Friday, March 26, 2010

Get ready for Oscar... 2011.

Yes it's official movie fans, just like two year long election campaigns and 24 hour news cycles, you can now wait in breathless anticipation for nearly a year before the next Oscar show which will officially happen on Feb. 27th of 2011.
Can't handle staring at movie trailers for that long? We didn't think so, so long overdue, here are some of our impressions, in appropriately random order, of the 2010 ceremony before it fades too far in your memories...

Not many of the comic bits have stayed with us but we did enjoy hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. If you sat through the show with a stop watch (and there were times when we felt like we should have) you'd realize that for all of the hype the Academy makes of who gets honored with hosting duties, hosts don't really get all that much screen time. There was one comic standout though that lingers, unpleasantly, in the memory. Let's just say that we'd encourage Ben Stiller's friends, loved ones and management to urge Ben to skip the ill-conceived and unfunny bits next year and just present an award. Blue, as it turns out, is very definitely not Ben's color.

A word about fashion - our top three, argue the order all you want - Sandra Bullock, Demi Moore and Cameron Diaz. A second word - the most inane television produced in the 21st century are the fashion segments covering the Oscars.

Were we the only ones to notice that the Oscars' telecast's, usually excellent production values, were marred by all things, with apparently out-of-phase audio (causing a hollow and compressed sound), during of all things, the video sequence for sound editing and mixing? Guess they'll be no tech Emmys awarded to the Oscars.

For all of the work that's been done to reenergize and enliven the telecast, and finally getting some seriously funny talent as hosts (Martin is a keeper for as long as he would accept), the whole affair is still extraordinarily boring, even to the most avid movie fans.

We said it last year (when the idea debuted) and we'll say it again, we love having Best Actor and Best Actress nominees presented by their peers who know them and who have worked with them. It may be akin to having the next door neighbor introduce the town's Best Plumber, but it works and we love it. Add the idea to presenting the Best Directors too.

In general, the video sequences and montages presented throughout the show were the worst in our memory of the Oscars. Poorly edited, badly presented and often straying far from their topic (Who really considers Jaws or Young Frankenstein a 'horror" movie?) or containing blatantly obvious omissions (the exclusion of Farrah Fawcett, with 14 feature films to her credit, during the "In Memoriam" video was inexcusable), segment producers for these videos should be banned from ever working for the Academy again. Awful. The comic video sequences featuring Martin and Baldwin fared only marginally better.

Some producer should go back into the telecast video and take a look at Keanu Reeves on stage. We have just one thought - cast this guy in a Rod Serling biopic.

Quentin Tarantino needs to be adopted as the national spokesperson for "the Association of American college Fraternities and General Disregard for Etiquette". Yet another reason we like this guy.

Oprah Winfrey bought into a share of Precious (incidentally, is it too much to ask to just call a movie by its name without mentioning its source material each time? "Push by Sapphire" - we get it already) and shows up on the Oscars referring to "our" movie. Writing checks makes you an investor not a filmmaker. It's the Oscars Oprah, not some product giveaway on your TV show, let the people who actually made the movie enjoy THEIR moment.

We loved Jeff Bridges nod to his folks, we loved that a great small movie and its director were honored and not that the Oscar for directing went to a woman - it went to a great director. We love knowing from Sandra Bullock that Meryl Streep is a great kisser, though we've always suspected as much, and we're delighted that a great film, Inglourious Basterds was honored for it's most incredible ingredient, Christoph Waltz as Best Supporting Actor.

And finally we make this observation. This is a big show with a very big stage. That stage, indeed, is the very center of attention from the moment the audience at the Kodak theater stride toward their seats. The audience, we would venture to say, has more than the average amount of time spent in the glare of bright lights and cameras. Then how could it be so impossibly difficult to find that enormous stage and the proper stairs to the podium when your name gets called? Actors! You gotta love 'em.

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