Sitting there watching the Academy Awards this year, I couldn’t help but think it was a little thrown together. You might have noticed this as well, with some very tight edits, horrible audio on all the nominated songs and the amateur feel throughout. However, there were several saving graces this year including the sincerely funny Jon Stewart. The highlight of the evening for me was when he ushered on Marketa Irglova, who won best original song for "Falling Slowly" from the small film Once, after she was cut off entirely by the "piss off" music they use to keep to time constraints.
There were more shining moments such as Marion Cottillard’s honest and passionate thank you speech where she was almost lost for words after her surprise Best Actress win, Javier Bardem’s dedication to his mother in Spanish, Producer Scott Rudin of No Country for Old Men thanking his partner for helping him win the Oscar, the realization of a true rags to riches story in Diablo Cody who won her gong for Best Original Screenplay, 98 year old legendary production designer Robert Boyle with a 100% coherent and elegant speech and finally Katherine Heigl’s admission of nervousness as she presented an award. ”This is my first time” she said, and she wasn’t the only one.
There were many happy and emotional moments in the program, but several that also caused anger, namely, the omission of Whoopi Goldberg in the presenter’s montage and that of Brad Renfro in the dedication to the dead. I blame both on a hastily slapped together Oscars rather than an intentional snub. However, it’s great to see that so many noticed both and it is this, and not an inclusion in a montage, that honors them.
My personal opinion got in the way as Atonement lost one award after another yet scored with the score, and Transformers lost out to The Golden Compass in visual effects. My No Country for Old Men sweep worked out as predicted, and I’m only disappointed that Atonement was passed over for Best Picture as I believe it was the best overall film of the year albeit, just barely.
I really enjoyed this year’s Academy Awards, and while I didn’t agree with some of the winners or nominees, I still had fun watching it. I think they did a great job with the little preparation time they had and addressed some important issues such as the writer’s strike and the upcoming 2008 election. I know that the Academy Awards are really just a pretentious hollow ceremony that has much more power and influence than it should. Yet, at the same time, the dreams that teeter with every “And the winner is” remain contagious and meaningful as anything can be. I’ll be there when Oscar turns 81, and as we share our birthday, I’ll be sitting there dreaming too.
PS Was it just me or is George Clooney looking more and more like Bela Lugosi? Maybe his latest role is that of Dracula or a cancer patient??? Aww he looked way more pasty on the tv!