Monday, February 28, 2005

I'd Like To Thank My Transportation Coordinator

To even consider writing seriously about the Oscars these days you might just have to explain why you’d even bother, you have to break down for your reader what its potential allure might be given its less then stellar reputation for boring folks pants off and its transparently gaudy, self-congratulatory tenor, something New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis took a stab at yesterday when we wrote, “Part of what makes the Oscars such an addictive spectacle is that there are few times when the struggle between cinematic art and industry, vision and profit plays out as openly as during the awards show, with its veneer of high seriousness and molten core of greed.” Fair enough, even if Dargis might be stretching it a bit thin when one considers that there’s rarely much of a struggle in Hollywood between cinematic art and profit: the dollar always triumphs. Business first, art second or third or whatever. Should you have had any doubts about this pecking order last night, Hillary Swank was up there on stage, using her precious 30 seconds in front of millions and millions to thank everybody who ever helped her cash a check, including her lawyers. That she did it all while stuffed in a mammary inflated dress made out of blueberries was doubly gormandizing.

The show itself, the 77th Annual Academy Awards, was a better spectacle then last years, where Billy Crystal was dusted off and rolled out of storage to perform his proven system of Catskills operation. Chris Rock, fresh from a couple weeks of witless homophobic bating hype (“Watch out,” it seemed designed to say, “this guy is a loose-ass and highly controversial black cannon that you simply cannot miss tuning in for!”) started off strong (bashing Bush is good and necessary) but was quickly cast aside, appearing every now and again to dash off some canned one-liner, very few of which scored, though I did like the bit about next years Oscar’s being handed out via drive-thru’s along with a McFlurry. Rock turned out to be a disposable host when deflated of the hype, which is what you’d expect from a network made so jittery of offending that it axed the song Robin Williams was originally set to perform skewering Focus On Family’s SpongeBob SquarePants outcry. Making light of intolerance posing as family values might offend.

Oh, we also liked how the Oscar audience all rose when Chris Rock first walked out, a standing ovation in praise of The First Black Man To Ever Host The Oscars! Bastian of progressivism they are, the audience felt the over-indulgent need to stand and give Rock and, one imagines, themselves, a pat on the back. The first words out of Rock’s mouth? “Sit your asses down!”

So why do we watch? To catch fleeting glimpses of Kate Winslet of course!

No comments: