' ' Cinema Romantico: Logging the 85th Academy Awards

Monday, February 25, 2013

Logging the 85th Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are like life. ..... Woah, woah, woah! Where's everyone going?! Hear me out! Please! Trust me! I'll explain!

Generally all people do is complain about the Academy Awards but then generally all people do is complain about life. The master of ceremonies might have a big name and mean well but he/she has as many misses as hits. There is a lot of tedium and mild-to-extreme confusion (what was Kirk Douglas going on about?) that inevitably, perhaps when we least expect it, gives way to genuine meaning and beauty and sheer awesomeness. We sigh and we cry, we laugh and shake our heads. We champion things we like and get self-righteously pissed off about things we don’t. We wonder why the hell we care so much.

But Nick, you're saying, we don’t wear around crisp tuxedoes or glamorous dresses and we don't parade down red carpets and we don't hobnob with Brad & Angie and Ben & Jennifer and JLaw & JChas & JWeav & JPho. Well, no. We don't. But do you think the Academy Awards are just comprised of the people ABC lets you see? We're the people up in the nosebleeds with the ill-fitting rented tuxes. We're the people who drove our Hyundais to the show and had to park, like, 53 blocks away. We're the people asked to avoid the red carpet for fear we forgot to scrape the dog crap off our shoes. We're the second guy of the two guys who won for Best Sound Mixing who goes to say a few words after the first guy spoke only to hear the music rev up and find out the mic got cut and then get escorted off the stage. We're craft services, the set dressers, the boom operators, the people who take the Starbucks orders.

No, we are not movie stars, but we are the movie stars of our own lives and even the best nights of our lives had bad parts - we just choose to make like the late great Sally Menke and edit that all out. Oscar ain't perfect. But it's all right. Show a little faith. There's magic in the night.

The traditional Oscar Night Entire Bottle Of Wine. Thanks, Dad!
6:51: This year the part of the traditional Oscar Night Entire Bottle Of Wine will be played by a Lemelson Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley of Oregon gifted to me by my Dad as payment for our bet on last year's Nebraska/Iowa game. (Nebraska won 13-7. Did you remember that, Iowa friends? Just making sure. Because, you know, Nebraska has beat you now two years in a row in this thus far two year rivalry.) The first glass is poured.

7:00: Kristen Chenoweth is making stars on the red carpet guess what's inside a freaking box. As if these interviews couldn't be more awkward. My guess: Katie Holmes' old copy of "Battlefield Earth."

7:25: Kristen Chenoweth is absolutely out of control. And the rumor going around is that she's closing the show with host Seth MacFarlane in some sort of song & dance number. Isn't that like tagging a film with the onscreen death of a St. Bernard?

7:31: The show begins! Host Seth MacFarlane tells us the Oscars this year will have a "theme". I'm already worried.

7:38: Seth MacFarlane is now singing about boobs. Yeah. This is about what was I expecting.

7:42: I see what you're up to, Seth. His entire opening bit is akin to Meryl Streep winning Best Actress Oscar last year when she cut the whole world off at the pass by saying "I could hear half of America going 'Oh no.'" By doing this whole bit with William Shatner already telling him from the future what a terrible job he's done, he's attempting to cut our criticism off at the pass. Well played, MacFarlane.

7:48: Shailene Woodley up to present Best Supporting Actor - er, sorry. I meant, Octavia Spencer up to present Best Supporting Actor. (Not that I'm still bitter a whole year later.) Actual suspense. This is awesome.

7:51: During Christoph Waltz's warm & gracious acceptance speech for winning for "Django Unchained" they include a shot of Jack Nicholson in his trademark sunglasses. This seems appropriate. Apparently the Academy has as big a man crush on Christoph as they do on Jack.

"If you could kindly keep your caterwauling down to a minimum while I attempt to accept this Oscar."
7:52: Also, my Pick Six for "Silver Linings Playbook" in the six major categories? Crashed and burned on the first one. To quote Chris Parnell in "21 Jump Street": "You never won't know what you can't achieve until you don't achieve it." Remember that, kids.

8:00: MacFarlane makes a crack about George Clooney. We get no reaction shot. We're getting no reaction shots of the people he's banging on. Is it because the people he's banging on are so pissed the producers are scared? Or are the producers just idiots? Honestly, it's 50/50.

8:12: "Life of Pi" wins Best Visual Effects and then the producers try to play victor Bill Westenhofer off with the "Jaws" theme. Boldly, like Capt. Quint, he doesn't back down. They cut his mic. I believe Samuel L. Jackson would call that "some bullshit." But don't forget! We still have a Seth MacFarlane/Kristen Chenoweth song & dance number that needs those precious extra seconds!

8:43: Joaquin Phoenix's face is a tasty cocktail of disinterest and irritation. I wonder if perhaps he could host a future Academy Awards with James Franco? Would anyone else find this as funny as me? Yes? I'll assume yes.

8:46: "Searching For Sugar Man" wins Best Documentary. Love when producer Simon Chinn says Rodriguez (i.e. Sugar Man) did not attend the ceremony because "he didn't want to take any of the credit himself." One sentence perfectly encapsulates the character they portrayed. Then the "Jaws" theme fires up and Chinn more or less gets pulled away from the mic. Classy. But don't forget! We still have a Seth MacFarlane/Kristen Chenoweth song & dance number that needs those precious extra seconds!

8:49: "It's Sunday. Everybody's dressed up. This is like church. Except more people praying." Okay, MacFarlane. I'll give you that one.

8:51: "Amour" wins Best Foreign Language film.

8:54: An ode to the movie musical. God bless them, every one, but I'll be watching this instead.

9:06: My dear friends Nicolle & Andrea - whom I am tragically unable to watch the show with - text me that the best acceptance speech of the night was courtesy of (and I quote exactly) "The guy that looked like Thor from 'Adventures in Babysitting.'" Sigh. I miss those two.

Claudio Miranda, or Thor from Adventures in Babysitting, Best Cinematography for Life of Pi.
9:09: They had Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) & Uhura (Zoe Saldana) host the Scientific & Technical Awards? Seriously? That's boss. (Did I just say boss?)

9:14: Why.No.Reaction.Shots? I want to see what Joaquin Phoenix looks like when a freaking CGI teddy bear is blathering onstage!

9:15: An Oscar for "Zero Dark Thirty"! Paul N.J. Ottosson for Best Sound Editing! Suck it, McCain! (Note: It tied with "Skyfall.)

9:18: "We're all storytellers. We just tell our story through sound." - Karen Baker Landers, Best Sound Editing for "Skyfall"

9:23: Anne Hathaway wins Best Supporting Actress. Well, duh. Least suspense since Jules & "Erin B."

9:32: "Editors make so many of us look way better than we ever have the right to." - Sandra Bullock

9:36: Adele currently singing "Skyfall" theme. I fully expect that at this time in 365 days Lady Gaga will be singing the "Machete Kills" theme. Right?

9:43: Nicole Kidman. Straight class, baby.

Cinema Romantico's Best Dress of the Night goes to Nicole Kidman because this blog doesn't hide its biases. You go, girl.
9:48: Kristen Stewart & Daniel Radcliffe up to present Best Production Design. When Danny Boy throws it to KStew to list the nominees, Stewart is, like, bobbing to iPod earbuds that aren't in her ears - like only she can hear the Swedish House Mafia right now - and smiling like she just came from Woodstock. I honestly think that was my favorite moment of the night so far.

9:53: Honorary Oscars. I can't wait until the year (2022?) when the Academy finally just shuns the Honorary Oscar winners to the Long John Silvers next door.

10:12: Best Original Song. But what I want to discuss is how when watching "Silver Linings Playbook" earlier today for the 3rd time I realized that the brief montage featuring "Always Alright" by Alabama Shakes includes a quick shot of Bradley Cooper jogging past a train track at which point you hear a train whistle without seeing a train - as if to suggest Cooper's mind is moving like a freight train. I love, love, love how the best movies open up more and more and more on multiple viewings. Don't you? (Oh. Adele won. But, like, you know, obviously.)

10:24: Best Adapted Screenplay to Chris Terrio for "Argo." Dude gives a nice concise speech.

10:28: Best Original Screenplay to Quentin Tarantino, damn near 20 years since he last won for "Pulp Fiction." I was rooting hard for Mark Boal for "ZDR" but Q.T.'s Q.T. and I liked how he honored the competition - original and adapted. "This is the writers' year," he says. Baby, every year is the writers' year. It's just that everyone else doesn't know it.

10:35: Best Director. Uh...... Well, Ang Lee probably deserved it for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" 12 years ago, so..............................more wine, anyone?

10:42: Best Actress. Jennifer Lawrence. A glorious moment and then......she falls on the way up the stairs. I get the sense that all anyone will ever talk about when it comes to Lawrence's Best Actress win (until she wins her second Best Actress Oscar when she's - let's say - 38) is the fall. ("Oscar Is A Trip For Jennifer Lawrence" writes The Associated Press. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) But you know, that's us. You, me, any of us. If any of us somehow in some alternate universe won an Oscar, we would fall on our way up the steps. Jennifer Lawrence has risen so fast because in every role - indie or franchise - she has seemed real. And I'll be damned if she didn't make winning an Oscar seem real too.

Fall. No Fall. She's your 2012 Best Actress. She deserves it. That's all that matters.
10:45: Seth MacFarlane: "Our next presenter needs no introduction." He then walks offstage as Meryl Streep enters. Literally, MacFarlane's best moment of the night.

10:47: Meryl announces Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master." He is chewing gum and shakes his head, as if to say, "Naaaaaaah. I coulda done better." Seriously. Why weren't we getting reaction shots of him all night?

10:48: Meryl says "And the Oscar goes to Daniel Day Lewis" without even opening the envelope. (Okay, she probably opened it before but symbolically it was just right.) And Daniel's bit about playing Margaret Thatcher and Meryl playing Abraham Lincoln was the funniest part of the night (yes, including the host).

10:49: Okay. So. "Last of the Mohicans" is my all time favorite movie. I visited the places where it was filmed. The formation of my movie obsession and this blog essentially commenced when I saw it in the summer of 1993, twenty years ago. Every time I sit down to write on my laptop this is the view directly to my right. Winning the Oscar tonight for "Lincoln", which he richly deserved, makes him the first male ever to win three Best Actor Oscars. The only one who stands above him is Katharine Hepburn who won four Best Actress Oscars. Did you read that? Katharine.Hepburn. This is to say, Daniel Day Lewis has entered air so rarefied only Katharine Hepburn has breathed it. We are living and watching a true legend. We bitch and moan so much about nothing much......please, for the love of Christ, let's stop for just a second and appreciate that we are here for Daniel Day Lewis.

Daniel Day Lewis & Katharine Hepburn stand alone.
10:54: Only Michelle Obama could get Jack (Nicholson) to act appropriately.

11:00: "Argo" wins Best Picture. Good for Ben Affleck. He gives a nice speech and the words to his wife (Jennifer Garner) are just lovely. But, as sometimes happens, like with Natalie Portman a couple blessed years ago, I'm not paying much attention at this point.

I'll remember this as the night of Best Actress & Best Actor. Young/Old. Great/Greater. It's funny....when this year started I had every doubt in the world about "Lincoln" and it totally proved me a moron and I didn't know "Silver Linings Playbook" even existed and it wound up my favorite movie of the year. What did William Goldman say? Ah yes. "Nobody knows anything." I can't wait to see what hits me in 2013. All I know is that I know it won't be what I think it's going to be. That's the best part.


Anonymous said...

"No, we are not movie stars, but we are the movie stars of our own lives and even the best nights of our lives had bad parts - we just choose to make like the late great Sally Menke and edit that all out. Oscar ain't perfect. But it's all right. Show a little faith. There's magic in the night."

You're such a gifted writer. It just clicks with me and probably a lot of other people as well. Just wanted to let you know that. You've got Star quality. Cheers!

Nick Prigge said...

Well, I ripped off the last half of that sentence from Bruce Springsteen but......the first half is mine!

Nevertheless, thank you very much, Jessica. Coming from you that means a lot. I really, really appreciate it.

Lexi said...

This is all so fantastic! That really would've been amazing to see the expression on Joaquin Phoenix's face during the talking bear deal, damn, seriously! And also.. when I heard MacFarlane's bit about the Oscars being like church, I instantly thought of you.

Alex Withrow said...

The reaction shot (or lack thereof) was something I was genuinely curious about. Much of a joke payoff is all about the reaction, but… nothing.

8:46, this sums up my thoughts perfectly. Don’t let people ramble on for 7 minutes, but Jesus, give them their 2 minutes in the spotlight. Lose one “precious” musical number or tribute, and let people enjoy their moment.

10:12, funny, I just noticed the exact same thing when I rewatched the movie before the Oscars. Loved that.

Loved this post man, great, sardonic wrap up!

Nick Prigge said...

Lexi: Dave and I were discussing last night that there should have just been a Joaquin Phoenix Cam the whole show.

Alex: I know different people want different things from the Oscars but my favorite part has always been the acceptance speeches and it just frustrates me that they cut them so short for certain people, in the midst of the most memorable moments of their lives, so they can squeeze in an ode to Chicago.

And yeah, the reaction thing is just...weird. Something so basic not handled properly.