Monday, March 06, 2006

Academy Awards 2006: BOOOOORRRRRING!

Hello all! Now that the quasi-hiatus is behind us, we can get back to current events. So, today, I'm going to get to the thing everyone's talking about (or at least talking about not talking about), the Oscars. The 2006 awards were all handed out last night, and there was some great choices (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and some not-so-great choices (Memoirs of a Geisha over The New World, or over Batman Begins for cinematography?). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences can be a hard group to take seriously. They passed up chances to anoint modern classics like Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, or LA Confidential, in order to give the Best Picture nod to, respectively, Dances with Wolves, Forrest Gump, and Titanic. All of the films in these cases were actually good movies, I thought, but they were also not the best film of their respective years. So in 2006, we were lucky that Munich, the best film released this past year, was nominated at all. It looked to be a close thing there at the end of the nominating process. A lot of folks in Hollywood would have been happy to see Munich drop off the face of the earth, but it gutted it out and managed to make the top five list after all. But because Munich was the best film of last year, of COURSE it wouldn't win. But Crash? Not even Brokeback, but Crash? Inexplicable.

I'm not sure what to make of Crash winning the big award. I'm still not even sure what I think of this movie. I guess the reason I don't know what to think about Crash is because I never thought much about it after I saw it in the theater. It isn't the kind of movie that stays with you, at least it didn't stay with me. Crash seems to be more about a message than about a particular story, (and is that ever good?) and the message in Crash seems to be "racism is bad, but not all racists are bad people." Or maybe it's "racists are bad people, but sometimes bad people do good things"? I don't know. Is it the best movie of last year? Not by a long shot.

As for the award show itself, it presented once more the eternal Academy Award show conundrum -- how do you make this crap interesting? From the looks of things, making the proceedings watchable seems to be really damn hard. How do you perform almost universally awful "Best" Song nominees without boring everyone? The producer of the show, Gill Cates, seems to think interpretive dance is sometimes the answer, which he did with the performance of the first ever rap song nominee. But isn't it never the answer?

Another difficulty: how to get the largely humorless audience of actors and producers and film execs that comprise the Oscars audience to laugh? Doesn't seem to matter which comedic genius you throw at them, they're going to greet the guy with dull grins and muted, polite laughter.

And maybe the biggest challenge: how to make the often mind-numbing acceptance speeches acceptable. This year, Cates decided to play soft orchestral music over the winners' entire speech, instead of just at the end to get them the hell off the stage. I guess he did this to make everyone feel like they had just 5 seconds to finish during the whole of their alloted 30 seconds, resulting in super-rushed sounding speeches. I don't particularly enjoy hearing the soulless, award-acceptor-bot Hillary Swank, for example, thanking her cadre of lawyers, (as she did last year), but I don't know if limiting everyone to 30 or 60 seconds is quite the answer either. I know it's not a major deal for Reese Witherspoon to have only a minute to thank everyone who needs thanking, but for a lot of the winners, especially some of the technical guys or the animated short guys, this is the culmination of their professional lives. It sucks that some of them don't even get the oppotunity to say a single thing.

I guess a good Oscar show is like a good World Series: it depends on who's up that year. If great movies people care about are nominated (and have the added value of actually being good), and the Academy hires a good host who can nimbly riff on whatever happens on-stage, then you got the makings of a good show, but not even that guarantees it. The law of averages dictates that most Oscar shows are going to be, in the words of Mel Gibson, "as boring as a dog's ass."


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

One with a trigger, two with a bat
Three big brothers four
Wanna squal with me, so I guess a brother gotta throw
Tell 'em like this ya better get up out my camp dude
Before I have to pull a gat and get real rude
I don't figure that it's worth gettin' hurt
Just cuz ya gal wanna give me that skirt
Bet it feels funny when ya doin' 69
Knowin' that ya sippin' on all my jimmy wine
And when ya get a kiss, do ya feel bad
Knowin' that ya swallowed on a skeeter that I had
You wanna step to me but I don't really think you should
I shoulda shot you up instead I told ya somethin' good.

What's up wit that buldge in ya khakis?

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about these half-and-half punks! UGK!

See brothers nowadays got a habit that they really need to stop
Gettin' all shot over a girl that I done popped
You need to check your gal and what she did in the past
Cuz if you know like me, you would drop her real fast
But I ain't bout to do her cuz I'm scared of that disease
Cuz she's passin' out the skinz like government cheese
But not me player cuz Pimp C wanna live
Have you had your test are you HI positive
But instead of gettin' checked you wanna fight with me
You need to check your blood and let somebody check your teeth
But if you don't step I'ma drop on ya fast
And pump off lead like bullets in your ass
I didn't do your girl but your sister was allright
Took her to my homeboy's caddy last night
She waxed my jimmy and then the little street tramp
Did me on a box of tens and a Pioneer amp
I hit if from the back and the girl just threw me
Turned me on my stomach and she scratched me on my booty
Now everybody in the world
Know that your sister is a nasty little girl

blankfist said...

Tell me somethin' good...

--a forty ounce done kicked you dead to the zone...

JudgeHolden said...

Riiiight. Anyway, for readers interested in some actual discussion on the quality and/or relevance of the Oscars, check out Craig Moorhead's most recent post, and then click on the comments (it's in the links section). Some interesting opinions. Just imagine they were posted here, even though they weren't. I got weak rap lyrics for comments.

blankfist said...

Come on, dude! You got UGK flowin' through your shiite muslim! Come on' that shiite muslim was hip like when you were fourteen and I was in the service.

At the ripe ol' age of 47.

Yeah, that joke was for you. Anyhow, dude, that Craig post is old as shiite muslim. Sorry, trying to keep this clean.

Anonymous said...

Cuz she's passin' out the skinz like government cheese

--That's a keeper line

blankfist said...

Oh, anonymous, there are so many wonderful keeper lines from UGK. I'm just glad that SOMEONE had the cajoles to post that under-appreciated song up here. Thank you, anonymous, whomever you are...

Wait, was that me?

Anyhow, yeah, this year's Oscars was boring. Crash winning is probably good for Harwell, but no one else. Racism is bad. We get it. We don't need the pompus Hollywood to give us the hard sell. We really do get it. Maybe South Dakota doesn't, but we do!

I love how anyone that's talking about the Oscars is showing Ben Stiller's green-screen-suit, but NOT TALKING ABOUT IT. No one has said dookie number uno about his green screen suit. Not one.

Anyhow, I just wanted to hop on and validate your blog, because the UGK lyrics (as cool as they be) might have detracted. Anyhow, good post. Although, I think you have a man-crush on Costner. You know, the whole WaterWorld hat and all? And now with the hole "Dances with Kostner" being a "good movie". I don't know, dude, I think you have the hots for him.

Bull Durham?

harwell said...

Yeah, take everything you hate about rap music, chuck out the music, and then what you're left with is these wonderful posts by anonymous (quasi-anonymous?). Heath, if it's you - you can do better. You can't annoy us if we can just skim over you. If it's not you, then hell. I don't know.

I highly advise using a TiVo to watch the Oscars. It was very useful for fast forwarding through the boring crap this year. True, that only left a sliver of a show remaining, but it also allowed me to pause the show and get a good glimpse at those weird people in the balcony during Robert Altman's award. I guess that was his family, right? If that was his son with the frizzy long hair and moustache, then that dude had to be adopted. He looked nothing like Popeye.

I saw Don Cheadle on Sunday Morning Shootout and he said he never saw Crash as a story to be taken literally and instead always looked at it as a fable of sorts. His interpretation I believe allowed him to accept that people would say things they wouldn't normally say, and display both the best and worst of themselves in seemingly all too convenient manners. I dunno. I think that's an interesting take on the film, but in no way do I think Paul Haggis did anything with the film language/style that would lead to that interpretation. Of all the things he borrowed from Magnolia, he didn't take any of its surrealism. Too bad, really. I think people might have different reactions to that film if it had been constructed as a What If story, not unlike Liar Liar but a bit more serious.

Oh, if you're a slacker like me and not really able to talk about the Oscars because you haven't seen a lot of the movies (which hasn't stopped Papa Paul apparently, ha) look for Good Night, and Good Luck and A History of Violence on dvd next week. I think Capote's out the week after that...

Hey Crane, I think you should use your blog to do some research. Let's see if we can find five people who saw Memoirs of A Geisha.
Hinesy doesn't count, because he lives it. Five AMERICAN people who saw Memoirs of A Geisha. Five.

Are you out there?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm a hypocrite.

Nothing is worse than a smart-ass who makes comments on films that he has not seen. Damn, am I regressing. I guess I'm full of hot-air - giving an opinion for everything.

Ok- just to admit - Movies that I still haven't seen -

Munich - dying to see this alone.

Brokeback Mountain - still looks boring and not gay enough, but I will see this soon with Betina.

Walk that Line - want to see it!

Capote - want to see it!

King Kong - do not really want to see it.

Memoirs of a Geisha - do not really want to see it. If there is sex, will watch it.

Batman Begins - SHPURT!

Cinderella Man - feels like I've seen this before...Not excited, maybe will rent it to see Giamatti's performance.

History of Violence - really want to see this. I love Cronenberg.

Movies I have seen:

A Constant Gardener
Paradise Now
Grizzly Man
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Good Night and Good Luck
La Sierra
The War Within
The Edukators
Punishment Park (amazing!)
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Kings and Queen

With 2 kids and marital resp it has been difficult finding the $20 and time to see each of these films in the cinema.

I guess after seeing so many films you tend to notice certain things -I know that to prejudge is bad, but at times the bullshit meter can really help save valuable time. I'll just wait to see most of these on DVD.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - anonymous is Papa P.

blankfist said...

Harwell, you still got it on Tivo? If so, could you go back to the tape and verify something for me? Could you tell Crane that Sandra Bullock is NOT sitting directly beside Keanu? Please!

We've got a whole Waterworld hat argument riding on it.

harwell said...

Sorry - it's long gone. But I'd side with Crane. Looked to me as if they were sitting together...

You're the google master though. Can't you find any video of this anywhere? You should be able to tell from the shot they showed right after Crash was announced Best Pic.