No Magic Present at This Year’s Oscars
Didn’t catch the Oscars this year? If the Nielsens don’t lie, you’re probably not alone. Maybe it was the absence of the traditional “red carpet” -- a lame nod to something-or-other. Maybe this is our newfound, post-Sept. 11 intolerance for frivolity -- just about two years too late. Maybe there just weren’t that many movies worth watching this year. Maybe movie stars are just human beings -- nah, too far fetched. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away.
Whatever the reason, this year’s festivities just didn’t quite have that ... “magic.” But no matter, these things are twice as fun when they suck, ratings be damned. So for those of you who couldn’t bear the schmaltz or were too busy hiding in a bunker, I’ve caught the best moments of the entire debacle, right here for you to peruse.
Let’s start with People Magazine’s favorites:
Worst Dressed Female: The evening got off to a beguiling start when Cameron Diaz gave the award for best animated film dressed like a cross between Courtney Love and the evil queen from Snow White. Should have stuck to the dumpy-housewife look from Being John Malkovich, Cammy. At least back then you could land a role in a decent movie.
Worst Dressed Male: Sean Connery’s waning charm wasn’t quite enough to overcome the audacity of his shirt ruffles, panned later by host Steve Martin as “Red Lobster” style. Martin’s comic wit has always impressed me -- the best I could come up with on the spot was “Captain Hook” style.
Worst Dressed Band Members: Apparently, Paul Simon’s backup band includes Desmond Tutu on sax and a Hell’s Angel on bass.
Dressing up is a lot of fun, but only if you’ve got the body to go with it. Despite Steve Martin’s claim that celebrities are “thin or skinny,” a few overweight movie-stars got on my year-best list:
Most Pissed Off-Looking Celebrities: The best part about Chris Cooper and Catherine Zeta-Jones winning the best supporting role statues were the looks on the losers’ faces. Christopher Walken looked like he could kill someone. Kathy Bates, less menacing but twice as large, just looked hungry.
Weirdest Duo: A very pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones and a just-plain-fat Queen Latifah were fantastically obnoxious in their performance of some song from Chicago (did I mention I hate musicals?). Somehow I don’t think they could have made it any less annoying even if they had been able to hit all the notes.
Largest, Most Self-Indulgent Asshole: Über-fatso Michael Moore, apparently tired of picking on actors actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, brought his traveling circus to a room full of run-of-the-mill morons when he won the Best Documentary Oscar. I might add that the boos were a refreshing addition to the score -- at least you couldn’t hear.
Speaking of indulgence, it’s always fun to try to spot the self-promotions not so skillfully woven into the proceedings:
Worst Plug of a Dumb Movie: Nia Vardalos, introducing the award for makeup artists, belted out “ever since the ancient Greeks discovered cosmetics ...” The only thing less funny than that quote was her Big Fat Stupid Movie.
Best Inadvertent Film Promotion: The Danes, who won for Best Short Film, looked just like the nihilists from the Big Lebowski. It’s a shame they had to leave their pet marmet outside.
Speaking of snooze-fests, I’m a little upset that Philip Glass didn’t win for his score for The Hours, mostly because the other winners could have learned something from his speech -- it would have been exactly one word long. Here’s the worst of those who did win:
Worst Acceptance Speech (male): Best actor winner Adrian Brody stormed onto the stage, French-kissed Halle Berry, and then proceeded to babble: “making this film made me very aware of the dehumanization of war ... whoever you believe in, God or Allah, let’s pray for a quick resolution ...” I was praying for quick resolution, all right -- to his speech.
Worst Acceptance Speech (female): Apparently junk-crazed, Nicole Kidman broke down on stage and started crying. It only got worse when she managed to pull herself together: “There is a lot of, uhm, problems in the world and since 9/11 a lot of, uhm, families losing people ...” Must be sort of like divorcing Tom, eh Nicky?
Worst Introduction: Ben Affleck was introduced as “that Oscar-winning daredevil.” Not sure I care to comment on that one.
Most Incomprehensible Speech: About all I could make out of Almodovar’s acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay was something about international law. Maybe I was too busy laughing at his haircut -- sort of like the Bride of Frankenstein with mange. This guy slept with Antonio Banderas? Hey, at least he deserved the Oscar.
Weirdest Opener: The only thing funnier than Geena Davis’ opening quote was the stony silence of the audience after she delivered it. “A star asked a sculptor: how did you make such a wonderful likeness of me out of this block of granite? He replied: I chipped away everything that did not look like your highness.” Huh?
All in all, not a bad time. It’s always great watching a bunch of trained monkeys stumble over lines, fake tears, and congratulate each other. At least, in this trying time, the great American pastime of being totally full of crap is alive and well. God bless us.