Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Lamentable Oscar Oversight, Political Vids Designed to Amuse and Enlighten, and a Urine-Gargling Deer Video

Oscar nominations are in as of yesterday morning. Overall, the choices were predictable and honored those studios who no doubt mounted rigorous campaigns for their favored films. "Departed", probably the best film of 2006, was appropriately honored, I thought. Picture, Director, Screenplay. I really liked seeing Wahlberg get a Supporting Actor nomination. The lines written for him were genius, and he delivered them perfectly. (Isn't it weird that Marky Mark and the lead in "Fear" is now an Oscar nominee?) My one major problem with the nominations this year was this: "Borat" got a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay while "Prestige" (and countless other deserving scripts, I'm sure) was ignored in that category. If the Academy doesn't think Christopher Nolan and his brother wrote one of the best adapted scripts of the year, fine -- no one would ever accuse them of having exceptional taste -- but to honor "Borat" with a nomination? A movie that was a collection of clever bits Cohen improved his way through, all of which is hung on a weak Borat-Has-To-Marry-Pam-Anderson plotline? Not to defame a movie I thought was pretty funny, but Best Adapted Screenplay? I'm guessing Academy members (or is it just Writers' Guild members who do the screenplay noms? Shawn?) just wanted to see what funny things Cohen will say if he goes up and gets the award. And for that reason, I bet there's a good chance he'll get it.

Also, some fantastic political video clips this week. Here's one of Wolf Blitzer interviewing Darth Cheney. This thing is guaranteed to make you squirm. Okay, maybe not Heath. What's especially good about the clip comes at the end when Wolf starts asking Darth about the fact his lesbian daughter's having a child with another woman. in response, Cheney levels Wolf with his Lidless Eye of Sauron and Wolf withers beneath its unclean glare. He stammers and stutters and retreats. If I didn't hate Cheney with a purple passion, I'd almost have to hand it to him for so completely discombobulating a member of the press, especially the usually unflappable Blitzer. I think Wolf's problem was trying to join two completely different sentiments, one being a phony journo congratulations on Cheney's new granddaughter, and the other being a tough (and legitimate) question regarding the Vice President's hypocrisy on the subject of gay rights. It was too difficult a transition to make for ole Wolf, though I commend him for making the attempt. It must have something to do with the Cheneys. Uberbitch Lynne Cheney also gave Wolf hell, though she had even less reason to be so than her husband. Anyway, this is what happens when you deal with a politician who's cranky by nature and is entirely unconcerned with their political future. Disdain for the press times a hundred.

And here's Chuck Hagel making an impassioned speech about the war. Nary a thing he says in this clip is untrue, and he says it well. You should check it out -- it's just good.

Also, Obama calls out FoxNews for its completely lame-ass smear job it did on him last week. Some right-wing website publishes a completely uncorroborated report that Obama had attended a madrassah when he was a small child. FoxNews, because they are in no way a legitimate news organization, aired the story on the air without any independent sourcing of their own, and now a lot of regular folks believe that at some point in Obama's life, he was Muslim. Truth is neither his white Kansan mother or his secular Kenyan father (who he saw once his whole life) was a Muslim and he is and has been for some time, a Christian. Also, a madrassah is essentially Muslim grad school, so Obama being in one at the age of 8 or so, is ludicrous on its face, But the damage is done and Obama called them out in this letter, by name. And the thing is FoxNews's position is indefensible, so if they're smart they'll just take it. Which means they probably won't.

And just to round off all this political stuff with some uplifting news, here's a link to a Rolling Stone article that talks about the still-possible Gore run. James Carville thinks he'd be damn formidable and would be absolutely shocked if he didn't run. I hope I hope I hope. The wife hopes, too. Even more than me, if that's possible.

Well, the wife's back from India and she saw a whole lot of it. I don't want to attempt a rough transcript of what she told me, but I'll say that based on her first-person account, my opinion of India, already low, has hit absolute bottom-of-the-Marianas-Trench levels. Talk about a country fatally hamstrung by a religion-inspired c'est la vie outlook on its dire national problems. 60% of Indians live in filthy slums. 20% are homeless. When asked about the trenchant poverty, the other 20% of middle-class and outright rich Indians tell you the desperately poor are "content" in their slums or begging on the streets. No problems here! What's to fix? Anyway, I'm going on and on and I didn't even go. She took lots of excellent and well-framed digital photographs during her travels, and also, incidentally, a video clip. I'll just put the link here. Who knew Indian stags were such horny freaks? Anyway, good times -- take a look.

And finally, one space or two? Up until this past week I didn't know ANYONE was using a single space between sentences, but I now realize I, in fact, am the only one still using two spaces. Is it really just me? How widespread is this one-space epidemic?

Aaaaand I'm out.


harwell said...

To the best of my knowledge, only Academy members vote on the Oscars - the Writer's Guild has nothing to do with it, though I'm sure some of its membership overlaps.

BORAT is an odd choice for Best Adapted screenplay, though I expect the movie is being rewarded for being extremely funny and extremely successful. Not as many people likely saw THE PRESTIGE (myself included) while BORAT became the most talked about movie of the fall. I can tell you as a Guild member I've received no promotional materials for either film, which in hindsight really makes me wish the studio had pushed THE PRESTIGE more. It seems like the type of movie that could've really benefited from an award nomination to use for its launch on DVD. And I would've thought the push for BORAT would've come in the best actor category - I'd be very surprised if they advertised for best adapted script.

I don't really buy that the Academy members are overly concerned about giving a nomination to someone just so that person can liven up the show and maybe boost ratings; if they did I don't think you would've seen nominations for a guy like Jackie Earle Haley and the women from BABEL in the supporting categories or Paul Greengrass in the director category.

And at the end of the day I don't really think there's a chance in hell BORAT will walk away with that statue. The nomination maybe should have gone elsewhere, but the odds of it winning are probably as low as the odds of THE PRESTIGE winning had it been nominated. This category has surprised in the past - Billy Bob for SLING BLADE - but my money's on THE DEPARTED.

blankfist said...

That video was hilarious! Watching that buck gargle urine. And by buck, I mean Dick Cheney, and by urine I mean Wolf's questions about his gay rights hypocrisy, and by gargle I mean stare with disdain. Oh and the other buck gargling urine video was pretty awesome, as well. It's glad to hear Peggy is back in the US of A. It's good to know she's home. On your next post, you should post up some of her pictures if she wouldn't mind. I'd also like to hear a bit about her travels, being that the lot of us are stuck in the States having to live vicariously through the likes of people like your wife. So what say you? What say Peggy?

I'm glad Wolf at least attempted to hold the two Cheneys' feet to the fire, albeit it was a nearly spineless and pathetic attempt. Dick's hypocrisy is staggering. And, I cannot believe Wolf would back down so easily when Dick made it seem like an uncalled for personal question. Yeah, Dick, it is personal. It's personal in the sort of way that all gay people are having to deal with your blatant and defiant disregard to the Constitution and above all our Declaration which states "All men are created equal." It doesn't say, "All men who believe in good and moral Christian values are created more eqaul than those who are Godless." Also, how awesomely shameless was it that Lynne just wanted to promote her book. Haha. What a jerk.

Who cares about the Oscars? Seriously. Have they ever been anything outside of a disappointment since the 1970s? I mean, since Dances with Wolves won over Goodfellas, I think the majesty died for me.

blankfist said...

Oh, and... boo on Gore.

Anonymous said...

Obama Bin Laden

Speck said...

Top 3 movies of the Year:

The Prestige
Children of Men
Pan's Labyrinth

All 3 three were more or less shafted, specially the first two...but at they got the proper Cinematography noms...though PL deserved one, too.

All I gotta say. Fuck the Academy.

They all suck Clints dong...Million Dollar Baby sucked. Flags of our Father, no one saw. Iwo Jima...great concept, some powerful scenes, and otherwise scatterbrained clusterfuck of a movie that all over the place with no single follow through. need to accumulate mass power in that "guild" and dissolve that shit Palpatine style!

Craig Moorhead said...

Dude - TWO SPACES! Me, too. It doesn't look right to me otherwise. At school I remember in a screenwriting class someone brought that question up and I immediately said, "Two spaces." and everybody else was all "Nah." and I was all "Huh?"

It was another meeting of the minds in the screenwriting outpost building, where no one can hear you scream.

Also, 'Little Miss Sunshine' for best picture? I have a theory - someone at PriceWaterhouse is being held hostage (and they were taken in 1990, I think) and since then they've been loading up the nominee list with fake nominees to send us a message that they've been kidnapped. But the Academy just doesn't get it. 'Dances With Wolves'? Sure! Marissa Tomei? Why not? 'Crash'? Brilliant! And now 'Little Miss Sunshine'. I think this guy ain't gonna make it.

JudgeHolden said...

That's pretty hilarious. I don't think he's going to make it either.

As for the spaces issue, I thought two spaces between sentences was the absolute immutable rule but now, apparently, everyone from the AMA (which is some august grammar body) to the Chicago Manual of Style says one. It makes me feel old when I'm told grammar rules I was taught as late as high-school are now officially wrong. Well, like the typical old man writer who sticks to his Selectric, I'm sticking to two spaces. Yeah.

blankfist said...

Totally single space for me. Double-space just looks wrong to me, but here again I think the type face dictates the rule. If the font's kerning isn't heavy, then two spaces may be the way to go, but I've personally never seen a font that doesn't kern appropriately.

I mean, does this look right to you? With that extra space between the "?" and the "W"? Or does this look right to you with the single space betwen the "?" and the "O"?

blankfist said...

Wait, they look the same! Hmmm... Maybe blogger strips out all the extra spaces?

blankfist said...

Please let this be Hillary's Howard Dean moment! Please! Oh please!

JudgeHolden said...

I think you misread this video, Heath. Far from being any kind of campaign-ending crazy moment a la the Dean Scream, her soft bad singing is actually kind of endearing. It tells voters that she's not perfect, that she's fallible and doesn't excel at absolutely everything. I think that video's a positive for her, which is probably why it's ranked 7-thousand something out of 9-thousand something.

blankfist said...

Why do you have to rain on my parade, Cranesy. Sheesh!

Peggy said...

Two Spaces. For Sure!

blankfist said...

Dead blog.