February 25, 2007

A Quiet Night With Oscar

Originally, I planned to attend the Oscar festivities with Michael Medved and AM 1280 The Patriot this evening at the beautiful Saint Paul, one of the classiest hotels in the world. However, I had to clear my driveway twice today after the big snowstorms that hit the Twin Cities this weekend. I tweaked my back a little, just enough to convince me that resting it tonight makes the most sense. I apologize to my friends and listeners here who I'd hoped to see, but I'll be sure to make it to the next event.

However, I still plan on live-blogging the Oscars, so keep checking back on this post. We'll have lots of fun with the pomp and pompousness that comes with the Academy Awards, and by the time the evening's over, we'll all feel like giving 30-second acceptance speeches in which we thank everyone we ever met in our lives.

7:31 - The show's beginning with an interesting montage of oddball interviews with various Oscar nominees. Peter O'Toole looks so old. Helen Mirren still looks pretty good, though ...

7:36 - I'm looking forward to Ellen DeGeneres as Oscar MC. I think she's got the proper kind of low-key humor for this kind of event.

7:38 - "The most international Oscars ever." Yeah, whatever. I suppose that's exciting.

7:42 - Al Gore, laughing goofily at Ellen's dig at 2000. I think this sets an Oscar record for the longest running gag ever.

7:44 - "Say Hallelu"? Excuse me? For Oscar nominees? Oooooo-kay!

7:46 - Not a bad opening. They avoided a Oprah-Uma embarrassment, anyway. However, they didn't lead off with a major award, deciding to announce the award for Art Direction. It took 16 minutes give away the first one, though.

7:55 - Oh, Lord. Jack Black and John C Reilly may recover from this embarrassing musical number. For Will Farrell, it's an improvement. This is the kind of thing that the attendees might find amusing, but the rest of us find tiresome and way too self-referential.

7:58 - Pan's Labyrinth has already won two Oscars. The only two Oscars awarded after 30 minutes of the show. Hope you want to stay up late.

8:02 - Okay, the two kids were terribly cute, and so far the most entertaining and honest part of the entire show. Will Smith thought so too. I guess they can do two with no problem -- maybe they should have done them all?

8:04 - "West Bank Story"?? I have to see that one!

8:07 - Off topic: Weird political story of the year ... Strom Thurmond's ancestors owned Al Sharpton's ancestors. I'm not kidding. How strange is that?

8:12 - Are we going to have Judi Dench plastic surgery jokes all night long? Because if we are, perhaps they can make a few of them funny.

8:14 - The Foley choir was actually pretty cool -- very inventive and well done.

8:16 - I won the JAT Award for the longest running live-blog! Well, this is the fourth year in a row, I believe ...

8:19 - Eddie Murphy looks bored. As well he should.

8:22 - Why are they giving away Best Supporting Actor in the middle of the show? If they're not going to do a major at the beginning, why not build up to the end? Alan Arkin -- good to see him win one.

8:25 - Ellen's not doing a bad job, but the stroll down the aisle left something to be desired. It finished nicely with Martin Scorscese accepting a screenplay from Ellen, but the Mark Wahlberg part was painful.

8:26 - Can we skip the silhouette dancers?

8:32 - Randy Newman at the ivories and Sweet Baby James on the vocals? They should have saved this for last. Excellent stuff...

8:34 - The only thing making this Melissa Etheridge segment tolerable -- besides her voice, which I enjoy -- is the fact that the camerawork is skipping most of the climate-scare scolding we're supposed to be getting from the screen behind her. "When you pray, move your feet"???

8:37 - The climate crisis? Yeah, that must have been the global warming I was shoveling today that tweaked my back.

8:38 - That was a pretty funny joke with Al Gore. Come on, admit it, you laughed. (If you missed it, Leonardo DiCaprio kept after Gore to make a major announcement, and Gore started to unfold a speech -- but the orchestra cut him off as he got started in a spoof of their speech-limiting policies.)

8:50 - I'll bet Children of Men wins.

8:52 - I lose! The Departed wins for Best Adapted Screenplay. This is usually considered a good sign for the Best Picture category.

8:55 - Holy cow, what the hell was that with the guy toting up the awards and running into Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren? Hanks seemed to be caught off guard as well.

9:02 - "Mary Antoinette"? The costumes were literally "eye candy"?

9:04 - The winning costume designer HAS to have been the inspiration for "Edna" in The Incredibles!!

9:08 - Tom Cruise did a nice job of presenting the humanitarian award for Sherry Lansing, but without him jumping up and down on couches, I just didn't believe he meant it.

9:13 - Hey, this hasn't updated -- sorry, I thought it had. If Children of Men should win anything, it should be cinematography.

9:16 - Come on, the silhouette dancers are so pretentious, only the Academy would use them to identify their Best Picture nominees. Ugh. And Pan's Labyrinth looks like it has a lot of fans tonight.

9:21 - Robert Downey, Jr delivers a great line about his drug use, throwing Naomi Watts for a moment.

9:24 - Catherine Deneuve looks pretty good -- still ...

9:32 - Pan's Labyrinth didn't win for Foreign Language film? That's a shocker!

9:34 - Goodness, George Clooney's looking uglier every year, isn't he? He's not? Ah, hell ...

9:36 - Jennifer Hudson looked pretty shocked to win, didn't she? And the Japanese actress looked shocked, too, but in a different way.

9:43 - We're getting to the Best Documentary - Feature Length award. Be prepared to crown Al Gore. I doubt the orchestra will cut him off if he rambles.

9:46 - Jerry Seinfeld presenting for Best Documentary - Feature? Okay ... why? He's giving a good monologue to start it off, but that has nothing to do with documentaries, either.

9:48 - So we have two documentaries about Iraq, two about Christians, and Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. Now that's a tough choice for Hollywood.

9:48 - Not that tough. No big surprise, Truth wins. I told you that the orchestra wouldn't cut him off.

9:51 - Don't hire Clint Eastwood to deliver any speeches ...

9:55 - After all of these unforgettable scores, how is it possible that Ennio Morricone never won an Oscar?

10:00 - Italian is a beautiful language, and Morricone's more coherent than Clint. Just kidding, Clint. Don't kill me.

10:10 - Okay, I give. What's up with Jack Nicholson's hairdo ... or scalp-do?

10:15 - I guess Mathew Arndt doesn't need to kiss Matthew Broderick's tucchus any more, eh?

10:17 - CQ natives are getting restless. They're attacking Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for being dull. Did y'all miss Al Gore earlier tonight?

10:20 - Jennifer Lopez, the "excellent reason for high-definition television"? Perhaps. She's the most overexposed celebrity this side of Anna Nicole Smith.

10:21 - It's almost three hours now, and we still haven't seen the Best Original Song award given out yet? This will be a long one. Jennifer Hudson appears to have recovered from the shock of winning nicely, though.

10:28 - Ellen's been a non-entity most of the night, hasn't she?

10:30 - Inconvenient Truth won for Best Original Song -- after that showstopping performance of the Dreamgirls songs? What a joke. I like Melissa Etheridge, but that song hardly compares to what we just heard. Any self-aware artist would have been embarrassed to be in Etheridge's position.

10:40 - Jeez, are these montages more self-indulgent than the silhouette dancers, or the other way around?

10:42 - I was hoping that United 93 would win for Film Editing. Of course, I was rather hoping this would have wrapped up by now, too.

10:50 - Does anyone notice that the commercials are more interesting than the show?

10:53 - Leading ladies. I'm hoping for Meryl Streep, who was delicious in The Devil Wears Prada.

10:55 - But Helen Mirren was my second choice. Nice salute to Elizabeth II.

11:01 - Reese Witherspoon needs better eye makeup. I'm hoping O'Toole wins, but I think it will be Will Smith.

11:04 - Wow -- they forgave Forest Whittaker for Battlefield Earth?

11:07 - Okay, I predict that Martin Scorcese wins tonight. Funny bit with George Lucas about not having won one. I'm shocked that he didn't win for Phantom Menace.

11:09 - Yep. About damned time, too. I haven't seen The Departed yet, but he should have won for Goodfellas and Raging Bull.

11:12 - I'm on a roll. I'm going to predict that The Queen wins Best Picture.

11:14 - I'm off the roll. I should have stuck with the hint from Scorsese's Oscar. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie at some point. I wanted to catch it in the theater, but never made it.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Dull and odd. Ellen Degeneres didn't do a terrible job, but she didn't do much at all. The politics of the evening almost all revolved around Al Gore, and fortunately didn't bleed into other categories. The choices seemed OK, especially Scorsese's award, but they produced so few memorable moments, if any at all. One might expect a little more from 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Thanks to all the CQ readers that stuck it out with me!


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