Last year I complained how depressing it was that, four years earlier, I had written the first Juicy review of the 69th Annual Academy Awards, bragging about how I "wasn't there, wasn't sponsored by any corporations, and [wasn't] scared to say what just about everyone thinks." What I found so depressing twelve months ago was how sad it was, nearly half a decade later, "to not be there" and to still be, "flat broke," thanks to not making a dime off of this page. I hoped then that, "when I type up my thoughts on the 74th Annual Academy Awards" I would be "typing them on an expensive laptop from the auditorium, receiving thousands of dollars from Nike for inserting a 'subtle product-placement'" into my update.
Well, that was then, and this is now, and the 12 months are up, and guess what? My hoping actually paid off. I'm busy typing on a state-of-the-art laptop computer -- one that was supplied to me for free by the corporate backers of The Juicy Cerebellum -- in the official Academy Award pressroom, after ATTENDING the Academy Awards, where I sat only 2 seats away from Nicole Kidman (if you taped the show, you can actually see me in a few shots. I'm the one in a tux.) and I'm LOVING it.
A lot can happen in five years, I guess, but I hope that there's one thing that hasn't changed: me. I hope I'm still the crazy kid that isn't scared to say what, "just about everyone thinks." Sure, I'm being paid to say it now, but the fact that I even told you that this is a paid update, when the people paying for the whole thing wanted to keep that little detail under wraps until The Juicy Cerebellum's upcoming facelift (same content, more ads, better layout and graphics), shows that I'm still not taking orders from anyone ... even if they do decide to fly me home coach, rather than first class.
Now, onto my Academy coverage, I have to make it quick, because I'm heading off to Miramax's after-party the second I'm done typing the thing (hey, I'm not sleeping with the enemy, just eating with them):
The acoustics in the place sucked. I was pretty excited to hear John Williams' music live, but it was less thrilling than expected, thanks to the muffled, bouncing sound. The whole auditorium smelled strongly of perfume, money and cologne. Ironically, I had none of these things on me. It was weird as hell when Whoopi Goldberg made her entrance and I saw myself on the big screens. A billion people were looking at me. Well, they were looking at Whoopi, but I was on the screen with her, dammit, even if nobody noticed. After the initial shock of being surrounded by celebrities and being on television in front of a billion people, the show just seems like it does when you watch it at home, only you have less comfortable seats and have a lot of trouble leaving to take a piss (the bathrooms become packed during every commercial break). As I was busy adjusting to what it was like attending the awards, versus what I THOUGHT it would be like to attend, the trophy for Best Supporting Actress was given out to a skeleton. I think she starred in A Beautiful Mind. Her speech was read off of a piece of paper. I hate lack of spontaneity. I finally spotted Peter Jackson as the stick-figure read her speech, and realized that none of the films nominated for best picture were good enough to really root for, so I began the process of anti-rooting. All that mattered was that The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring lost.
Just when I thought no winners, but only one loser, could get me excited, Black Hawk Down took home the award for Best Editing. That was a pretty good movie, even though it was a sausage-fest.
Best Makeup went to this year's other schlong-dominated film, The Lord of the Rings. I actually thought, of the movies nominated, LOTR deserved the award. Still, I wondered, could this be the start of a sweep? Another thing, did the Academy simply FORGET that Planet of the Apes and Hannibal came out in 2001? These films, especially Apes, had some of the best makeup EVER. They destroyed the films that were nominated. So, if a film isn't that good, that suddenly means the guy doing the makeup must of sucked? What kind of fucked up way to reason is that? These films could have at least been NOMINATED. Extras from Apes are/were suing because they said the makeup may have given them, or might eventually give them, cancer (I hear monkeys will say just about anything for a buck). Maybe that pushed the Academy over the edge, causing it to ignore Rick Baker's wonderful work. Or, maybe the Academy is just stupid. I'd go for the latter.
*BRIEF RANT FROM MY NASTY SELF* Okay, I can't take it anymore ... WHO THE FUCK DECIDED TO HAVE WHOOPI HOST THIS SHOW AGAIN?!? Almost EVERY critic thought she sucked last time, I thought she sucked last time, the show she did had shitty ratings. This woman is NOT funny. Okay Whoopi, you're black, "hehe," we get it, now can't you move forward and explore innovative new areas of comedy, such as the fact that you're female? You could get a whole new set of laughs from a whole new "repressed" demographic! Wow, as a comedian, this woman is without talent. The world knows it (the only gig she gets anymore is the center square on Hollywood Squares), but the Academy can't seem to figure it out. WHOOPI IS NOT A GOOD ALTERNATE TO BILLY CRYSTAL! I'd rather see Larry King host these things. There ARE funny people out there, Whoopi just isn't one of them. And what's up with all the courtesy laughs? There's nothing clever, witty or even amusing about what she says, so why does the audience feel like they must let out fake little giggles? It's probably canned laughter played out over the speakers. No one sitting next to me even cracked a smile, but maybe that's due to my lack of cologne. Good grief ... did I remember to shower? *END BRIEF RANT FROM MY NASTY SELF*
The Best Costume Design was given to the very deserving Moulin Rouge. Even though I wanted Rouge to win in this category, it frightened me a little. Why wasn't LOTR winning? Could this mean they're saving all of its Oscars for the BIG awards? I crossed my fingers hoping that this wasn't the case, and started to sweat, a little. A seat-filler ran up to me as fast as his Nike's would take him during the next commercial break with a towel. That was weird. I guess anyone in close proximity to the stars aren't allowed to glisten. I thought about taking out a watch to let light reflect off of it, into the cameras. Then I decided that I didn't want to get kicked out of the Oscars until next year.
Best Cinematography went to The Lord of the Rings. I don't care how many times a camera can swing around people hiking across a snowy mountain; the film did not deserve this award. Actually, none of the nominees deserved it as much as the excellent, and overlooked, Mulholland Dr.. Of the movies up, I guess I'd have to say The Man Who Wasn't There had the best cinematography. The film looked incredible.
What is Gwyneth Paltrow wearing?
Art Direction went to Moulin Rouge, giving it two awards, and tying it with The Lord of the Rings. It looked like LOTR wasn't going to sweep the Oscars, after-all.
Randy Newman won Best Original Song, which was AMAZING! All I have to say is.............it's about fucking time! It only took the Academy nearly two decades of nominations to give the guy his trophy. The poor guy has had to write the same song over and over again, just to win an award. Now maybe he can finally write his second number. This was one of the truly exciting, unexpected moments of the night, even if it wasn't warranted. The other songs nominated were so bad, it would have been a sin for Newman to have lost. Why is Sting always up, nowadays (he was up for "My Little Penis" last year)? That guy can really write up some cinematic soundtrack stinkers.
Uma Thurman took home the Best Floppy Boobies Popping Out of the Dress award, previously held by a lactating Madonna. Wow, those things were all over the place. I wish I could have accidentally bumped into one so it got smooshy and then I would have said, "oops" and then she would have politely laughed and said, "that's okay" and then we would have made passionate love on Ethan Hawke. Maybe Jennifer "Skeletor" Connelly and Uma Thurman traded breasts. I remember when Connelly had HUGE hooters and Uma's seemed rather unnoticeable. The best effects of the night should have went to the amazing tit-exchange of 2002.
Best Special Effects went to Lord of the Rings which did have good special effects, but there have been NO effects as good as A.I., which ended up losing. The film is seamless. What is CGI, what is real? For the first time, a movie did so good with its effects that you actually found yourself wondering. This film was underrated, and will become a HUGE success in years to come. Film students will be studying A.I. when LOTR is forgotten in the way E.T. has sort of been (that whole "20 Year Anniversary" thing didn't work so well). A.I. should have been up for best picture (not to mention best actor, best supporting actor and best director). It was robbed. Lord of the Rings just had a few monsters slapped in here and there, some fancy fireworks and people hiking across a snowy mountain and swirling cameras filming them. All very obvious CGI (maybe not the mountain thing). At least they didn't give it to Pearl Harbor. What was that movie doing even being nominated for ANYTHING?!? I think Mickey Mouse owns the Academy.
Best Adapted Screenplay went to A Beautiful Mind, which was truly hilarious, in a sick sort of way, being that it was probably the worst adaptation in cinematic history. I guess Hollywood just validated all those screenwriters that want to redeem their careers, after writing a Batman and Robin, or two, by taking an interesting TRUE story, and turning it into a formulaic LIE. Memento should have won this award. Even The Lord of the Rings would have been a better pick; it's not its fault that it adapted a horrible, hideously boring book.
When The Royal Tenenbaums didn't win Best Original Screenplay, I could feel my blood boil. Forget my "anti-rooting" thing. I WANTED The Royal Tenenbaums to win. It was an incredible screenplay. I guess it went over the Academy's head, like most "original" things do (Mulholland Dr. being completely overlooked in this category proves that). The Academy is turning the word "original" into an oxymoron.
The Academy is more corrupt than the Bush administration. Most of the Academy voters don't watch the majority of movies nominated. A Beautiful Mind started an Oscar campaign almost a year ago, and it's obvious the Academy will reward it for its lobbying. This isn't about art. This is about popularity and persuasion. It's the high school cafeteria all over again, and I'm tired of watching everybody trying to work their way to the trendy table. This will be the LAST time I cover the Academy Awards. This is the first and last time I'll attend the awards. Hell, I'm not even going to watch these things on TV ever again. The best films are rarely nominated, and never win. It's been getting worse every year. This year was the clincher. Fuck it. Now, for those of you that care, I'll let you know how the rest of the evening went ...
The Lord of the Rings was almost a complete failure, winning only four awards, out of the 13 it was nominated for. It lost in EVERY big category (outside of maybe Cinematography, which I consider a BIG category). Screenplay, Director, Supporting Actor, Picture ... it lost them all. As I suspected, only geeks liked the flick, and I felt temporarily vindicated, but then remembered that the Academy is a joke, anyway. A Beautiful Mind won Best Picture, proving, once again, that the Academy simply loves mainstream mediocrity. If Ron Howard would have directed Three's Company: The Movie, he would have won the best director award he ran off with, because it was "his time." Howard is a boring director with absolutely NO guts. Every one of his movies are carefully designed to be a hit and push the audience's buttons during all the right moments. He's not even very good at doing that, actually. There will never be anything fresh, bold or exhilarating in a Ron Howard movie. To hell with his conventional, calculated crap. The guy probably considered Happy Days an avant-garde television program.
Halle Berry got best actress, and pulled her, "I'm a black savior and I'm doing this for every black woman and please worship me, but not really me, but all the people that I represent as the savior of black folks everywhere because I'm a vessel and I'm going to go cry tears for the 74 years of injustice the Academy has inflicted upon wealthy Negro celebrities" shit that she started at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. This woman should really put her career into perspective. She isn't saving the entire black community by starring in X-Men sequels and Pepsi commercials. She did pull off one of the best performances of the year in that movie about monster nuts, and was the rightful winner of the award, but I didn't think she was nearly as good as Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr., who wasn't even nominated.
I think the guy from Iris and Moulin Rouge won best supporting actor, but I don't even remember. Maybe the Academy had the same problem when they forgot to nominate Gene Hackman for his role in The Royal Tenenbaums.
Is it just me or did Will Smith suddenly disappear? I swear he was on the red carpet at the beginning, but now he's no where to be found.
Denzel Washington won best actor for his SUPPORTING role in the standard cop thriller, Training Day, which he didn't deserve, but Denzel could have played Jack Tripper in Ron Howard's Three's Company movie and took home the trophy, because it was "his time." Why didn't they just give Denzel his award when he actually gave an incredible, Oscar worthy performance like the one he gave in Malcolm X? I suppose that year it was somebody else's "time" to win. The Academy is becoming retroactive. If you want someone playing against type, how about Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast? Why was he nominated for "supporting" and Denzel for "best"? They were both in supporting roles, and Washington didn't have half of the depth shown by Kingsley in Beast. Speaking of strange, why wasn't Jennifer Connelly, definitely the lead actress in A Beautiful Mind, nominated for best actress instead of supporting? I'd suspect it's because as a leading lady she didn't stack up (her breasts have deflated), but in said leading role, she managed to snag an Oscar playing against a bunch of supporting actresses. And now Hollywood, the same Hollywood that votes on these things, will be able to make a bunch of excess loot by putting an, "Academy Award Winner" before her name, in advertisements. This thing is as legit. as a Jewish vote for Buchanan on a Butterfly Ballot!
The show went on for over 4 hours and was tedious to the point of making me want to rip my hair out (I'm sure one of the seat-fillers would have ran up to me with a toupee, if I would have actually yanked out any hair). If I wouldn't have been there live, I would have definitely said this was the worst Academy Awards that I've ever seen. Hell, I'll say it anyway. This was the worst Academy Awards that I've ever seen. There, I said it, and in italics, even.
I miss the "anything goes" zaniness of the Academy Award shows from the sixties, seventies, eighties and even the early nineties (remember the one armed push ups?). I'm so sick of "Politically Correct" that I could puke, and the Academy is getting worse with the PC junk every year. At least Robert Redford, Woody Allen (was this his first time ever at the awards? The man may or may not be a dick in real life, but coming to the Oscars to get filmmakers back in New York was a beautiful thing. He's also the best screenwriter alive, no matter what any of you pop-culture no-nothing Britney fans think. Woody should HOST this show. It would be incredibly ironic, since he's been nominated like 15-20 times, and has never even ATTENDED until tonight, but he did really good, and I'd take irony over Whoopi, any day.) and Sidney Poitier managed to work in a few decent speeches. If it wasn't for those three, and a sort of funny skit thing by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, the night would have been a complete loss.
To hell with it, I'm out of here. I'll tell Peter Jackson "hi" for you. Later.
Written by: Alex Sandell
Title Graphic by: Alex Sandell
More Oscar updates:
We're Not Worthy: The 73rd Annual Academy Awards
Why the 71st Annual Academy Awards Were Longer Than World War II, Itself
Why the 70th Annual Academy Awards Were a Great Sedative
Why the 69th Annual Academy Awards Sucked
©2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, you're going to turn all Lord of the Rings, and become a LOSER!
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