Senior Theatrical Editor
Oscar Crowns No Country, Coen Brothers King
There isn’t too much to say about this year’s 80th Annual Academy Award telecast. For the most part, everything went just about as scripted. Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men won five awards including Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his ferocious work in There Will Be Blood, Javier Bardem was the obvious choice for Best Support Actor while former exotic dancer Diablo Cody got to cement her status as it-girl of the hour by nabbing the award for Original Screenplay for Juno.
Joel and Ethan Coen holding four of their six Oscars after Saturday's 80th Annual Academy Awards ceremony
As for the rest, well I’m going to dispense with the usual recap of who won what when and why (you can just go to http://oscar.com/oscarnight/winners/index to find that out if you still don’t know) and instead going to do my own little TV Guide ‘Cheers & Jeers’ and point out the evenings highs and lows. Some will be obvious (expect a shout-out to Once), some not so much (when did Daniel Day-Lewis’ wife turn into a Christmas Present?), but hopefully all will be interesting.
And if they’re not? Well, at least be happy in the knowledge it didn’t take 3-hours and 17-minutes for you to read them all.
Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard
You just got to love that Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for her brilliant work as Edith Piaf in the movie La Vie En Rose becoming the first foreign actress to win the award since Sophia Loren took it home for Two Women in 1962. The fact she looked so stunned and amazed by her victory made it even that much more special. All the talk was Away from Her star Julie Christie getting her second Oscar (she won for Darling in 1966) but instead the (semi-tragically) silver mermaid dress clad pixie climbed the stairs of the Kodak Theater to give her acceptance speech. “You truly rocked my life,” she said, clearly overwhelmed. “I thank you life, thank you love, and it is true, there is some angels in this city.”
Did anyone actually see Gary Busey walk the red carpet before the show started? What a frickin’ mess this guy is. I swear to god, first he shouts out Ryan Seacrest in the middle of an interview, then he pretty much tackles The Savages nominee Laura Linney startling her almost senseless before finally planting a big wet-one on a clearly shocked Jennifer Garner who looks about as terrified as Drew Barrymore at the beginning of Scream. I’m still trying to figure out what Busey was doing there in the first place (it’s not like he’s made a half-way decent movie in, I don’t know, a decade maybe?) but the safe bet is he’ll never be asked back, that’s for sure.
On that same note, you have got to give props to Seacrest for being able to handle the situation near as well as he did. For a second there I actually thought he was going to jump the weedy hedge fencing keeping the press from the stars walking the red carpet to protect Garner. He didn’t, but somehow he did manage to move the former Hollywood star (and one-time nominee) down the line and (probably) into the waiting arms of security. The guy is still an annoyance, but for one night at least Seacrest has got my respect for doing a job well done.
MISS: The other wise radiant Best Adapted Screenplay Winner Diablo Cody in an odd animal print
I’m not the fashion police, lord knows if I didn’t have style conscious friends I’d never be able to dress myself for parties or events, but there are a few things I do have to wonder. Like, I know diamonds are a girl’s best friend and all but why, exactly, did Harry Winston (or some other jeweler) think it was okay to vomit all over Nicole Kidman's left breast? Why was Supporting Actress winner Tilda Swinton wearing a black toga? Who was it exactly that told Best Actress nominee Christie it would be fantastic if she wore pink jogging gloves with her otherwise tasteful cranberry gown? Has anyone told winner Cody she can stop dressing as a stripper now that she's written a hit motion picture? Was I the only one who thought that Kelly Preston’s otherwise gorgeous frock was still excruciatingly hideous thanks to that truly heinous orange color? Did anyone let Juno star and Best Actress nominee Ellen Page know she didn’t need to come to the ceremony still in character? And, seriously, did Rebecca Miller really not notice that the big red bows on her sleeves and the giant crystal on her dress’ bodice made her look like a giant Christmas Present?
HIT: Katherine Heigl on the red carpet
Again, not a fashion expert, but I do have to give shout-outs to Anne Hathaway, Keri Russell, Helen Mirren, Amy Adams (who also sang one of the nominated Enchanted songs beautifully), Hilary Swank, Ruby Dee, Heidi Klum, Penélope Cruz, Jennifer Hudson and especially Katherine Heigl (who, if she ever wants to swap places with a nobody, I really do want her to know I am definitely available). On a side note, I have come to the new conclusion Atonement star James McAvoy is the sexiest man I have ever seen. This could change next week but, for now at least, I remain firmly inflexible in my brand new crush.
To The Golden Compass winning Best Visual Effects. Okay, so it isn’t like I adored any of the three nominees, but can you honestly tell me the effects in that just barely passable Lord of the Rings wannabe were better than the highly cool and ultra realistic alien shape-shifting robots of Transformers? I didn’t think so.
To the smarties putting on the Oscar telecasat who thought it would be fun to let the main character from Bee Movie, a horrible animated film not even up for the Oscar, give the award for Best Animated Short. Okay, so The Swarm gag was cute, but promoting what is essentially a mediocre movie on the entertainment industry's biggest stage is just stupid. Shame all around.
Host John Stewart goofs around
To host John Stewart. Not only was your one real joke about the writer’s strike funny (“If Vanity Fair wants to show respect to the writers, next year they could invite some of the writers to the Vanity Fair party.”), his mid-show bit playing a super-gigantic game of Wii Tennis was borderline brilliant. He also slammed Norbit (“Too often The Academy ignores films that aren't good.”) which definitely made my night something close to grand. But the real reason he gets my vote of approval is for stopping the show after a commercial break (allegedly at the urging of presenter Colin Farrell) to bring back Marketa Irglova to give her acceptance speech for winning Best Song for “Falling Slowly.” Classy act, and if the Academy wants to bring him back for another year of hosting duties this alone makes that a-ok in my book.
Best Original Song winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Also to Irglova, this time for delivering my favorite line of the night from a winner. “This proves, no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible.”
To just how freakishly brief the In Memoriam montage was. While I understand speeding up the show is a priority, not showing at least a couple clips in a year when we lost talents like Roy Scheider, Michelangelo Antonioni, Deborah Kerr, Heath Ledger and Ingmar Bergman borders on the inexcusable.
Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan seperated at birth? You decide.
While it just might be possible that Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill were separated at birth, their bit impersonating Halle Berry and Judi Dench handing out both of the Sound awards was nearly as hysterical as anything to be found in either of their 2007 hits Superbad or Knocked Up. Considering those films where laugh riots that should tell you just how funny this was.
To all those inane interviews with past Oscar winners speaking for six, maybe seven seconds on why winning was so amazing. We get it, this is the 80th anniversary and it’s fun to look back at Barbara and Michael and Catherine and everyone else who’s taken home a little golden statue but seriously, do we really need to watch these people congratulate themselves for their own brilliance? I really don’t think so.
Tilda Swinton holding her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress
Back to surprise winner Swinton (I really did think Gone Baby Gone star Amy Ryan had this one in the bag – my bad) and her clearly stunned reaction for winning for Michael Clayton. Sweet, simple, to the point, it was a great acceptance speech. It also gave her the opportunity to throw some wickedly funny barbs at her nominated co-star George Clooney saying, “You know, the seriousness and the dedication to your art, seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from Batman & Robin, the one with the nipples, every morning under your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside-down at lunch, you rock, man. Thank you.” No, Tilda, thank you.
What was up with that skit on Oscar security? For a show everyone always complains is too long, this was ten minutes they could have given us back and we wouldn’t have missed a single second of them. My suggestion? Don’t use anything close to resembling it next year.
To the quality of the films this year and to the Academy for getting so many of these awards right. For the most part, even the surprises were worthy of accolade (yes, I’m talking about you Best Documentary winner Taxi to the Darkside, you’re searing look at United States policy in regards to interrogation was absolutely remarkable), and the amount of creativity on display in the majority of the nominees is almost beyond reproach. These 80th Academy Awards won’t go down as the best ever, no, but they certainly contained one of the greatest lineups of films, and for me that’s more than enough to qualify it as a smashing success.
On a side note, I have to give a final jeer to myself for forgetting to add Best Makeup to our Oscar predictions piece from last week. If it is any consolation, I picked La Vie En Rose to win. Considering that my guess is that Dennis would have selected that one, too, I’m happy to say I still won our little contest 12-11. Better luck next year, sweetie.
THE MAJOR WINNERS
1. No Country for Old Men won 5 Oscars (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor)
2. The Bourne Ultimatum won 3 Oscars (Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Editing)
3. La Vie en Rose won 2 Oscars (Actress, Makeup)
4. There Will Be Blood won 2 Oscars (Actor, Cinematography)
5. Atonement won 1 Oscar (Original Score)
6. The Counterfeiters won 1 Oscar (Foreign Language Film)
7. Elizabeth: The Golden Age won 1 Oscar (Costumes)
8. The Golden Compass won 1 Oscar (Visual Effects)
9. Juno won 1 Oscar (Original Screenplay)
10. Michael Clayton won 1 Oscar (Supporting Actress)
11. Once won 1 Oscar (Original Song, "Falling Slowly")
12. Ratatouille won 1 Oscar (Animated Film)
13. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street won 1 Oscar (Art Direction)
14. Taxi to the Dark Side won 1 Oscar (Documentary Feature)