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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Back In Biz… And Relieved That It's Over

I’m getting down to work now on some writing about the show…
A couple of quickies.
1. I thought it was the worst produced Oscar show in memory. I’ll give you a rundown and a Boittom Ten in The hot Button in the morning.
2. I couldn’t be more happy for the winners… except for An Inconvenient Truth. It isn’t a good movie. It’s a lovely political statement however. For me, King, Scorsese, Arkin, Arndt, Monahan, Miller, Schoonmaker, and the Guillermo group are all people I admire, adore, or both.And I think it was right for Hudson, the great Milena Canonero, The LIves of Others, Santaolalla (whose scores are all on my iPod), and the Sound, Sound Editing, and Efx all deserved to to win without question. Sure, there may have been other preferences, but there are almost no cases in which you can make an argument that The Academy made a serious mistake of judgment.
3. The only real surprises on the night were Marie Antoinette for Costume (thought it made perfect sense) and The Danish Poet overcoming three studio’s shorts. Others, like Arkin, The Etheridge song, Pan’s nods, were all building to a point of reasonable expectation over the last few weeks.
I kind of wish I didn’t have to work tonight. I feel like sitting in a ski chalet hot tub or something, embracing the final freedom of certain muscle groups. But that will wait for tomorrow.
Sorry it too so long to get back in the comment business. Glad you’re all back.

18 Responses to “Back In Biz… And Relieved That It's Over”

  1. Cadavra says:

    I count three mistakes in judgment: one serious (Animated Feature), two so-so (Cinematography and Costume Design).

  2. Goulet says:

    Based on the nominations, I guess the winners are fine… But there were so many better movies that were ignored! The Fountain, for one. Oh well…

  3. Joseph says:

    Yeah, one of the worst produced telecasts I’ve seen, if not the worst. The directing was incredibly awkward, particularly the transitioning between pieces. Most of the time it seemed as if the monitor featuring every single camera angle crapped out and the director was in the room picking camera after camera until he found a shot that made sense.
    One of the worst moments of the show: the costume design piece. Humans acting like robots=creepy.

  4. mutinyco says:

    Happy New Year!

  5. Hotspur says:

    If you saw “The Danish Poet” you know that its win wasn’t an upset. Since the only way you could vote was to go to an official screening, the studio’s marketing might was pointless.
    All of the other animated shorts were been-there, done-that affairs. “The Danish Poet” was a beautiful, moving, funny film with a lot of heart.
    When the backstage announcer talked about it as an “upset,” all he proved was that he hadn’t seen the films. I wouldn’t be surprised if “No Time For Nuts” and “Lifted” got zero votes each. While both are fine, competent films (as usually, the oscar animated shorts put the live action ones to shame) they felt like advertisement’s for their respective studios features. “The Little Matchgirl” was saccharin in the way that wins awards, and “Maestro” was visually interesting with a great kicker … but the only way to vote was to sit through all five films.
    And “The Danish Poet” (which went first in all the screenings) was a very hard act to follow.

  6. Tofu says:

    Great year, very few if any of the jokes bombed (God, when was the last year ANY of the jokes worked), and I for the first time enjoyed the “dance” numbers as they worked liked charades for our group. I knew the Departed would be a gun!
    Clint translating for Morricone? Excellent. Lucas getting ragged on for not winning? Excellent. The Four Horsemen all on stage? Excellent.
    My only upset was Children of Men not taking Cinematography, and Mann’s very odd American Montage. No music during the speeches. No handing out the awards in the fucking aisles. No awkward jokes that hurt the nominee’s more than they simply poked fun.
    Gore showed a great deal of class this evening, and Clooney was to the point. Not much more I can ask for.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    The backstage announcer guy who kept talking about all the ‘upsets’ was the stupidest thing on the show by far – the moment when he tried to grab Tom Hanks for a one-liner and Tom, obviously bemused, managed to hit something back to him was hilarious.
    Did Ennio not tell anyone that he was going to be speaking in Italian? It seemed to catch everyone off-guard and I thought at first that Clint was just making up a speech for him.
    Ellen was excellent, I thought, and I hope they let her do it again.

  8. Well, I saw “Danish Poet” (so did David). I thought it was a snooze.

  9. EDouglas says:

    I think the Cinematography was a surprise, because of all the talk about those tracking shots… then again, it was funny that Children of Men was up for “editing” considering those long tracking shots.
    I have to say that the ceremony had its moments. There were some really awful ideas (sound fx choir? those shadow puppets?) and the pacing of the show sucked… really sucked… but I did like the way they presented some of the nominees like screenplay (The Queen would have sounded better if Kirsten wasn’t reading it) and editing and others… just really clever ways of showing what the categories were about. I liked Ellen more in the incidental bits than in her monologue… but am I the only person who thought that Jerry Seinfeld should host the Oscars next year? He really killed with his bit in front of the doc category.

  10. EDouglas says:

    I think the Cinematography was a surprise, because of all the talk about those tracking shots… then again, it was funny that Children of Men was up for “editing” considering those long tracking shots.
    I have to say that the ceremony had its moments. There were some really awful ideas (sound fx choir? those shadow puppets?) and the pacing of the show sucked… really sucked… but I did like the way they presented some of the nominees like screenplay (The Queen would have sounded better if Kirsten wasn’t reading it) and editing and others… just really clever ways of showing what the categories were about. I liked Ellen more in the incidental bits than in her monologue… but am I the only person who thought that Jerry Seinfeld should host the Oscars next year? He really killed with his bit in front of the doc category.

  11. The Pop View says:

    Just to rescuee this from the memory hole, last year, you wrote:

    That was the worst produced Oscar telecast ever.

    I think this year’s was indeed worse, but wanted to see if you agreed. Jon Stewart doesn’t work on the Oscars, but I thought he was hilarious. “For those of you keeping score at home, Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars; Three 6 Mafia, one.”
    For that matter, Ellen DeGeneres was okay, but not great. You need a big name to work that room. You need someone who’s in the club, but can prick the balloon a little.

  12. I liked Ellen. I mentioned it in the next thread over, but I’ll say it again. I’ll take Ellen’s “safe” not-hysterical but pleasant comedy over mean-spiritedness (Chris Rock) and utter comic-challenged (on the night) Jon Stewart.
    The production was really bad. Was it just me or was the sound really bad and screwey.
    The cinematography loss for Lubezki was sad. But it was made up for by wins for George Miller, Martin Scorsese and a few others. Nice.
    And, really, if Al Gore had actually announced a candidacy I would have been even more offended that I already was by him. I don’t like being talked down to and told it’s my fault that the world is going to the shitter (when Gore thanks a city that is probably one of the worst for air pollution). To have Gore and DiCaprio come out for no reason at all? Ridiculous. They didn’t even present an award or introdude Melissa Etheridge. Just wasted five minutes of time but lecturing us all over again. Just because a film’s topic is noble and socially relevant doesn’t make the film well made. Maybe if Guggenheim had researched and investigated and gone to places ravaged by global warming, it may have been something, but as it is, it’s just a boring powerpoint presentation that won’t do any good until the big businesses of the world decide to cut emissions. I walk to and from work, I use public transport when I must, I use energy saving light globes – but you know what? I’m not reversing global warming. Any good I do is undone by Al Gore flying all over the world to give his lecture. Aagh.
    That movie makes me so angry. Sorry for the long rant.

  13. Tofu says:

    Gore thanked the Academy for taking efforts this year to conserve. DiCaprio had setup more celebrities to arrive in green cars than any year before (as if you would see anything outside of hummer limos at the grammies). Going to Oscar.com as they suggested reveals their Go Green campaign with the NRDC.
    Is there an irony to a film director hopping all around the world investigating areas of research best left to scientists, and then suggesting that Gore can’t fly around spreading awareness for the research? It is funny to see so many people ask how Gore travels, when it is clearly shown he uses commercial flights and car pooling all throughout the movie, even buying offsets for the amount of miles he has traveled. If I had a nickel for everytime I heard of someone meeting Gore on a flight…
    However, his footprint is irrelevant in the grand scheme, and he has never demanded of anyone to stop using flights or cars. Saying that simple conservation and new standards are the correct methods to help the environment isn’t exactly what people consider a holier than thou attitude.
    The fact that he didn’t go off message last night? More power to him.

  14. RyanK says:

    Gustavo Santaolalla’s “original” score for BABAL was about only one part of the film’s musical make-up, with contributions by Ryuichi Sakamoto and a healthy portion of tracked in songs. In the film music world, his win is like the guy who cut VAN WILDER winning an Oscar for his work. A total insult to the craft.

  15. movielocke says:

    Watching from home, we all really enjoyed the show and thought on a whole it was really fun. The Farrell/Black/Riley musical number chastising oscar for pretending that comedy isn’t acting was our highlight and brought the house down. I groaned when I heard there was interpretive dance, but 15 second shadow plays was actually pretty fun and we ‘oooohhhhed’ for a lot of them. We thought the sound effects choir was fun but when on to long and yes the directing and opening penguin segment was downright awful. Ellen was spot on, in comparison to recent past hosts. what we hated was the backstage guy who wouldn’t shut up or go away, and the costume people (particularly dreamgirls) seeming uncontrollable (the presenters laughing at the models while saying names didn’t help).
    I did terribly in my oscar picks, 50% if I’d stuck to my original guns and kept thelma and Departed taking it I’d have been better off, so much for last second switching.
    Was Ari Sandel’s speech good or bad for him. I think it’s good words in principal but a bit insulting to the company he was keeping at the kodak last night. perhaps he’ll be the next big USC director, or perhaps he’ll never work again, we’ll see.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    FYI, Sandel is a no-talent hack – any success he has will be short-lived (or he’ll be the next Rob Cohen, you never know).

  17. martin says:

    I’m not sure who Sandel is, but if he’s the young guy (for short?) that came off as seriously condescending, I agree. Great way to start a career.

  18. ArchiveGuy says:

    With only 2 wins, at least we can finally put to rest DP’s absurd assertion that if it had been nominated, “Dreamgirls” would’ve won Picture. If there was that much love for the film, it should’ve easily taken Art Direction, Costumes, and/or Song as well (not to mention Murphy). Only 2? I bet very few guessed a figure that low, and there’s no way it would’ve pulled off a Picture win after losing so many others.

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