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Jennifer

I remember having a dream about Telly Savalas and another about Desi Arnaz... I remember waking up and thinking, "what the heck? This is MY dream where I can do whatever and these are the men who show up???" They weren't clad in flannel, but it might have been better if they had been.

Jennifer

Oops, I was so distracted by the thoughts of Telly sans clothes that I forgot to add that I am kind of glad that neither actor got an award for Brokeback. Yes, they did wonderful jobs, but you can't just give an award for playing gay. If they did that they'd have to give an Oscar to all of the gay people who have played it straight over the years.

As for Reese, a dj was saying yesterday that the Oscars have really turned into a Rich Little award. He said a sure way to be nominated or to win is to portray a real person. Should they have a separate category for that???

Phil Nugent

Hey, I LOVE "Cookie's Fortune." I definitely think it's a subtler, smarter take on race relations in America than "Crash," and it has the side benefit of not making you want to kill yourself. But at the Oscars, that's probably taken as evidence of lack of seriousness.

I don't want to pout about it, though. I do think they gave Best Picture to the worst of the five nominees, but I can remember years where they managed to do a lot worse than honor Clooney, Witherspoon, Hoffman, Weisz, Wallace, and Grommit.

Shakespeare's Sister

By the way, am I the only one who liked Cookie's Fortune?

Nope.

"What happened?"

I suspect that part of what may have played into this was the sense among lots of Academy voters, in a year of films with social statements, that they personally have more to "say" (the sum total of that statement being casting a vote) about racism than about homophobia. They work in an industry which they likely view as less homophobic than it actually is; that there are lots of open-among-peers-but-professionally-closeted actors getting good work might strike them as more positive than it ought to be regarded in the larger scheme of things. Racism, however, is still widely regarded as a problem in the entertainment industry, and in a way that's probably more in alignment with the reality of how racism plays out everywhere else, too.

I also think if Crash had been filmed in NY or Chicago instead of L.A., it might not have won.

Matt

My biggest pet peeve about the Oscars was the new practice wherein the orchestra played light elevator music during the winners' speeches. It immediately gave each speech a sappy, Hallmark card backdrop that distracted me to no end. Did this bother anyone else? Because I've mentioned this on a few different blogs, and no one else seemed to be annoyed by it (maybe because Oscar speeches are already deemed so craptacular that a little sappy music represents an improvement).

I think that your pet theory about the Best Picture voting is right on the mark, Lance. But these Oscars seemed remarkably defensive to me, in everything from the desperate pleas for trips to the movie theatre to extreme anxiousness about politics and film. And I'd guess that many voters felt that a Best Picture award to Brokeback would cement Hollywood's liberal reputation. So, being the good Democrats that they are, they shied away from fighting for their principles and went with a compromise position.

A few other random thoughts:

I think that Juaquin Phoenix truly thinks he is Johnny Cash. Dude, lighten up a bit, will ya?

I thought that the fake political campaign style ads for Best Actress and (especially) for Sound Editing were the most hilarious segments of the show.

harry near indy

time is the true judge of quality.

wait 20 years and see which of these movies you'd want to see.

harry near indy

addenum:

i meant to say "you'd want to see again. and again."

Greg

In addition to his Oscars and his wife's beautiful breasts, Paul Haggis also has the distinction of writing two consecutive Best Picture winners. I don't know if that's a first, but it's definitely unusual.

grishaxxx

No, Lance, you are not the only person who liked Cookie's Fortune - and it is now out on DVD, I believe (finally!).
That movie could stand as a dictionary illustration of, "easy-going," and there's hardly an unlikeable character in it (oh, maybe one, but...no spoilers). Its relative obscurity can only be attributed, IMO, to resistance to the idea that years of fishing with a friend tells you something about his character. Nobody trusts anybody any more; f%#king sad.

grishaxxx

And I just wrote my comment without reading the others; things are weird here, I am rushed.
Shake's is right about Crash's setting - would have been completely different Industry reaction if it had been set elsewhere. I moved to LA from Chicago, and it was like sailing into a fogbank.

Uma

Oy, you and your breasts, Lance.

Pepper

Holy macaroons. First thing I saw in the comments was the line about Telly Savalas naked. I'm going to go to bed with that burned into my skull! Goodness!

One last note - everything was so uptight. Joaquin Phoenix and Stoneface Ryan Philippe are perfect examples. Once I saw Three 6 Mafia's enthusiasm, I was right there with them. You go, Three 6 Mafia! Sure, I'm no fan of pimpin', big pimpin', little pimpin', pimpin' your hoes, or whatever it is the kids say these days, but those guys were - as Jon Stewart rightly noted - having a darned good time!

And "Stay Fly" from the Three 6 Mafia is a swell song.

Kevin Wolf

Lance, these are some of the best obsevations I've seen re this year's Oscar show.

...as if he wanted me to tell him that it was Diebold and not PricewaterhouseCoopers counting the votes this year. Funny!

Exiled in NJ

The Oscars were on in the family room when I arrived home and sat down to answer business emails after a day seeing idiots in Philadelphia. The awards are a glorified over-the-top Inside the Actor's Studio, minus the fawning James Lipton. Oscar Wilde's take on fox-hunting was spoken in the wrong century.

Anne Laurie

Reese Witherspoon seriously creeps me out, but so does Ryan Philippe (cue the ancient snark about "How fortunate that they found each other, thereby making two people miserable instead of four"). Actually, there was a photo from an earlier Vanity Fair Oscar party where the then-newlyweds managed to look simultaneously very glossy and very not-human, like visitors from the Glossy Planet. I never see either one mentioned without thinking of that image, both of them alert as well-trained golden retrievers but not nearly as sympathetic. Philippe's recent less-than-busy career may testify that Americans find this kind of non-humanity more appealing in females than males, but that's probably another issue altogether.

mas

"But I think the most likely explanation is that by giving Ang Lee the Oscar for Best Director the Academy was delivering their honest artistic judgment. Brokeback Mountain is a good a movie, very well directed and photographed and featuring some fine performances, all signs of excellent directing, but finally as a movie it was just a love story with an unhappy ending and nothing all that original, special, or "important," which is of course what people have been saying in its defense against the Right Wing homophobes. I was actually glad Crash won, because it ended the evening with a big surprise and it was fun to watch the cast and crew whooping it up. Like I said, they seemed to be having the best time."

I have to disagree. Even if it was just a love story with an unahppy ending, it was a great one at that, more honest and realistic than any other recent straight romances that have won the Oscar. And the lovers happened to be 2 men. I see that as being fairly original and special. Speaking as a straight female, it was the most beautiful movie I've seen in a very long time.

Oscar voting is predictable especially for Best Picture, check out the history. For a movie with an unprecedented alignment of industry & critical awards, plus the best box office of the nominees, the most nominations, to lose best picture is shocking. In terms of precursors, no movie in the position of Brokeback has lost and no movie in the position of Crash has won in the ENTIRE history of the awards. This, plus published reports of Academy members refusing to even see the movie because John Wayne would roll over in his grave, shows merit had nothing to with this year's result. (Yes, I do realize that it's really all about campaigning, but the result has never been as egregious as this). I'm a film buff and a person who finds prejudice despicable - I don't take pleasure in surprises in the vein of what happened this past Sunday.

mas

"But I think the most likely explanation is that by giving Ang Lee the Oscar for Best Director the Academy was delivering their honest artistic judgment. "

I don't think anybody believes that. Members seem to vote for what's leading (in precursors), for their friends, and maybe based on honest artistic judgment. Taking all this into account, Oscar voting history shows that the picture with the guild support, award support and box office always wins. Not that all Academy members just blindly vote on the favorite but that there is overlap in membership between guilds and the academy. And then to have critics support those same choices is gravy - this was how Brokeback rode into the Oscars. It's loss was unprecedented.

Not that it hasn't happened before, but it's always a little weird when Director doesn't match Picture.
I suspect there were a fair number of voters who felt a vote against Lee (who had won all precursors) would look really odd and didn't want to take a racist charge plus a homophobic charge. And if you think that's getting into tinfoil hat territory, there are published reports of members refusing to see the movie or saying they'd never vote for a "movie like that". And the PR firm hired for Crash's oscar campaign stated that they specifically employed this "split category" strategy.

sean

The oscars just get more and more pathetic each year. Picking Brokeback Mountain of course would have been typical enough--benign Academy supports love and men and cowpokes alike--but Crash, the dumbest, weakest, phoniest, of the five mediocrities on hand is even MORE typical because its supporters could delude themselves into believing that its politically incorrect pedigree proved the movie was a cold, candid examination of race. And really, when was the last time the Academy rendered any "honest artistic judgement" on anything? Nothing exists in their strata unless it "deals with issues" or "addresses themes" or plays the right benignly moderate self-satisfying notes. It's what keeps them coming back year after year

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