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My Last Oscar Post — I Promise . . .

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It’s the cheesy Oscar moments that always get me the most. Call me an old sentimentalist, but watching Martin Scorsese collect his first Oscar, presented to him by no less than Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, was a nice, nerdy, thrill. And even if it wasn’t Scorsese’s name on the envelope, who’s going to argue with Spielberg, Lucas or Coppola??

As far as The Departed winning Best Picture of the Year, meh, I’m not that upset, but neither am I over the moon. Surely I can’t be the only one who felt it was a little bit overrated? But of course, I only saw it in early February, long after the initial hype and rave reviews. Had I seen it back in September, perhaps I would have been raving about it as well. But I don’t think it’s any more than a really good crime flick.

My moment of self-righteous contempt happened during the award for Cinematography. In my pre-Oscar post I mentioned how I felt that Children of Men was far and away my favourite film of the year – not only on an emotional level, but it featured some of the best movie photography I’ve ever seen. It was up against The Prestige, The Illusionist (though I can’t understand why), The Black Dhalia and Pan’s Labyrinth. Pan’s Labyrinth, one of this year’s Oscar darlings, won. I don’t know what Emmanuel Lubezki has to do to win an Oscar. He has proven himself one of the greatest cinematographers working today. He shot Malick’s The New World last year, was nominated, but failed to win, and he’s been nominated twice before that, for Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and Cauron’s A Little Princess. My only consolation (ie. proof that I am absolutely correct, and those that don’t agree can go and write a charged comment or something) is that Lubezki was awarded the year’s best cinematography award from the American Society of Cinematographers. Bam! Take that Academy!

I really don’t have much else to say about the Al Gore Show, I mean, the Oscars. I missed the first two hours of the ceremony, so I didn’t see the opening, or the Will Ferrel/Jack Black/John C. Reilly song and dance. Seinfeld was pretty funny, and I went and made my lunch for the next day during the Dreamgirls extravaganza. I guess it doesn’t pay to have three songs from the same film nominated, because obviously the vote was split – how else could Melissa Ethridge have won an Oscar? Now Scorsese is tied with both Ethridge and Three 6 Mafia! And here’s a funny quote from Katrina Onstad’s hilarious Oscar blog about poor old Randy Newman (who’s nominated for an Oscar at least once every year):

“I picture Randy Newman going through his day, just farting out the tunes: breakfast, song, song, snack, song, lunch, song, song, song, nap, song, dinner, song. All from his special cage in the basement of the Kodak Theatre where he lives, emerging once a year to sit in profile on the stage and pound one out on that grand piano live.”

I enjoyed the film montages, cut together by directors like Giuseppe Tornatore and Michael Mann, (though I missed the Errol Morris one) and the In Memoriam section always gets me a bit weepy. Overall, I’d say my favourite part (aside from a bald Jack Nicholson, who, bald or not, is the coolest guy around) of the night was that Babel didn’t win any major awards, aside from music, which was actually well deserved. But even better then Babel not winning – Crash didn’t win a single, damn thing. llewopemearg

4 Comments leave one →
  1. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 11:18 am

    I was surprised The Departed won best picture too — usually they give that to ‘important’ movies.

    And I agree with you about the Cinematography thing too (although I haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth.

  2. Bob permalink
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:40 pm

    Children of Men was a terrible propaganda film with pretty good action sequences.

  3. Sarah P permalink
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:03 am

    I read the book Children of Men first, and saw the movie. Now maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of P.D. James, and knew where SHE wanted the story to go, but when watching the film, I didn’t really see it as a “terrible propaganada film.”

    If you had read the book, you’d have be privy to a host of reasons for why certain things happened in that society – and how & why the movie makers changed her words for a non-Christian society (James is Christian, and spends much of the book focusing on religious parallels). In the book, the Quietus (state sanctioned suicide) was a negative thing, not an honourable escape from life; James’s society was actually a remarkably peaceful one, full of older people who had long since lost the will to radically change their world; the Omegas (so named because they were born in the last 12 years of fertility) held the only violent tendencies, faced with a life completely lacking in hope for the future; finally, and quite importantly, the infertility had struck both males and females worldwide – Cauron’s film may have been shot with that way, but any mention of men’s infertility was edited out of the film (with a few hints here and there that I picked up, but only because I was looking for them).

    That’s not a list of criticisms of the film, but rather a list of examples how our current society puts demands on our film directors. I have heard some to dislike the film because they felt it was liberal propaganada against religion, and against Bush (!) because of the way foreign people were treated in the film (Bob, I don’t know if these are your concerns with the film). All I can say is I disagree…I saw no strings attached to the images and words brought to life so well, especially by Clive Owen and Claire-Hope Ashitey.

    All that being said, the final product was moving, challenging, and insightful – just not exactly P.D. James’s original story. And man, the long takes, the skillful editing and sound mixing, all were stunning attributes of the film, whether you liked the message or not. Emmanuel Lubezki deserved the Oscar.

  4. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 12:37 pm

    It’s propaganda for minority and refugee rights — those bastards! The gall!

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