Monday, February 26, 2007

"We're talented and/or pretty"

Dunno why, but I like this photo. An unlikely crew at some post-ceremony sh*tfest. I can't wait for the day when I'm over the Oscars. But I ain't yet. So, here's a rundown on the ceremony, which was long, yes, but let's get over ourselves. No one is holding a gun to your head and telling you to watch. Just go to bed if you're sick of it.

Hottest winner: Ari Sandel, who won for his live action short, West Bank Story. And a good speech, too.

Best dressed: Milena Canonera, costume designer for Marie Antoinette. I was thinking before the show, "Why don't more women wear tuxes to these things?" And I loved how she thanked Hugh Hudson and "my great master," Stanley Kubrick.

If you want to hear something really funny, click here and then scroll down and hit the Audio Slide Show on the left hand side. "JENNIFER! THE BACK OF THE DRESS! I NEED TO SEE THE BACK OF THE DRESS!" Who is that woman? We're a strange species.

I'm still angry about the abbreviated performance clips for the acting categories. Hey, I've got an idea: Get rid of pointless swill like Michael Mann's absurd "America!" montage. And maybe start the show at 8, not 8:30.

Funny guy: George Lucas, who was pitch-perfect in his sad-sackness opposite Coppola and Spielberg, who are each 100 times the filmmaker he is. Also, his hair is astonishing. Also, Will Sasso as Lucas on MADtv.

Of note: The Departed is the antithesis of the typical Oscar best picture. It is bloody and cynical, with no uplift or redemptive statement about the human condition. Even The Silence of the Lambs (arguably the darkest best picture) had something rallying to say about femininity, which wrested itself from the chokehold of misogyny in the film's climactic sequence. The previous 78 best picture winners either said "People are good" or "Some people are good." The Departed is the first best picture to say, flat-out and with force, "People are sons of bitches." Am I right?

This will be updated with more thoughts throughout the day.


Anonymous said...

The previous 78 best picture winners either said "People are good" or "Some people are good."

I think this is definitely an overstatement. To wit....

French Connection features a vile, racist, son-of-a-bitch protagonist who's difficult to root for (plus, he fails in the end).

Godfather Pt. II is unsparingly bleak, climaxing with the main character murdering his brother without a shred of remorse.

Chicago ends with two acquitted murderesses dancing a victory jig.

Chicago might be a stretch, though I'd still argue that it's still less redemptive and cynical than The Departed, whose "bad guy" does get destroyed in the end (an invention over Infernal Affairs), thus restoring order to the universe.

J.J. said...

Good points. Thanks for this comment.

I'd argue about Michael Corleone's level of remorse at the end of Part II. I think there's definitely a shred.

The French Connection ends badly for our bad protagonist, but I never really got the feeling that it existed purely to say, "We're all sons of bitches." The Departed comes right out and says it with a slick, juicy suavity: we're no better than rats. And isn't Roy Scheider kind of a redemptive figure in Connection? Although I guess you could say Martin Sheen was a decent guy in The Departed.

Perhaps my logic doesn't hold up. But I still think it's a pretty amazing pick for AMPAS over very safe, best picture-y fare like Iwo Jima and Babel.

J.J. said...

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