Monday, February 25, 2008

No Country For Oscar Winners: My Academy Awards recap

You know that much-maligned (and much read) feature in Us magazine: Stars: They’re Just Like Us?
Well, that’s the way I used to look at Jon Stewart. He reminded me of the guys I took AP English with—brainy funny; kinda cute in that nebbishy, doesn’t wear deodorant yet way; polite to the teachers; obsessed with the arcania of fringe pop culture—in short, a nice Jewish boy.
But seeing him last night on stage at the Oscars, I began to perceive him in a whole new light. Maybe it was the greying around the temples (adding a certain gravitas?); maybe it was the confident way he took to the stage, trading barbs with George Clooney and Jack; maybe it was the fact that he remained completely unflustered if a joke fell flat, just kept the patter going, knowing he’d have them laughing in no time.
Whatever it was, as I watched the entertaining (if unexhilarating) show, it was clear to me that Jon Stewart had become a man.
(Sorry. Bad habit. . . )
His best joke? Gaydolf Titler, for sure. (Also loved the Norbit joke: "Too often the Academy ignores movies that are bad.")
His best moment? Bringing Once’s Marketa Irglova back on stage. (Shame on you, Gil Cates, for cutting her off!)
Nicely played, Jon.

As for the show? I thought it was swift and smooth and relatively glitch free, but lacking in any of those “wow” moments that end up in montages. (and I feel like a freakin’ montagologist after last nite’s show.)
(Okay, Javier Bardem speaking in Spanish to his crying mother in the front row MAY make the cut.)
My own prognostications were pretty mediocre (doh! I should’ve pulled the trigger on that Tilda Swinton pick. I was sooooo close to doing it, too. . . I tip my hat to thee, Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly.) But I was largely happy with the winners. No Country For Old Men was the best film of the year—it deserved its honors.
One question: how is it that British people manage to be so gracious and articulate under pressure? One minute, Tilda Swinton is hyperventilating and appears to need oxygen. The next minute, she’s giving one of the world’s most smooth and witty acceptance speeches.

As for the aforementioned Once? Look, I was happy with their win for Best Song. But I had what can only be described as a “conniption” when Glen Hansard came out with that ratty, holey guitar of his. It reminded me of everything I didn’t like about that film—it was all so self-consciously twee and shaggy and under-doggish. It’s like, yeah, we know that you’re just a poor Irish lad with a song and a dream. But dude, you’re at the Oscars. Fix your damn guitar!

Having the members of the armed forces read the Best Documentary Short awards? A nice touch.

What else? Dresses. We had dresses! A lot of wickety wack, as my Project Runway pals might say. Is marabou suddenly in now? Copycat designers of the world: make it stop before it even begins.
Rebecca Miller’s dress (she’s Mrs. Daniel Day Lewis) looked like she had forgotten to take it out of the gift wrap.
Marion Cotillard’s dress, while gorgeously fit, seemed to have gills.
Nicole Kidman’s ornate necklace might have been a winner, but it seemed to list toward one boob.
Tilda Swinton won the “my hair is so cool I can just wear a black potato sack” award.
Anne Hathaway’s dress, while a glorious red, appeared to have a giant lei on the shoulder.
Cameron Diaz’s pink dress was adorable. But her hair and makeup screamed: just back from the mall.
I was dying to see what kind of cute, funky dress Ellen Page would come up with. I wanted to see how a stylist would incorporate her tomboy chic look into her gown. Their solution? By giving her the most boring, non-descript look on the red carpet. Boo!

My favorites?
Hilary Swank was NEAR perfection (but again with the feathers?) in a black Versace gown.
Her prettier doppelganger (or is just me?) Jennifer Garner WAS perfection in an Oscar de la Renta taffeta gown.
Katherine Heigl filled Charlize Theron’s blonde Amazonian goddess shoes nicely in her red Escada number.
I also liked Amy Adams in that emerald classic gown. (But way to pull the Miley Cyrus switcheroo in the Enchanted waltz—for the record, that WAS Amy Adams singing in Happy Working Song but NOT her dancing in So Close.)

Speaking of Miley Cyrus: Who knew? That kid was so poised, so sassy, so loveable when she introduced one of the best songs, I may have to start TiVoing Hannah Montana.

And speaking of guys I went to high school with (that may be the longest distance between original reference and the “speaking of” to ever appear in written form), how cute was the Seth Rogen/Jonah Hill bit? “I have Halle Berry hands.” Har.

All in all, a good, if weirdly “international” night. It’s America’s most glamorous night!—featuring a whole lot of more talented people from Europe.

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