Oscar 2007: Wrap-up

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Article by Mark Dujsik

Three hours and 50 minutes later, what exactly is there to say about the 2007 Academy Awards except that it wasn't all that bad—just really, really, really long.  Most of the locks ended up being such, leaving all of the surprises in the technical categories, which were thankfully presented first.  The theme of the night, at least at the beginning until the whole thing became the presentational nightmare it usually does, was the nominees (which sucks if you weren't nominated).  That at least seems in line with what's been going on.  First they changed "the winner is" to "and the Oscar goes to," so the next step will be from "to the nominees" to "You all came.  Isn't that great?"  Ellen DeGeneres was a fine, funny host; her uncomfortable, self-defacing humor fit in well.  Here's a question, though: Where was she?

Some observations:

Most shocking loss: Pan's Labyrinth lost Best Foreign Language Film. Nothing against Germany's entry The Lives of Others (I have yet to see it), but after Labyrinth taking its first three awards, you had to wonder if they screwed up and it had actually been nominated for Best Picture.  Then comes what should have been a clinch and just shock.  And it lost Best Score, too.

Most expected disappointment: United 93: zero wins.  And it still only got two nominations.  Again, shame on you Academy.

Best moment of schadenfreude: Near the end of the Dreamgirls collection of songs, I had the thought, Wouldn't it be great if, after all this hoopla, none of these songs won.  Then the envelope is opened, and "I Need To Wake Up" wins.  Oh, the evil, happy laughter that resulted from the irony was too much.

Not the worst speech: All of the speeches this year were pretty dull.  The director of the show thought Alan Arkin's Oscar on the floor was more interesting than his.  Even Jennifer Hudson, who at least was genuinely emotional, was a bit underwhelming.  Forest Whitaker, who seems to have gotten over his speech-making jitters just in time, and his prepared speech was an honest ode to his craft.  Actually, the best speech of the night wasn't in English.  Honorary Oscar winner Ennio Morricone's acceptance speech in Italian was by far the best; the kind of emotions and sentiments he so honestly felt were understandable in any language.

Classiest acceptance speech: Thelma Schoonmaker had Martin Scorsese in tears.  She was well spoken, and if she rehearsed the speech, you couldn't tell.  Runner up: Best Makeup winners David Martí and Montse Ribé were clearly genuinely thankful to director Guillermo del Toro for their participation in Pan's Labyrinth.

Classy up until...: Helen Mirren was obviously classy through her acceptance, but what was that final, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Queen."  Did she mean the Oscar, herself, or Elizabeth II?  With her body language (Oscar held out and firm pose), I don't think it was the third one.

Will never be classy: Please, please, just have the presenter ask the audience to hold their applause until the end of the "In Memoriam" tribute.

Best advice to kids: "Aim lower," DeGeneres said comparing her dream to host the Oscars to those in the crowd with dreams of winning one.

We waited how long for this?: Scorsese wins, and what do we get?  A list of thanks.

Keep it: Instead of presenters talking about the films nominated for Best Picture, this year, the cast and crew of the films commented on them.  Much more interesting and relevant material resulted.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does stuff?: In one minute, I learned more about the role of the AMPAS then I have in any of the other Oscar telecasts I've watched in 14 years.

Please, please, please just stop it: The interpretive dancers recreating moments or images from the campaigns of different nominated films.  Could we just cut the filler altogether?  Really, that's why the show runs over, and nobody cares about it.  It would also let speeches run a bit longer, and maybe we could have better clips for the acting categories.

Evidence in support of auteur theory: Screenwriter Michael Arndt called directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris the real authors of Little Miss Sunshine.

Unintentional honesty: In the too long documentary of interviews with the nominees (shockingly directed by Errol Morris), Babel director Alejandro González Ińárritu said that his movie was nominated for seven awards.  "Too many maybe," he followed.  Yep.

Please, please, please just stop it, part II: Did they really have all the nominees in the audience stand up for applause after that opening?  Do they really need to add more wank to what is already an overlong wank-fest in the first place?  A brief glimpse of Peter O'Toole's expression of utter disdain for the occasion summed it up perfectly.

More unsolicited advice: Eddie Izzard should host the Oscars.  And soon.

Gone "green?:" So does that mean all the nominees took public transit?  Now that would make a great Red Carpet special.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.