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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oscars 2007: The Best & Worst of The Academy Awards

This year’s Academy Awards achieved something no other show has ever done: It bored my TiVo to the point that it actually stopped taping. Yep, before “the big four” awards were even presented, the little-digital-recorder-that-could had had enough. Much like me.

Sure, the real reason my TiVo tuned out probably had more to do with the fact that the show limped on for almost four hours, but I choose to believe my DVR has gleaned something from our years together and knows when enough is enough.

What went wrong with this year’s show, you ask? Plenty. From the peculiar pacing to the endless montages, the show was a bust, from start to finish. Ellen’s opening lacked the grandiosity that usually sets the pace for the evening. Her shtick was funny, at times, but seemed more suited for a stand-up routine than an event honoring the best in film. And her big musical number involved dancing in the aisles with a gospel choir. Strange, and a harbinger of stranger things to come, as the night continued.

Before you fire off the hate mail, let me preface this column by saying that I love Ellen DeGeneres. But with all due respect to Ms. DeGeneres’ vast comedy skills, not even she could save this year’s show. It will go down in history as the most boring ever produced. When Jack Black’s musical number is on your “highlight” list, you know something went very wrong.

Here’s a look at the best and worst of the show:

Best quote of the night: “Visual effects: They enable us to see aliens, experience other universes, move in slow motion or watch spiders climbing high above the city landscape ... for me, just a typical weeknight in the mid '90s."--- A rehabbed Robert Downey Jr., presenting the Oscar for best achievement in visual effects.

Timing is everything: Those of us well schooled in Academy Award shows know that immediately after the host’s opening, the award for Best Supporting Actor is presented. That’s what keeps us watching for the next three endless hours, the hope that we’ll get to see more of Brad, George and the Hollywood gang claiming one of the top six prizes. And let’s face it. Those are the awards that we all want to see. But this year, the Academy kicked off the show with the ever-popular prize for, drum roll please, art direction. Making things worse is the fact that minutes and minutes ticked by before an acting award was presented. (9:23 p.m. precisely.) Don’t worry, folks. I’ll give you what you want, without the music montages, dance numbers, and bad jokes. (Well, without the music montages and dance numbers anyway.)
Best Picture: "The Departed"
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, "Last King of Scotland"
Best Actress: Helen Mirren, "The Queen"
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine"
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"

Best speech: Forest Whitaker. His speech was heartfelt and got everyone a little weepy, including the Fresh Prince.

Most awkward moment: Clint Eastwood trying to read a teleprompter during his tribute to Ennio Morricone. Eastwood bumbled the speech so badly that the translator must’ve thought Eastwood was speaking a language other than English. At the end of his rambling, Eastwood muttered, “I should have worn my glasses.” I couldn’t agree more.

Best musical comedy routine: Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s opening musical number about comedians at the Oscars and that it’s the “saddest thing of all,” i.e. “Your name they’ll never call.” Somewhere, Eddie Murphy isn’t laughing.

Best introduction for an actress: The always-impeccably-styled Jennifer Lopez took the stage, and the announcer introduced her as “an excellent reason for HDTV.” Sony, I think you have your new ad campaign.

Most nail-biting moment: It wasn’t the moment that the Best Picture winner was announced. Instead, it was the nerve-wracking “Dreamgirls” musical performance, in which Jennifer Hudson’s breasts kept threatening to spill out of that gorgeous red gown. The woman has a crazy, hot body, but I didn’t want to see that much of it. I kept having traumatic flashbacks to Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl fiasco, praying that my girl Jennifer wouldn’t create Nipplegate 2007

So you think you can dance? Some may say the Oscars isn’t the place for an interpretive dance troupe, and considering the show ran three hours and 47 minutes, they may be right. But, watching Pilobolus contort themselves into images from this year’s nominated movies was beyond cool. I thought the pitchfork transformation to the stiletto for “The Devil Wears Prada” was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, until they twisted themselves into a gun, a la “The Departed,” and fired a bullet. Hmmm…do you think they do birthday parties?

Funniest quote from a nominee: "This is the only naked man who'll ever be in my bedroom," ---Openly gay Melissa Etheridge joking about her Oscar statue, after claiming the prize for Best Song

Too much and too little: The show was a hodge-podge mess of music, dance, film clips, jokes, stand-up routines, and tributes that lacked fluidity, focus and substance. A gospel choir, a sound-effects choir, a dance troupe and too many montages to count, left viewers and audience members singing Melissa Etheridge’s song, “I Need to Wake Up,” and not just because it’s a catchy tune.

Biggest understatement: Hours into the broadcast, presenter Kate Winslet took the stage and said that she was there to present the moment we were all waiting for: the nominees for film editing. Um, not exactly, Kate.

A show about nothing: Jerry Seinfeld joined the hodge-podge telecast to present an award. I have no idea why he was there, but considering he made history with his show about nothing, perhaps it was fitting that he made an appearance on this broadcast. Besides, he made me laugh. Although it seemed ill-fitted for the Oscars, Seinfeld launched into a stand-up bit about the people who own and operate movie theaters. Seinfeld said he was upset that moviegoers are asked to put their trash in bins: “There is an agreed upon deal between us and the movie theater people. It is understood by every single person in this room. The deal is, you rip us off on overpriced, oversized crap that we shouldn't be eating to begin with. In exchange for that, when I'm done with something, I open my hand. I'm not sticking my hand down into a dark hole, and trying to pry out three Goobers that have been soda-welded there since "The Shawshank Redemption," which is not a nominee this evening, but these five, incredibly depressing movies, are." I told you he was funny.

Fashion wrap up: Penelope Cruz gets my vote for best dressed in that breathtaking Versace gown. That’s what an academy award nominee should look like. Helen Mirren and Jennifer Lopez also belong in the best-dressed category. Worst dressed goes to Meryl Streep. Sorry. I love the lady, but that outfit wasn’t Oscar worthy. I think she should have Winona Rydered some wardrobe from the “The Devil Wears Prada” movie set.

Best Ellen gag: Going into the audience, mid-show, to get Steven Spielberg to take a photo of her and Clint Eastwood for her My Space page.

Here's a list of the remaining Academy Award winners:

Best Song: "I Need to Wake Up," "An Inconvenient Truth"
Best Animated Feature: "Happy Feet"
Best Film Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker, "The Departed"
Best Original Screenplay: "Little Miss Sunshine"
Best Original Score: "Babel"
Best Documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth"
Best Documentary Short: "The Blood of Yingzhou District"
Best Foreign-Language Film: "The Lives of Others"
Best Visuals Effects: "Pirates of the Caribbean 2"
Best Cinematography: "Pan's Labyrinth"
Best Costume Design: "Marie Antoinette"
Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Departed"
Best Sound Mixing: "Dreamgirls"
Best Sound Editing: "Letters from Iwo Jima"
Best Live Action Short: "West Bank Story"
Best Animated Short: "The Danish Poet"
Best Makeup: "Pan's Labyrinth"
Best Art Direction: "Pan's Labyrinth"


ally said...

AWESWOME recap. Thanks, Jennifer! You're hilarious. LMAO at the Eddie Murphy comment and the Wynona Ryder comment.

miles said...

I thought Ellen did a great job, with what she had to work with....enjoyed your review.

tube talk addict said...

You're hysterical. I thought it was just me worried about Jennifer Hudson's boobs. They were dangerously close to coming out, weren't they? :)

Anonymous said...

i love the lady too--on meryl streep!!! awesomeawesomeawesome!!!!

tube talk addict said...

Jen, you should be on the red carptet. You are hysterical!!!

kim said...

Love your take on the big night. It was a snooze fest, wasn't it!

Belinda said...

Ditto on the Jennifer Hudson dress. By the way, who allowed her to have POCKETS in her brown gown? Who even knew you could have pockets in a gown??? In several pictures you see her with her hands in those awful pockets. Otherwise, the dress was lovely. Thanks for the awesome recap, Jen.

tube talk girl said...

Aw, the pockets in the gown...a look no woman should attempt. She had amazing gowns at every awards ceremony, until this one. She looked beautiful, but I hated the Star Trek gold jacket and the pockets. Ughh....

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