Sunday, February 24, 2008

Red Carpetbagger

I don't usually write about pop culture; BeckEye does that far better than I can, but it's what I'm thinking about right now. I'm watching the Oscars, and as much as I love looking at the dresses and the beautiful faces, I'm a little sad about something that's missing. I don't know what it is, it's hard to identify. Then the clips of old Oscar shows start to roll, and I know.

Nothing stunning is going to happen. No one is going to run naked across the stage behind Nicole Kidman or Jon Stewart. No one's going to refuse to accept their Oscar. No one is wearing something insane (there might be a few people in unflattering dresses, but nothing insane). And no one is going to make a memorably goofy speech.

For the last 2 weeks or so, every time I've been online, or reading the paper or a magazine, there's been reams worth of advice to presenters and nominees on how to avoid the eagle eyes and talons of the media and blogosphere. Don't end up like Sally Field, making a giggling, gushing acceptance speech, because we'll replay it mockingly until...well no "until". Forever! It will never end! Don't wear anything too creative or daring (Bjork, you'll rue the day you agreed to wear that swan dress). And don't even leave the house until your your teeth are superhuman, your face is flawless, lineless, and poreless, and your upper arms are nothing but skin stretched over sinew (anything less, and we'll write and talk about "muffin tops" for weeks).

So everyone's scared good and proper now. No one is going to fuck up and end up the victim of a blogswarm or the cable network fashion gestapo. Just call a stylist, get a recognizably impressive dress, borrow some jewelry and don't say anything stupid. The Oscars are still pretty to look at, just not too inspiring.

A few bright spots:

Tilda Swinton. She doesn't look like anyone else, and her acceptance speech was wry and funny and she looked genuinely shocked.

Marion Cotillard. Amazing dress and she was so charming and delighted when she won.

Diablo Cody. Stripper-turned-screenwriter. That's the rule; no one is permitted to mention one of Ms. Cody's occupations without reference to the other. (Parenthetical: I don't know a single heterosexual over-18 American male who hasn't been to a strip club or to a bachelor party where strippers entertained. Not one. Interestingly, a man who is now a scientist, politician, bricklayer, or mathematician is never referred to as a "viewer of strippers-turned-scientist/politician/bricklayer/mathematician". Just an aside). Anyway, she's so interesting and brave, and I liked her outfit better than anyone's.

3 of the 5 musical numbers. I liked Amy Adams' performance of "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" and the performances of "Falling Slowly" from "Once" and "Raise it Up" from "August Rush". The other 2 songs I could have done without, but I usually hate all 5 musical performances, so 3 of 5 is excellent. And Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova were charming when they accepted the award for "Falling Slowly". They look like people, and they were so beautiful, and it was touching that Ms. Irglova was brought back to give her acceptance speech when it was realized that she hadn't had the chance to speak.

So now it's 11:20. There are a few awards remaining, and I'll stay up to see them, but I'll have to finish this post tomorrow morning.

It's Monday morning now. No surprises. I was happy to see Diablo Cody win the screenwriting award, and I haven't seen "No Country for Old Men" or "There Will Be Blood", but everyone predicted that Daniel Day-Lewis would win for his performance in TWBB, and that "No Country" would win Best Picture. This might be my last pop culture commentary until next February.


r cubed said...

Perfect recap. I hadn't realized how I felt until I read your post. I especially agree about Swinton, and the "falling slowly" singers--they looked and acted like genuine people. Nicole Kidman was so smooth & hard, she was eerie, like a talking mannequin.

FranIAm said...

Great commentary! I only watched a little of it, there is only so much that I can take.

You are so right- nothing shocking or stunning. Like those outfits that Cher used to come up with. Those were the days.

I will say that Nicole Kidman's diamond-bib like necklace was askew and when she sees the photos today I think that she might regret that choice of jewelry. When you look like her the simple black dress will do.

I saw so few movies this year - the only one I saw for best pic was Juno. As much as I liked it, I am not sure I thought it was best pic material.

CDP said...

r--Nicole looks more eerily superhuman every time she appears in public, and what makes me sad is that she'd be unbelievably beautiful even if she did absolutely nothing in terms of tweaking.

Fran--Yes, I miss Cher and those crazy Bob Mackie outfits! I didn't think "Juno" was best picture material, but I did think that the script was Oscar-worthy, and Ellen Page certainly deserved her nomination, but I think that Ms. Cotillard probably deserved the win based on the clips I've seen of the movie.

Anonymous said...

CDP - I watched the show (normally I don't) because of Rickdiculus. As you know, he is developing a more than passing interest in film and he asked me to watch it with him, so I did. Of course, he went to bed and was asleep before all the awards were passed. But his comment to me before retiring was "I can do that, Dad."

As far as my favorite moments...well, Diablo Cody in that dress was quite hot (but I could hear the red carpet watchers gasp at her get up). I also liked it when Glen Hansard shouted "make art" at the end of his and Marketa Ingrlova's awards for best song. And cudos goes out to Jon Stewart for bringing Marketa back out. That guy has class.

CDP said...

That was really my favorite moment, I was so happy he brought her back out.

Anonymous said...

I love your take on this segment of pop culture. It is the Superbowl of Hollywood, right?

Your perspective is really good, because, frankly it was unpredictable. You're not a drooler, nor are you a fashion hawk. And try as you might, your snark still has a sweet edge to it.

I've skimmed other Oscar posts because I can't even tell you the last time I watched them, but your post, I read. The whole thing. And I loved it. Nice work.

Can you turn it in for a grade?

CDP said...

Dcup--wait, that wasn't razor-sharp, drive them to tears, searing snark? Well, that's the best I have. And thank you for such a nice comment! I'm going to enjoy calling you Dcup while I can...

Anonymous said...

Shoot! You caught me. I'm really bjork and you did make me cry with the swan dress kick to my shins. It was my stylist's idea!

Anyway, you can still call me DCup. For now.

Worker Mommy said...

It's rare that I can watch an award show anymore. I don't find them nearly as exciting as I once did years ago.
I started watching last night then turned it off then popped back during a commercial break...and when Amy Adams started to sing...I was just done.
Yes I did take my kids to see Enchanted...but come on didn't they have any better performances to put on.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. A lot of the dresses were pretty but boring. I actually like to watch to see Jack Nicholson. He makes my day :)

CDP said...

WM--The Golden Globes and the Oscars are the only ones I like and the Golden Globes were not worth watching this year because they did the stupid press conference. I actually liked Amy Adams' song, and I'm not a Disney fan (what is with all the dead mothers?)

Suze--thanks! Yes, most of the people looked very nice but safe.

BeckEye said...

Well, thanks for the plug! But...

"'I liked Amy Adams' performance of 'Happy Working Song' from 'Enchanted.'"

Urrrgh! I gave that my "worst moment of the night" award. :)

I agree that Tilda Swinton's speech was amusing, but that dress. Good Lord. No amount of originality can make up for the fact that it was ugly, shapeless and made her look like Dracula's daughter. If someone really wants to be different for the Oscars, they should just wear a t-shirt and jeans. That would be awesome.

Dr. Zaius said...

Tilda Swinton was great! I heard complaints about her dress, but I thought that she looked nice.

Matty Boy said...

The dress Diablo Cody wore was almost at the Bjork level of crazy, and Jon Stewart inviting someone on stage who got "musicked off" was a first. He gets many points in the Matty Boy book for that, as I have already posted on my blog.

CDP said...

Beck--OK, we'll agree to disagree. I'm not a Disney fan, but I did like that was brave, too, since I'm sure she knew going in that it would be reviled by critics. I wouldn't have worn Tilda's dress, but it suited her.

Dr Z..I agree!

Matty--I thought Diablo Cody looked great...another dress I wouldn't wear, but she looked wonderful. And I liked your post yesterday, too.

WendyB said...

The clip of Cuba Gooding Jr. really made my night. Best acceptance ever!

CDP said...

It was great, almost as good as Jack Palance! And it's funny you wrote about Barbra Streisand's outfit, because it was that particular clip that got me thinking in this direction...I immediately thought that NO ONE today would ever wear anything like that.

WendyB said...

CDP, if they do, no one appreciates it till 20 years later. I seriously can't believe people were scandalized by a mermaid dress and Kidman's necklace.

Whiskeymarie said...

I HATE that no one makes the huge hideous faux pas's that used to happen- it's so boring now.

I miss Cher.

But Diablo Cody winning gave me hope for the universe for some reason. She wrote it less than 15 miles from where I live and chose to not wear the $1 million shoes procured for her because she thought that wearing $1 million shoes was gross.
Good for her. Good for the everyday girl.

Distributorcap said...

it is amazing how plain vanilla it has become -- and so PC and boring --- i thought stewart was OK (this is not his forum)

no one will give any sort of Vanessa Redgrave or Sacheen LIttle Feather speech anymore - or even Sally Field or Cloris Leachman type speeches

they might as well phone in their acceptances.

Marion Cotillard was charming, as was Tilda Swinton.

but unless Julia Roberts or Leonardo Dicaprio win no one cares -- hence the lowest rated show ever.

even the audience looked bored as i actually saw EMPTY chairs -- and they are supposed to have seat fillers

CDP said...

WM--I read about the shoes, and I was cheering her for refusing to wear them.

Dcap--exactly! They're all so afraid of the snarkocracy that they're cowed into blandness.

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