2/23/09 Random thoughts on the Oscars…the good and the bad.


As always I recorded the Oscars so I could time shift through the breaks, that eliminates the biggest complaints most people have…the show is always too long, tries to do too much and has too many commercials.

First, the host. Like many people I was surprised by the selection of the Australian performer Hugh Jackman, but given the fact that it is increasingly such an international event decided to just wait and see. Jackman is clearly a talented actor/ singer (and dancer) and did a professional job. I saw no real mistakes and he seemed at ease in the role. All in all, not a bad selection…clearly not the best host ever but we’ve had worse. As a fan of the show I remain neutral on Jackman… wouldn’t bother me to see him back next year. Wouldn’t bother me to see him replaced either.

I liked the “actor-to-actor” idea where former Oscar winners in the supporting and best actor categories speak briefly to each nominee. Some of these speeches were intimate and touching, and some were wooden and seemed to have been written for them, but with ten gifted actors speaking to ten others the potential for something special is always there. It’s a formula I hope will be kept in the show going forward.

I’ve always been a huge Sophia Loren fan, a beautiful, talented, sexy woman…but at 74, (how can I say this) I think you are more beautiful if your fashion choices are just a bit more reserved. For a split second I thought she had been replaced by a cross-dresser.

It also occurred to me that seeing Penelope Cruz win for best supporting actress and Nicole Kidman on stage as a presenter, that of all the visible women Tom Cruise has dated, he may have married the least talented.

Best dress…Kate Winslett, simple, beautiful off the shoulder look. The dress wasn’t the star, it complimented the star.

Worst dress…Jessica Biel, what was that…an air bag on the front?

I loved Kate Winslett’s call out for her Dad to whistle so she could find him in the crowd. It was spontaneous and worked! It also thought that call and response told us all we needed to know about their special relationship. She was classy in her thanks to her husband and children and to the other best actress nominees. But what was that tug on her right ear all about? Was that a secret signal to someone, or is that just me wandering off for a moment?

The one thing I hated about the show was in the Memoriam segment. I thought Queen Latifah did an excellent job on the song, but I hated the way the show’s producers decided to put the pictures of those who died in tiny little windows instead of full screen. In some cases you couldn’t get a real look at them or read what they did before the image faded. It seems to me that anybody who spent a lifetime contributing to the film industry deserves at least a moment on the big screen, not minimized for some silly ass effect.

I thought Sean Penn was eloquent, funny and politically effective… getting his message out without hammering the audience with it, and acknowledging that in the past he’s give people plenty of reasons not to like him. I thought he was classy in his nod to Mickey Rourke who this year could have easily been up there nodding to him. I was disappointed that he didn’t acknowledge his beautiful wife…hopefully an oversight and in no way intentional.

Finally, I’ll admit that one reason I was pulling for Mickey Rourke was to see what the hell he would say on network TV (I’m sure the ABC censors were relieved to hear Sean Penn’s name). Rourke did give one of the most memorable speeches ever (for better or worse) just a couple of nights before when he won best actor at the Spirit awards. Here’s the link: