Monday, March 06, 2006
It's Hard Out Here for a Geisha
Despite all efforts of the current administration, America is still the land of dreams. You need proof? Who ever thought that a young, mulleted man taking a bit role among young, mulleted females would go on to become a Hollywood triple (quadruple?) threat and political pot-stirring playboy? Not Jo, Blair, Natalie or Tootie, that's for damn sure. So, George baby took home Best Supporting Actor for Syriana. He did a decent job in the role, but something tells me he got the award as a reward for his weight gain and head injury. Hollywood types are in awe of anyone who will diminish their attractiveness for a role (e.g., Nicole Kidman in The Hours, Charlize Theron in Monster), so that probably had as much to do with Clooney's win as oil had to do with the invasion of Iraq (a.k.a. a lot). Still, I think George deserved some kind of award for his admirable work creating the polished and wise Good Night, and Good Luck. It's pretty much understood that the engraving on the award doesn't necessarily match why it was really given.
I count myself among the "Jon Stewart did a good job as M.C." contingent. He slipped in some of his political acidity, but it went down smoothly. The only wide-sweeping cringe I noticed was after his joke about Walk the Line being Ray with white people. Not working at the top of his intelligence right there, but most of his other quips were excellent (as per usual). Love him so much.
As far as corny Oscar humor, I actually enjoyed Ben Stiller's green screen gag. He had no shame in his antics and shamelessness can be ever so endearing.
Other highlights for me would include the quick cut to J-Lo giggling in the audience at the stage antics of Three 6 Mafia. Homegirl must've been having happy flashbacks to high-speed pursuits through Manhattan with P. Diddy at the wheel and a gat in the glovebox. I would've liked to see a camera cut to J-Lo when Jennifer Garner tripped on her dress. Luckily, J-Ga's heavy-handed bronzer covered any natural blush her misstep might've caused. My favorite mistake was when Ang Lee went all plural on our asses and said, "...gay mens and women." Or was it not a flub at all? Could Ang be that down?
Other clips from the catty department: low-cut dresses + lack of cleavage = crazy unattractive. I guess it's all fierce and shit that Felicity Huffman would bear her ribcage to the world, but she was looking a bit too Oscar-statuesque to me. Better to work the face, hon. You got a pretty one.
And what's up with the washed-out color palette of Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman? You Aussie gals are pale and skinny enough as it is. You're one step away from disappearing, yo. Next stop: translucence. Anticipated upcoming role: dark matter. My favorite dress design was J-Lo's, although I did not enjoy the dried lawn trimmings shade of green it came in. J-Leprechaun? Nu-uh. Apropos of nothing, is there anyone cooler than Catherine Keener? I don't think so either.
Reese Dub, who I must mention (again) I once spotted in a Whole Foods grocery store looking eerily luminous with baby in tow, gave a sweet speech (although there were suspicious shades of Tracy Flick in it). I still can't bring myself to sit through Walk the Line, but from what I've heard she rocked the mic. Joaquin looked bloated and bitter, so I don't feel bad that his Johnny didn't cash in for him. An even cuter speech giver than Reese? Steve Box of Wallace and Gromit fame. (I still feel badly I didn't give that sweetly satisfying film a nod in my honorable mentions of 2005 list.)
Even though some are whining that Brokeback didn't get the big win because society is still too homophobic, that accusation doesn't really hold water for moi. As Jonny M pointed out, it'd be tough to find a gayer town on the spinning globe than Los Angeles. So maybe, just maybe, it's because it really wasn't the best picture of the year? Could be. OK, so, was Crash a better film? In my personal opinion, yes. Not by an astounding margin, but I remember being semi-rocked to my core (shout-out to Moana) by its blistering examination of racism in sunny L.A. As I've already mentioned ad nictaseum, Brokeback bored me tearless with its soap opera shorthand and long-windedness. Crash did belabor its point(s) and owed a lot to previous films (e.g., Magnolia--even Crash's nominated song was pretty Aimee Mannish). Maybe part of the reason it got the most votes was that entertainment industry types recognized themselves in the Terrence Howard and Sandra Bullock storylines. In the final analysis, though, Crash was smarter than Brokeback. The dialogue was sharp. Even though the cast's screen time was subdivided by the ensemble storytelling, Crash's characters were more fully realized and believable than Brokeback's secondary characters (i.e., all the women). Most importantly, the mirror Crash holds up to society couldn't be more timely (considering the economic/race divide shredding America and the ideological divide severing the world).
Perhaps the most touching thing about Crash winning Best Picture is that Ryan Phillipe can now get his balls out of hock. The boy almost achieved Reese levels of luminosity when he hurtled out of his seat at that award's announcement. He will no longer have to wither in the shadow of her silver spoon. Good on him. And good on my friend who was in Crash, too. You're Oscar-adjacent, young lady.