Monday, February 26, 2007

The 79th Annual Academy Awards

I agree with my buddy Chas in the broadest sense that they've just GOT to bring in someone to make the show cool -- and 2.5 hours, max -- or it won't be on a big broadcast network for too many more years.

That said, I think it's easy to knock the Oscars. So even if the show was much better than it's been in recent years -- certainly, far far better than last year's well-intentioned Jon Stewart disaster, or the year before's Gary Shandling fiasco -- people will still slag it.

So let me take the contrary position -- And not just cause I'm a contrarian, but because I actually enjoyed a good two hours out of the total running time of three and a half centuries.

Ellen was a great great host--on a par with Billy Crystal--even if she did play it a bit safer than she does in her stand up, or even on her show.

I could tell everything that was written by her writers, because it wasn't nauseating -- and some of it was actually quite funny (e.g., Leo goading Al Gore into making a "big announcement" only to have him played off).

Conversely, you could tell everything written by Bruce Vilanch and *his* writers, because it WAS nauseating. I think he did almost all the presenter banter -- except for the special cases (Gore/DiCaprio), the ad-libbers (Clooney) or those who apparently wrote their own (Seinfeld).

They should have her back, and make her more prominent next time (and *someone* please just put Bruce Vilanch out of our misery, for christ's sake).

I *loved* Jack Nicholson, just standing there refusing to read that shit -- either because he was too blitzed, or too offended by what he saw on the teleprompter. Diane Keaton's exasperation was perfect.

Also perfect: the tribute to Sherry Lansing, the special Oscar for Ennio Morricone, and the Big Three (Coppolla, Spielberg, Lucas) presenting Marty his first -- insanely overdue -- Oscar.

That man personifies almost everything I love about film. Everything but spaceships. (Can you imagine the spaceship movie by Marty Scorsese?? Hey--It could happen. Yes, he made Goodfellas and Mean Streets... but he also made The Age of Innocence and Last Temptation of Christ.)

Anyway... In a nutshell: if running time and presenter banter were the biggest problems, it was an above average year.

P.S., I was saddened to hear from Jodie Foster (who is always the hottest Power Lesbian in the room) of the passing of her best friend (and possibly the father of her son Charlie), Randy Stone. Stone was a talented casting exec at Fox in the 90s. He discovered and paired little-known David Duchovny with completely unknown Gillian Anderson, which worked out OK.

He also wrote and directed an Oscar-winning short film about a gay teen who attempts suicide (and set up a foundation to help such kids).

He was also a talented actor in his own right (like Foster, he was a child actor).

He was 49. Cause of death has not been disclosed.


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