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the envelope please

the oscars were, i thought, a pretty good show last night. well organized, relatively quickly paced, some good funny bits.

oscar-winning dancing hos and pimps. it wasn’t very hard out there for pimps last night, unless you count being bleeped by the abc censors.

something for everyone.

jon stewart acquitted himself well, though he had an easy year to start in, with the slate of politically-oriented movies to riff on. still, i’m wondering if he’s not going to be more letterman than crystal when it comes to his hosting longevity. he had some really good lines, but his monologue was kinda painful to watch. the slow burn and the pregnant pause may work on “the daily show”, but at the oscars it comes across as dead air. he got better as the evening went on, though.

and of course i’m sure you know how upset i am that “brokeback mountain”, the first commercially successful gay love story, lost the best picture oscar to “crash”.

how upset am i? not at all upset, that’s how upset. i’ve been saying for months that i thought “crash” was the best movie i saw all year, though i didn’t have the foresight to put it in writing on the site, so you’ll just have to believe me. and i’m glad that “crash” won. it’s the best movie. i hope the academy members voted for it because it was the best movie, and not because they were voting with their wallets thinking that there would be a backlash from mainstream america.

i don’t think they did that, though, for the most part. i think they voted for the best movie.

i’m far more upset that philip seymour hoffman won for “capote”. i love philip seymour hoffman and have seen him live on broadway as well as in movies, and i really think he’s one of the best, if not the best, actors we have. but “capote” was not a stretch for him–it’s a role he could do in his sleep. it’s a very showy role, and was an interesting movie, but not his best work by a mile. i wanted heath ledger to win for “brokeback mountain”. he had to do far more with far less–his character, by definition, was quiet and introspective. so he had to get a lot done with nonverbal cues and few words, and boy did he do it. that’s superior acting, to me anyway.

and i’m sorry, and i’ll say up front that i haven’t seen “walk the line” so i won’t comment on her performance, but i can’t stand reese witherspoon. it was a weak year for female leads–in nearly any other year she would not have gotten the award by near-universal acclamation. i didn’t see felicity huffman’s performance either, but i have a feeling that the combination of being a woman and being in the third gay-themed movie they would have to honor by rewarding her was just too much for academy voters. i think they were comfortable with how far they went with rewarding “brokeback” and “capote” but wanted to give some major oscars to some commercially successful movies as well. that’s the politial spin version of how reese got the oscar, if you ask me.

and ms. witherspoon, or mrs. phillipe if you prefer, looked absolutely cadaverous. but then again, everyone else did as well. i’m not a makeup expert, but it was the first time i’d watched the oscars on hdtv, and i think they are still doing the makeup based on what people look like on regular old tv. george clooney looked like a raccoon, reese witherspoon looked like the aforementioned cadaver, and will ferrell and steve carrell looked like they were fresh from the set of “nightmare on elm street”.

ok, i know. that was the joke–they were supposed to look like that. but seriously, a lot of people looked odd–uneven bronzer, sallow complexions, and all. they need to work on that makeup thing.

and the dancing hos and pimps were just too much. i’m sure that in the context of the movie the song was appropriate, and i’m not saying that the song shouldn’t have won, because it was the best-written and most interesting of the three songs that were nominated. the other two put me to sleep frankly, except for the part where kirk and i debated how much surgical work dolly parton has had. but the dancing hos and pimps choreography was just way too over-the-top. it was rob lowe and snow white all over again, but worse. they should have just let the guys rap in front of the flaming cars, and given the dancers the night off.

but all in all, it was over at 11:15 which has to be a record. they started that music the moment the winner hit the stage, and they didn’t care who the hell you were, after so many seconds they went to the long shot and then to the commercial. good for them, kind of. do it for a couple of years, and winners will adjust to it.

unless they are a certified legend, in which case they have the right to ramble. robert altman rambled, and it was interesting. lauren bacall rambled, but it was kind of sad. i don’t know what her problem was, but she came off pretty addled.

reese witherspoon is a marginal winner in a bad year, and is in no way in legend territory. cut her off.

elaine stritch is a legendary legend. it was a crime when they cut her off at the tonys a few years ago. you get the idea. you have to use judgement, and someone at the switch needs to have an innate sense of what constitutes memorable tv. but in general, i like that they got the thing over and done with and not too far past my normal bedtime.

my rating of the show? 8 naked gold guys out of ten.

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