Sundae Monday + Post Oscar Thoughts
Imagine if, in 1951, instead of George Stevens winning Best Director and An American in Paris winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, history saw Alfred Hitchcock and Strangers on a Train win. That happened last night, as another cinema legend made a great movie, marking a "return to form" with a "B movie" steeped in dualities. I couldn't be happier, especially after watching The Departed again tonight.
Yeah, I didn't pull a few triggers I should have (namely Michael Arndt for Best Original Screenplay), but it was a good show overall. The very diverse show, everyone got a little piece of something. Letters From Iwo Jima, The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine, Marie Antoinette, Dreamgirls, Babel, Pan's Labyrinth, The Lives of Others, it seems that there wasn't an empty hand in the Kodak theater.
Except for Eddie Murphy and Peter O'Toole. While I admire Murphy sticking to his guns and not disowning his past and present (doesn't mean I'll be seeing Norbit anytime soon), I will admit I was happy to see Alan Arkin get the award for being the best part of an otherwise mediocre movie. As for O'Toole, he gave the saddest instant of the show when Forest Whitaker's name was announced. That instant on his heartbroken face did more for me than the strongest Hollywood weepy. That said, Whitaker gave a great speech, turning "I was just a girl in a trailer park with a dream" into an impassioned speech about following your dreams. Maybe it's that he gave a better performance than Hilary Swank. I don't know.
Random thought: The last person to win a leading acting Oscar for portraying a fictional character was Hilary Swank. Not taking anything away from the winners since (except Reese Witherspoon), but what happened to, you know, creating your own character?
As an Oscar warm up yesterday, I watched For Your Consideration. Though not all that funny (except John Michael Higgins, essentially reprising his role as Wayne Jarvis from "Arrested Development"), it was a scathing look at the nightmares produced in the Dream Factory. It was like cold water to the face before the Oscars.
Random thought: Penelope Cruz is not from Mexico. Infernal Affairs is not Japanese. This year's self-congratulatory tone was about this being the "International Year," like last year's was the "Independent Year." So much for either of those.
How did they get the Departed silhouette to shoot a bullet?
What happened to Iraq? I know this was brought up somewhere else, possibly The House Next Door, but that was a political theme distinctly missing from this year's Oscars. And with Happy Feet and An Inconvenient Truth combining for more than any single film besides our dear Departed, it was all global warming all the time. I guess they're leaving Iraq to Congress. Good luck with that one, guys.
I'm sick of writing about the Oscars, so, for Sundae Monday, I present the Monarch on the Red Carpet: