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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

My Obligatory Oscar Post

Seems like an Oscar recap post is the thing to do, and I don't want to feel left out or anything. So here's mine.

So the news articles I saw called Crash's defeat of Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture one of the greatest upsets in Academy Awards history. What?! Come on. Though true that most people recently expected Brokeback to pull it off, it isn't like Crash was way out of the running or anything. I mean, it had been considered a favorite earlier on (as in, before the Golden Globes), so this shouldn't have come as much of a surprise.

Why/how did it happen? Well, I think we can look at two things. Firstly, anyone who felt "obligated" to vote with their social conscience (and unlike Scott, I do believe that there is often more at play than simply what voters liked, though I agree the homophobia argument is farfetched), had no problems voting for Crash. They could still feel they were showing their support for important social issues by supporting a film that allegedly made some major social statement.

More importantly, however, people seem to be forgetting the PR campaign that Lion's Gate waged for Crash. My understanding was that they sent out a much larger number of screener DVDs than is typical. Let's not underestimate the effect that has on voters. It both made it easier for more voters to see the film, and engendered good will.

Regardless, there were many things I didn't like about Crash, and since I have yet to see Brokeback, I can't adequately compare them. But I have no real problem with it winning. There were certain aspects of the film that I thought were wonderful and masterfully executed, and other aspects that I disliked. Overall, though I didn't love it, I generally liked it. And while that is not a resounding endorsement of a Best Picture, I'll agree with Chris that this may have been a year without any "best" picture.

I must say, I kind of like an Oscar year in which many different films split the major awards, instead of one film sweeping away with 8 Oscars or something. That's happened too often in the past decade or so (I blame the highly overrated Titanic for that phenomenon). I love the fact that we had six films splitting the Oscars of the "top 8" categories (Best Picture, Director, Original and Adapted Screenplays, and 4 acting awards). Something to be said for parity, and spreading the wealth.

What else? My boy Jon Stewart. He's gotten mixed reviews. I liked him, overall. Yes, he was somewhat sedate, and I felt his opening monologue could have been a drop longer and more varied. But overall, some great zingers. I also dug the fake campaign ads, and the gay cowboy montage was absolutely hilarious.

Assorted other thoughts:
I'm glad The Constant Gardener did not win for Adapted Screenplay... You all know my opinion of that script already... Jessica Alba was absolutely stunning -- even more than usual. Clooney is a consummate star... Good to see Lauren Bacall out there, with that classic voice, despite the teleprompter trouble she had. (By the way, discussing her with a friend made me bring up a great website some of you may appreciate: Dead or Alive?)... I felt bad for Jennifer Garner tripping, but she swung with it great... No way the Mafia deserved that best song. None of the songs were awesome, but the one from Crash was the only decent one. I think people only voted for "Hard to be a Pimp..." because it made them feel cool.

Alright, I guess that's enough. Overall, I liked the show. Oh, and I totally agree with Lis about the ridiculous choice to play music over people's acceptance speeches. One less montage (Stewart again had a good line about that) and more time for speeches!

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Anonymous emily blake said...

"Hard out Here for a Pimp" is the only song I remembered when the night was over. The other songs sounded nice at the time, but sort of faded whent he performance was over.

I thought Crash was a good choice. When I rented it the first time, the DVD was all screwed up and stopped working at a pivotal point in the story. I was so angry that I had to wait to see the rest of the movie because I was really into it. That's all I need to know about a movie, really. If I'm dying to see what happened, it's good film. And it got people talking about their own sense of identity in a big way.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Emily -- I daresay you may have remembered the song more for the energy of the performance (which I will in no way deny), and the hook of the chorus. But the rest of the song was horrible. Was not good rapping. Simply boring, with a bit of interest from the refrain. Of course, that's just my opinion.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Frank 'Z' White said...

Brokeback is great movie whether you're straight or gay. Without a question, it should have won Best Picture.

Crash is a poor man's Short Cuts/Do the Right Thing hybrid that's so average it makes my teeth hurt.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Danny Stack said...

Over here in Blighty, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show has been generating an appreciative cult audience and with that in mind, I expected him to be more vocal and satirical but I thought he played it safe. Otherwise, I thought it was an awards show the way they should be: efficient and to the point.

2:22 AM  
Blogger The Propagandery said...

Jessica Alba is getting way too much attention for her Oscar appearance. She's sickly skinny, she can't act for crap, and she hasn't ever been in a single decent movie, not ever (and I include Sin City in this rant). Meanwhile, everyone ignores poor Salma Hayek, who's not only talented but was easily by far the hottest, best dressed star the whole night. In my very humble opinion.

As for the show, I thought it was good but very forgettable. Aside from the Three-6 Mafia and the Streep/Tomlin bit, there wasn't anything worth remembering afterwards. That said, I still had a lot of fun watching it.

2:35 AM  
Blogger mernitman said...

...you might like this anti-Academy poster, then:

10:09 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

Since thoughts on the Oscars are probably yesterday's news, I will just say I agree with your review, for the most part. Wasn't a huge fan of Jon Stewart that night - he just lacked chemistry with the audience. Way too many montages and not enough time for the winners to enjoy their moment. Also interesting that Cathy Schulman was only the fifth woman in Oscar history to win a Best Picture Oscar. No jaw-dropping moments, no gargantuan laughs, no sappy sentimentality, no thrilling shivers down the spine. Perhaps next year...

2:17 PM  

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