Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Oscars

Yeah, I know, everything there is to be said about the Oscars has already been said, and most people don't care anyway. But I'm going to talk about them because this is my damn blog and I feel like it.

We watch the Oscars every year, and this year I was actually kind of excited about it for a while because it seemed like some actual good movies were nominated for some awards. Then I got sick of all the hype and if Ryan had said to me a few minutes before it started "Let's rent a movie instead," I would have been fine with that. Then the stupid show started and I was glued to the set for the next three hours (except when I went to the store to get some dinner).

General comments: The actresses are all too skinny. Messy hair looks... messy. Dear Renee Zellwegger: have you ever noticed that people start talking about how great you look whenever you're carrying some of that "extra" Bridget Jones weight around and then we are start saying you look like a scarecrow with fish lips when you lose it again? Oh, I don't know -- just thought I'd mention it. I seriously thought Penelope Cruz was Salma Hayak and vice versa, up until the one I thought was Salma left the stage and then Ryan said something about Salma's hair and used the power of Tivo to prove to me that it was Penelope who left the stage. Can't stand either of them so it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, I guess.

Hilary Swank's dress was a cool idea, but the front needed to be executed a lot better for me to give it a thumbs up. I liked her hair though. Take the dress from her first Oscar win and the hair from her second and you've got a pretty awesome look overall. I didn't like the short spiky hair on her the first time around and I liked it even less on Annette Bening this year. Maybe Annette thought that's what made the difference the last time around and adopted it for herself.

I hate to agree with Kathy Griffin's E! Fashion Police opinion about anything, but I thought Imelda Staunton looked pretty awesome too. So did Kate Winslett. So did that actress from "Maria Full of Grace" who was supposed to be so great but who we'll probably never see again. Okay, doesn't Gwyneth Paltrow probably keep, like, a stable of stylists around her, and couldn't one of them make sure she wears a dress that is flattering to her bust to the Oscars one of these days? By my count, we've now seen her wear way too big (the year she won), way too small (this year), and way more than I wanted to see (the year of that black mesh diaster). Aside from that, her hair looked flat and boring. This woman is a fashion icon?

Scarlett Johanssen's hair looked fuzzy to me. Maybe a little less peroxide?

Wait, there were men there? I guess nobody much cares since it's not as fun to ask "who" they're wearing when one tux looks pretty much like all the rest of them. I will say that Johnny Depp looked ridiculous. It's not that much fun to make fun of him for that, though, because "ridiculous" may well have been exactly what he was going for.

I'm not even going to say much about who actually won awards, since I didn't see hardly any of the movies that were nominated. I'm just going to whine about my biggest pet peeve, which is that the two screenplay awards have become more a consolation prize than anything else. It seems like most years there's a movie that gets all kinds of Oscar buzz and is intelligent and usually a comedy, and everyone seems to love it but in the end it's just not as big and flashy and dramatic as the eventual winner, and the next thing you know, the smaller buzzworthy movie has lost all the acting awards, and director and best picture -- forget it -- but the screenwriter goes home with a little gold guy and hey, that's a prestigious one too, right? Only -- come on. How many times has this happened? This year it was *twice* -- people peed themselves over "Sideways" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (both comedies, it must be noted), and they got all kinds of press and have won all kinds of other awards prior to the Oscars, but on the big night -- oh, sorry, we don't want you to go home empty-handed, so here's the writing prize. Last year, I didn't begrudge "Lord of the Rings" a single award it won and I didn't even like "Lost in Translation" all that much, but it was the same story -- one was big and one was little. And the most egregious example I can think of was the year that big bloated piece of crap "Titanic" won almost everything it was nominated for (it wasn't even nominated in the Original Screenplay category, which to me is evidence that there may be a God) while "L.A. Confidential" went home with a screenplay award and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Basinger (!?!).

Don't get me wrong -- I absolutely think the screenplay awards *should* be prestigious. If I were to win an Oscar, a screenplay award is the one I would want to win, and the films that win them do tend to be really well written, so at least there is some justice there.I'm glad Charlie Kaufman won an Oscar because the guy is just brilliant -- he writes some of the only movies I've ever seen where I sit there halfway through them thinking "I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen next!" I was similarly happy when whoever adapted "Sideways" won, because that movie was incredibly funny.

The problem is that both of those movies deserved to win other awards too, not just the consolation prize. I think the fact that these really cool but not big and flashy enough movies win screenplay awards but not usually much else, even if they get tons of nominations, is symptom of just about everything that's wrong with movie-making these days. For me, it all begins and ends with the script -- I don't care if the scenery and special effects are any good if I don't buy the storyline, and the most brilliant acting performance just suffocates under the weight of bad dialogue. I probably sound elitest and all, but I don't care. Drama or comedy, it has been be well-written if it's going to get my stamp of approval. And in my perfect world, the screenplay awards would be the most important awards they gave out.

Anyway, those are my Oscar thoughts. Or the ones I can think of right now, anyway.

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