How original, an Oscars post!
Though neither nominated nor invited this year, I thought last night’s Academy Awards was a class broadcast all around. Sure, there were a few technical/timing gaffes, but having directed live variety shows before, I can tell you Murphy’s Law is in effect, you just have to be prepared.
I really loved the international flavor, especially with Mexico’s proliferation in cinema. Personally, I thought Babel, Children of Men, and Pan’s Labyrinth were the three best films of the year, coincidentally all directed by The Three Amigos. Children of Men really got the shaft, even in nominations. That motorcycle chase scene from the inside of the car was the single most exciting thing I saw on screen all year.
Eddie Murphy’s snub was no surprise. Eff him. Many in the industry see him as standoffish and judge him by his frequent poor choices, just as the opposite helped Marty win Best Director in a tough field. Gore getting played off was classic, and his film is certainly worthy of attention, though not the award. Other than Babel not getting Best Picture, the only other true disappointment for me was Adriana Barraza (the Mexican nanny) not winning for her heartbreaking supporting role in that same picture. But what are ya gonna do, Jennifer Hudson was in the same category.
I was yelling at the screen during E!’s pre-show coverage as Ryan Seacrest interviewed Gael Garcia Bernal. Here’s one of the finest actors of his generation (Bernal), and in his sixty seconds of screen time, Seacrest felt the need to mention Brad Pitt at least six times – a man Bernal has never met.
As usual, some of the best things about the broadcast were the preproduced tribute packages. Just spectacular editing, especially the In Memoriam, which usually puts me to sleep. Errol Morris’s “It’s All About the Nominees” intro video was stellar, giving us a glimpse at the nominee experience, especially those behind the scenes, through his innovative Interrotron style. The writers tribute, the Morricone tribute, Mann’s americana thing, all thoughtful.
Many would agree the absolute highlight was the interpretive dancers behind the scrim who formed an iconic silhouetted image from each of the Best Picture nominees using only their own bodies. Another favorite was the Costume Design nominee presentation, with live re-enactment vignettes featuring their wardrobes.
I don’t care who everyone was wearing. I don’t care about the host. I don’t care about the catering, or the raging after-parties. But they selected some great films this year, and truly did celebrate the nominees.