated presentation sequence with Chicken Little and a lame duck
  • Jenny Garner almost slip-‘n-falling on her ass during her entrance

And the truly ridiculous:

  • Charlize Theron’s shoulder bow
  • Larry McMurtry’s blue jeans
  • Any of the choreography/concepts accompanying the performances of the best original song nominees
  • The despicable Crash winning best original screenplay and best picture

I had huge issues with Crash (not because we had a favorite that lost it; the only other best picture nominee we saw was Good Night And Good Luck and I didn’t want that to win either).

I certainly found a number of the performances in Crash very compelling (Matt Dillon; Terrence Howard) and didn’t object to its subject matter — in fact I appreciated that the film brought a spotlight to the racial tensions that run under this city like a roiling river. I just hated the way they shined the light. That the characters were so few and so starkly drawn was cheap enough, but that their disparate lives were so entwined and interconnected within such a vast landscape as Los Angeles was too easy and shallow and contrived.

Very much like the Oscars telecast itself.

And if I could just add one more thing:  I’m not sure who let the provision lapse, but I distinctly remember after James Cameron’s foolish “I’m the king of the world!” moment after Titanic took best picture late last century, steps were taken that would prevent directors from quoting lines from their winning films in celebratory. Clearly enforcement has fallen off, as evidenced by Ang Lee looking awkwardly at the Oscar just handed to him for best director and mewing “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

He should be forced to give the award back for muttering such a stupidity that may have seemed funny while he was getting ready for the limo ride to the Kodak Theater, but fell flatter than a lot of Jon Stewart’s monologue.