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Oscars roundup: Shock and yaawwwnnnnn…

February 26, 2007

You knew who the Oscars were going to. You just knew it. So why watch this 232-minute spectacular? 

Yeah, they say only the accountants at PriceWaterhouse know for sure, but it’s rather interesting that:

  1. Oscar statueThey had Leonardo DiCaprio, an avid celebrity environmental champion, do a bit with Al Gore, who was likely going home with an Oscar as the odds-on favorite for Best Documentary with “An Inconvenient Truth” (he later won…a whopping 93% favorite to do so)
  2. They had the dynamic director trio of Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas present the Best Directing Oscar, which was likely going to odds-on (and sentimental) favorite Martin Scorsese for “The Departed”, which also won Best Picture.
    Great moment, even though it was on AFTER MIDNIGHT on the East Coast.

OK, just maybe someone read my post earlier this week… 🙂

The online options markets at InTrade and Hollywood Stock Exchange picked all but one Oscar winner, missing Alan Arkin’s upset over Eddie Murphy for Best Supporting Actor (only 27% chance to win on InTrade). We’ll have to see if those choices carried the office Oscar contest…

Some other quick thoughts after the jump…

  • Good showing by Pan’s Labyrinth! … the best movie no one has seen (I’ll get the DVD). The Mexican fantasy film took three Oscars (art direction, makeup, and cinematography), but failed to win the Best Foreign Film award.
  • Another surprise: “Happy Feet” beat “Cars” for Best Animated Feature. No surprise that, in a year where Al Gore’s documentary on global warming wins two Oscars, a movie about Antarctic penguins threatened by “big oil” takes the top prize.
    Conservative commentator Glenn Beck mentioned in the past that the film hid its propaganda well, not even mentioning the pro-activism plot in the marketing.
    It almost makes you want to choke on the complimentary champagne in your “green” hydrogen-powered limo. But hey, free champagne! More please!
  • The show, again, was WAY TOO LONG! In the end, the top four award (picture, actor, actress and director) were stuffed into the show’s final 20 minutes, all after midnight on the East Coast.
    Can we please move some of the technical awards (sound, mixing, costumes, set design, etc.) to the non-televised portion of the awards to save on time? Or else, please start the ceremony at 7 p.m. instead of 8:30 p.m., so we all don’t look like zombies in the morning. Brraaaaains! Coooofffeeee! Dooooughnuts!
  • Best line of the night came from the former vice-president and current environmentalist-in-chief (from AP … video here):

    Gore appeared with best-actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio to praise organizers for implementing environmentally friendly practices in the show’s production.

    DiCaprio set up a gag with Gore, asking the 2000 presidential candidate if there was anything he wanted to announce.

    “I guess with a billion people watching, it’s as good a time as any. So my fellow Americans, I’m going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce my intentions …,” Gore said, his voice trailing away as the orchestra cut him off.

  • Congrats to Jennifer Hudson, for showing that America can’t be the ultimate arbiter of talent. She goes from American Idol reject to Academy-Award-winner for her role in Dreamgirls. And she outsang Beyonce on the Oscars stage in the medley of nominated songs from the movie. Good on you, Jennifer!
  • The comedian song-and-dance segment starring Will Ferrell and Jack Black wasn’t that bad (video here).
  • If you’re Kevin O’Connell, I’m sorry man! Twentieth time’s the charm, right?
    From the AP:

    • The record holder for Oscar futility, sound engineer Kevin O’Connell, extended his losing streak to 19 nominations without a win. This time, O’Connell and two colleagues were nominated for sound mixing on “Apocalypto,” Mel Gibson’s portrait of the savage decline of the ancient Mayan empire, but they lost to another trio of sound engineers that worked on “Dreamgirls.””Apocalypto” lost in all three categories in which it was nominated, all for technical achievements.

  • If you missed the somewhat-entertaining Apple iPhone commercial tucked in the show last night, go see it on Apple’s site now. Or watch it here.
  • And finally, the reviews for the show are downright nasty, and well-deserved in my opinion:

    Tom Shales: “Alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) a bore and a horror, the 79th annual Academy Awards, televised live from Los Angeles on ABC, had a few bright spots to keep weary viewers propping their eyes open as midnight approached — even if they had never heard of, much less seen, many of the nominated films.”

    Nikky Finke: Where the monologue and the commentary ignored topical jokes ranging from Bald Britney to that other dead blonde bimbo, Anna Nicole Smith. As a friend emailed me, “this was like a Reagan era show.” That was the low-tech level of this year’s broadcast. Which makes me wonder in disbelief why the very rich Oscar telecast seriously stinted on tonight’s production values. Did Bernie The Accountant abscond with the show’s hefty budget? It was lacking in razzle-dazzle. It had no trash and flash. Halfway through this snore-fest, ABC was about to voluntarily pay the FCC $500,000 just to make Beyoncé’s boob pop out. …
    In summary, it was the night that the Academy finally killed off what used to be its show-stopper of a movie awards. The problem is that I and the rest of America are the ones who bear the scars of Oscars tonight, while Hollywood skips out the next morning to the doctor’s office for an emergency round of Botox.

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