Hey, as Renee Shapiro said on KATV this morning, at the end of the day, we have to realize that the Oscars are simply a popularity contest, like when the popular people in high school were deciding if they were going to let you into their clique.
That was obvious last night in the Kodak Theatre among all present when Marty Scorcese finally won his Oscar for best director. Was "The Departed" his best film? Not by a longshot. Was it a good film? Yes, in a B-film giving a guilded touch by great direction and an ensemble of our best actors of today. But did it deserve "Best Picture"? I don't think so, but the plurality of voting members of the Academy thought otherwise. My choice: "Little Miss Sunshine." It ultimately may have been too small and indie for the Academy masses, or maybe the Scorcese Love filtered over into Best Picture as well. I don't think Best Director and Best Picture are synonymous awards, contrary to some in the movie debate. There are other areas outside the director's control, such as the STORY. And, again, this as a B-movie style story that had a wonderful sheen applied to make it an entertaining if unsettling film experience around the holiday season. And, thank you Marty for exposing more casual film fans to the wonderful actress Vera Farmiga. Among all that testosterone, Farmiga was more than simply eye candy, but what eye candy!
My top six picks were, best pic "Little Miss Sunshine"; best actor: Forest Whitaker; best actress: Helen Mirren (seriously, do you think she got 90 or 95 percent of the vote?); best supporting actor: Alan Arkin (well deserved, and at least proving that "Little Miss Sunshine" did get seen by plenty of Academy voters/actors, and Arkin was a sentimental favorite, while Eddie Murphy was not -- is it because he's so rich, or because he did "Norbit"); supporting actress: Cate Blanchett (I'm just a huge fan, and I failed to get on the "Dreamgirls" bandwagon as soon as everyone else, I guess). So, 4 or 6. Not Shapiro numbers (5 of 6, she missed on Arkin, which surprises me in that I thought she had said earlier she'd pick him).
We had a lot of fun, at last through the first 90 minutes watching the Oscars with the Movierogoer. He summed up the night in a running blog you can still read here, plus other recent movie news of interests to local readers.
Highlights for me were: Ellen Degeneres' calm and confident hosting of the show, I look for her to be back soon; the shadow dancers, as their images were done quickly; the intro of the show, the way the Best Pic clips were handled, with voiceover of the stars or directors; Jack and Dianne giving the Best Pic award; Steven, Francis and George Lucas giving the director's award; the classy acceptance speeches of Thelma Spoonuker (editing "The Departed") and Mirren, and the gracious and fun speech of Scorcese; the Clint Eastwood losing his place on the teleprompter. Lowlights: putting Ennio Morricone earlier in the show would have helped, and putting more of the music earlier with the awards we don't care about anyway would have helped. It's funny how they stretch out about 3 1/2 hours of time wasting and commercials, then reel off four big awards at the end with no break. They always do something head-scratchingly stupid in the awards show, but they they are there for the Academy (including its FX people) and not for us, and I didn't mind the Special Effects Choir as much as the rest of our watching party group. I have no idea what Will Smith was going on and on about, nor what it was he introduced and why it had to be shown in the last third of the show, and whatever it was Ben Affleck was out there to introduce also wasn't absorbed. Not sure what the love affair with Cameron Diaz being a presenter is anymore. Really disappointed "Cars" didn't beat out the critically lambasted "Happy Feet." Seems the fix was in there. Eddie Murphy also bolted after he didn't win supporting actor; guess he probably wishes it had been the first award given, in the traditional spot, instead of moved to the middle of the show, so he could get to partying sooner.