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More Oscar, with Some Wrapping-Up Comments

By admin Published: February 25, 2007

Since my notes from earlier appear to have disappeared -- and thanks for the tip, George, but I haven't found anything -- I'm just going to post from here on (just after Little Miss Sunshine got original screenplay) and revisit the earlier stuff later.

Jennifer Lopez's introduction includes her being "an excellent reason for high-definition television." How ... patronizing.

"Dreamgirls" movie cast for the nominated songs. J-Hud's trying a little too hard. Still glad about her Oscar, still wondering what she's going to do for a follow-up role.

Enter Beyonce. She's playing nice. Then she performs "Listen." Her big song in the movie, but Hudson's singing it with her. And I'd take a CD of Hudson doing it right now. But Beyonce gets to finish it solo.

Then we get "Patience." But not from Eddie.

Travolta and Queen Latifah. Original song. Melissa Etheridge wins for the song from "An Inconvenient Truth." "Dreamgirls" can't win in spite of three nominations in the category. Of course, the best song in the movie wasn't eligible for an Oscar.

Etheridge is probably glad she figured out that rhyme for "inconvenient truth." And is this Al Gore's night or what? Too bad the academy voters weren't on the Supreme Court.

Nicely done piece about politics and movies, although I have to wonder how American Dreamz was considered worthy.

The Departed wins for film editing.

Jodie Foster kind of moving in introducing the Parade Of Moviemakers Who Are Now Deceased.

Helen Mirren wins best actress. Not a surprise, and she's a class act.

Best actor. Forest Whitaker. Another no-surprise. Whitaker has prepared his speech, but it's a good one. A very good one.

Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola present best director. Sure feels like Scorsese's night. And .... it is, at last. The Departed is not my favorite Scorsese by a long shot, but I'm glad he won't have to listen to any more never-won stuff.

The Departed also takes best picture. And it's already on DVD.

Overall assessment: The thing is still too long. As I said in my piece for tomorrow's Beacon Journal, Hollywood just refuses to do a TV-friendly telecast. That's especially weird in a year like this when the TV ties to the winners are so strong: Whitaker was just on "ER," Mirren had "Elizabeth I," Hudson came from "American Idol," Arkin had "100 Centre Street." Not to mention that your host, Ellen DeGeneres, is fundamentally a TV personality. (Yes, she has done movies. But TV is her best medium.) And I liked Jerry Seinfeld making clear that he was NOT there because of his movie history.

But as long as things like costume design have to get air time, as long as there's a sense that even minor categories need credibility-reinforcing essays during the telecast, this is not going to be a short show. Or a good one. The greedheads rule.

As for winners right and wrong, I just haven't seen enough movies to say that justice was or wasn't served. Whitaker's been a really good actor forever. Ditto Mirren. Arkin was indeed fine in "Sunshine," but Eddie was really good in "Dreamgirls" -- and now has been told by the academy not to bother. Fine, he'll go make a pile for "Norbit 2" instead. And Jennifer Hudson just tore it up in "Dreamgirls" -- one of those performances where I kept muttering "Oh, just give her the Oscar." But, as I've said before, her challenge is going to be finding another good role. And then a third one, because people will be gunning for her in her immediate follow-up to an Oscar. "The Departed," as I said, was not my favorite Scorsese, and I'd like to see the makers of "Infernal Affairs" share in that Oscar in some way other than a couple of lines in Oscar history.

Ellen was OK. Much better as she went along. The opening monologue was a little too nicey-nicey. The stuff with Scorsese and Eastwood was priceless, and there was good big laugh in the vacuum-cleaner segment.

And, since I mentioned the issue of what Hudson does next, I'm really curious about what Scorsese does to follow his Oscar. The pressure is supposedly off now, so he doesn't have to think about winning the big one. Eastwood -- and I'll still take him in the argument about best living American director -- has done great stuff since he won (and won again in the process). We'll see where things go with Scorsese.

And finally, before I sleep, Peter O'Toole. In a fair world, he has an Oscar. Don't worry about "Lawrence of Arabia." Take a look at "The Stunt Man," "My Favorite Year," "The Ruling Class." He's owed. But he's also old, almost sadly so. I wasn't sure if he could even hear the Oscars ceremony, including when he was being talked about. Sure, he has an honorary award. That's not the same. I hope he's got some more good work in him.

And now I have to sleep, if I hope to find some more good work in myself. Thanks for reading.

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