Sunday, February 24, 2008

'No Country' is big winner but Oscars felt lackluster

“No Country for Old Men” (four awards, including best pic and directors) and local Oscar prognosticator chris-brad were tonight’s big winners.

My celebrity guests were pretty excited about the outcome. The only minor surprise was Marion Cotillard winning best actress for “La Vie En Rose,” and that moment got the biggest cheer at Kent Oscar HQ. (Besides the mere appearance of George Clooney. We had a superfan in the house and she went crazy!)

The ceremony wasn’t very exciting for me, however. I obviously didn’t care for Jon Stewart – some will certainly disagree. He wasn’t helped by the show’s production value, which was lackluster. It felt as if the show’s producers didn’t know what to do with this crop of films. In recent past years, they’ve presented each film in clip segments throughout the night. Tonight, if memory serves me right, they simply skipped the segments and gave more weight to the other categories.

While I appreciate the idea behind it – the ceremony is about everyone winning, not just one category – it didn’t make for a very entertaining or suspenseful show. I point to the final moment when Joel and Ethan Coen walked from backstage back to the podium for best pic after they received their best director(s) award. Their stroll seemed inevitable. Lifeless. Subdued. The house/crowd didn't appear or sound to be really invested or excited about their triumph, and that's a shame.

"No Country" is a really great film, but I don't think this night will excite people to see it.

I enjoyed watching the show, because it gives me a great opportunity to invite friends (uh, I mean celebs) and share food and conversation. But if you ask me in two weeks about the ceremony itself, I don’t think I’ll remember much of what was said. No great speeches and a just a couple of very classy moments: Daniel Day-Lewis’ speech for best Oscar was gracious and Jon Stewart ushering best song co-winner Markéta Irglová back on stage after the break so she could give props to struggle artists everywhere.

Congrats again to chris-brad who picked 15/24 right to my 14/24. Noma also posted 9 picks and predicted 4 correctly. (Did I get the count right?)

Other than that, it’s time for bed. At the very least, we all got to share a moment in time to celebrate some great films, and we had milkshakes.

What do you remember most about the ceremony? What award made you the happiest? The maddest?


thingything said...

re: milkshakes - I don't know if I'm just the last one to see this, but I think it's fascinating!


Speaking of Day-Lewis and his all-consuming turn as a turn-of-the-century oilman in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, where did that whole maniacal "I drink your milkshake!" speech come from at the end of the film?

Turns out that it came from the Congressional Record - from a 1924 hearing in the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal.

"You can't make this stuff up, honestly," says Anderson, who adapted Upton Sinclair's Oil! - inspired in part by the exploits of Teapot Dome-tainted petro-king Edward Doheny - and spent years researching the era, before filming Blood in Texas in 2006.

"I read the transcripts of the congressional hearings," the writer-director says, "and all these guys had to defend their honor and describe what drainage was. There was essentially a lot of shady stuff going on, and there was drainage going on from the U.S. naval fields, these reserve fields that had been set aside for the U.S. Navy.

"Anyway, I don't remember who it was - maybe it was [New Mexico senator] Albert Fall - but someone had to get up there and describe what drainage was, and his way of describing it was to say, 'Sir, if you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and my straw reaches across the room, I'll end up drinking your milkshake.'

"It was more or less like that," says Anderson, who reworked the speech into the crazed lecture delivered by Day-Lewis. "But just the idea that somebody would be describing it as a milkshake was so absurd, I thought that's too good to pass up!"

Noma said...

I never thought that Tilda Swinton would win Best Supporting Actress, although she has been a favorite of mine since her Orlando days. I'm very glad I got that one wrong.

Chris Jay said...

Honestly, the kids from "Once" gave the best speeches of the night. They were just so damned honest and cute, and Stewart gets a gold star by his name for bringing Marketa out even though she's a completely unknown Czech songwriter. I just wanted to give them both a hug.

Baily said...

I completely agree Chris. That was the one moment where Jon Stewart showed he could be a class act. I loved Tilda's acceptance speech. Anyone who could embarrass Clooney like that at the Oscars is great in my book.

I was very happy for all the winners. Even though I didn't pick all the right ones, I think this year the Academy got it right.

Anonymous said...

You know, with the crop of films that were up for the big awards I am really not shocked that the show was more lack than luster. But we all agree Stewart went a long way in redeeming himself by allowing Marketa to give her speech. Like I said in a previous thread, that was classy.

Anonymous said...