Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Post-Mortem

Another Oscar Night is done and the final count is Doug: 12, Oscar: 6. That's 67% - about par for me. Of those six misses, a few were genuine surprises, such as Visual Effects going to The Golden Compass. The Best Actress and Art Direction races were close and I don't feel bad about missing them. No Country's win for Best Picture was predicted by many prognosticators, but I let my personal opinion sway my choice there. My only regret is switching my picks in the Sound categories from The Bourne Ultimatum to Transformers. It was a dumb move, and it could have upped my average significantly. On the bright side, I correctly picked six of the eight top categories (75%!) and once again beat Entertainment Weekly, who only scored 55% accuracy.

I think the broadcast was okay, especially since a lot of it was put together at the last minute. This was the 80th Oscars, so you'd think they would do something really special (something other than the tired "every living Acting Oscar winner on stage at the same time" roll-call that they did for the 70th and 75th Oscars). Instead, it was pretty low-key, with a series of montages from past ceremonies and a clip from all 79 previous winners. Jon Stewart did a nice job and had some funny improvised lines - I especially liked the bit about Cate Blanchett's acting range.

Some other notable things about the 2008 Oscars: The Best Picture winner won the most awards (4), but the second-most-winning movie was The Bourne Ultimatum with three wins in the technical categories. Also, for the first time, perhaps ever, the Best Song Oscar actually went to the best song.

And now some superlatives:

Best Dressed: George Clooney was born to wear a tux. He just can't do it wrong. Apart from that, Jennifer Garner's curvy black fishtail number was great and, speaking of fish, Marion Cotillard's scale-pattern white gown by Jean-Paul Gotiller was just perfect. I'm also a fan of Nicole Kidman's dress, draped with diamonds. One of the more controversial looks was Tilda Swinton. Sure, it was a shapeless black bag, but she has a distinctive, modern style and her pale skin, shock of red hair, and angular features really made it work for me.

Worst Dressed: Conversely, Diablo Cody's shapeless leopard dress was not flattering. Yes, she has a "quirky" 80's style and proudly showed off her pinup tattoo, but there was a better way to go. Cameron Diaz's dress was nice, but maybe could have been better in a different color. And if it had the wrinkles steamed out. The absolute worst, though, was the one-two punch of Daniel Day-Lewis and his wife. Let's start with her. Her gown was lumpy, had incongruous red ribbon straps, and - worst of all - was festooned down the front with absurdly over sized clusters of crystals. She could probably power the Enterprise with that gown. As for Mr. Day-Lewis, we should go from the top down. First, there's the floppy rat's nest of hair. Then there is the pair of pirate-style hoop earrings. Then, we come to the tux with rounded lapels (never a good look) and weird brown piping (yeesh!). Finish it off with brown boots and you have one of the worst-dressed men in memory.

Best Hair: Again, I liked Jennifer Garner's tousled up-swept do. I also liked Tilda Swinton's hair. Very modern. In addition, it was good to see Javier Bardem with a normal men's haircut and I have to mention Clooney again for his perfect, dignified gray.

Worst Hair: Okay, I'll just say it. Did John Travolta look weird to anyone else? Did his hair look a little too perfect? Like a sprayed-on helmet?

Best Acceptance Speech: It could have been Marion Cotillard or Diablo Cody's tearful speeches, but my pick goes to Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, winners for Best Song. Their speeches were so heartfelt, sincere, and grateful, that Jon Stewart took time to let Irglová back on stage to finish. Another great moment was Daniel Day-Lewis kneeling before Dame Helen Mirren, as if being knighted by the Queen. I also enjoyed Joel Cohen's speech - which he gave twice - a simple "thank you" and he let his brother Ethan take the mic.

Worst Acceptance Speech: I know he's a million years old and the guy invented art direction or something, but there should be a time limit on the honorary award acceptance speeches.

Best Irony: The award for Documentary Short went to a film about gay marriage and was presented by members of the U.S. military.

Best Presenter: It seems too easy to pick Tom Hanks, but it fits. There it is.

Worst Presenter: Oh, there's a list. Jennifer Hudson's delivery was so stiff and mannered, I have to wonder how she won an Oscar for acting. I suspect Colin Ferrell might have had a drink or two before the show. He slid on the stage, walked back, and did it again. Odd. Steve Carrell's Office-esque banter with Anne Hathaway is getting tired, but Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill's faux-bickering was annoying and time-consuming. Then there's Jerry Seinfeld, presenting Best Animated Short as his Bee Movie alter-ego. When will the producers learn that animated characters presenting awards isn't cute or clever?


So there it is - another Oscar Night down! I hope you had as much fun reading this blog as I did writing it! I'll send an e-mail to friends and family before next year's Oscar season about my next blog, and if you stumbled on to this blog somehow, check back in December for more. Thanks!

-Doug

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