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"There are no losers here tonight, but we're about to change all that." - Steve Martin, 75th Annual Academy Awards
Upon re-reading my Academy updates of yesteryear, I noticed two things: I was way, WAY worse at spelling in 1997 than I am now (I actually went through and corrected a bunch of errors) and my updates, much like the Academy Award ceremonies, kept getting longer every year. Last year I typed a record 2,949 word update. This year, in an effort to fight the terrorists, I'm going to try to complete this entire thing in less than 1,000 words. If the Academy can give up their red carpet in the name of winning a war, I can spare 1,949 words, right? My first Academy update was only 868 words long, and of those, 862 words were spelled incorrectly. Being that the misspelled words would be considered invalid in a SCRABBLE tournament, the first Academy update I did was technically only 6 words long. If I could get the job done in 6 words 6 years ago, I can sure as hell do it now in less than 1,000. Or can I? Only time will tell.
ABC and the Academy fucked up in a way that they haven't since giving The English Patient the award for "Best Picture" in 1997, by not allowing the usual hordes of gawking goofs to sit up in the bleachers and cheer as the celebrities arrive. ABC's war coverage ended up being more entertaining than the lousy pre-show that we were provided with. Supposedly there was to be no red carpet for the celebrities to walk down. Maybe I'm color blind, but I swear there was a carpet, and it was red, and the celebrities were all walking down it. "My god," I thought to myself, "have the terrorists won?!?" The lack of screaming fans really did make for a far more drab viewing experience. At the same time, it did confirm, once and for all, that if a celebrity toots their own horn, and nobody is there to cheer about it, it doesn't make a sound.
Things got better when Steve Martin got on stage. I was surprised Steve wasn't wearing blackface to trigger memories of his racist hit, Bringing Down the House. I loved Martin when he hosted a couple of years ago and he did even better this time. Did somebody give him "unfunny" pills when he starred in the Queen Latifah stinker? Martin obviously hasn't missed a comedic beat, but you'd never know it by watching the moronic "House." Steve started the show with insider jokes similar to the ones he spouted off a couple of years earlier. If you know Hollywood, these lines are hilarious. I also loved the jabs Martin took at the Academy. "Proceeds of the Oscars tonight will be divvied up between huge corporations." Classic. Martin also took a dig at Joan Rivers, which is always funny, even if Joan is so incredibly easy. Read the last sentence again and you'll see how easy it is to make a joke about Joan. The scariest part of Martin's opening monologue was when he called Queen Latifah, "sequel money." Bringing Down the House 2. The terrorists have won. The wild and crazy guy stopped scaring me when he explained what an actor is. "They can be tall, short, thin or skinny. They can be Democrat ... or skinny." The joke only got funnier when it was accompanied with visuals. When Martin said that actors can be "straight," and the camera went to Harrison Ford, or "gay," and suddenly we got a shot of Jack Nicholson, I laughed so hard I got embarrassed and started complaining to the girl I wish was my girlfriend that my vision was blurry, just to distract her from my hideous cackle. Jack Nicholson gay. So that explains the oversized glasses. It was a hysterical way to segue into the actual award part of the award show and turned out to be the funniest opening to the Academy Awards in over a decade. "Steve Martin could make anything funny," I said to the girl I wish was my girlfriend. Then I remembered Bringing Down the House and I took it all back.
I don't think I'm going to get this thing done in less than 1,000 words.
Cameron Diaz came out to present the first award. She looked as though she didn't wash her hair for a week, in support of the troops. She presented the award for Best Animated Film. The nominees consisted of the mediocre Ice Age, the Saturday morning cartoon quality Lilo & Stitch, the dreadfully boring Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, the awful Treasure Planet and the excellent, Spirited Away. Being that the Academy tends to like crap, I was sure Treasure Planet would win the award. Then I remembered that the Academy loves money and figured the statue would go to Ice Age, for doing the best at the box office. Then I realized that a lot of Academy members are old enough to grandfather Elvis, so I figured Lilo & Stitch would get it. If this was business as usual, anything but the film that I wanted to win would win. Just when I was about to scribble down something bitchy in my Oscar notebook, the seminal Spirited Away took home the prize. Maybe the Academy finally grew a collective brain.
Next up was Keanu Reeves, presenting the award for Best Visual Effects. In support of the troops Keanu refrained from saying, "woah." Two ridiculous films that would have fit in better with the Best Animated Film category, Attack of the Clones and Spider-Man were up for the award, plus the visually stunning, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. While absolutely nothing could match the jaw-dropping effects given to us in The Two Towers, almost anything could beat the crap spit onto the screen in Spider-Man or Clones. Minority Report and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets both had effects that were at least in the same galaxy as The Two Towers, if not on the same par. I guess it's all irrelevant anyway, because Rings had this nomination in the bag, and rightfully took home the trophy.
Jennifer Connelly stepped on stage as the next presenter. For some reason her hair looked as though it was glued to her head. I wondered if she was trying out for a part as a beautifully coifed corpse on Six Feet Under. At least she wasn't a stick figure like she was last year. This time, it was just her choice in hair that screwed up her look. She was radiant at the Golden Globes this year, so I know her kinky sex scene in Requiem for a Dream is still worth masturbating over. Connelly gave out the award for Best Supporting Actor. Chris Cooper won for his excellent work in Adaptation. He sort of cried a little bit and wished us all peace. I thought this was better than if George W. Bush would have won and wished us all war.
Before you could scream, "J-LO," Ben Affleck's trophy butt walked on stage to present Best Art Direction. Every single nominee was worthy of the nomination, but only Chicago or Gangs of New York deserved to win. Actually, Gangs of New York was the clear winner. Clearly the Academy didn't see this, and picked Chicago, which was my second choice. I began noticing that the Academy was making pretty good decisions up to this point and wondered how I could write an update without bitching about their picks. Panic set in, causing me to overeat. I sucked down three pieces of KFC in record time. This was probably not the smartest thing to do if I ever wanted the girl I wish was my girlfriend to actually ever become anything more than a girl I wish would stop looking at me when I eat.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah then performed a song from the credit sequence in Chicago. I literally thought Jones was Latifah when I first saw her coming up from under the stage. It's amazing what 9 months of pregnancy can do to a woman. I started to wonder if the baby would pop out for the encore. I want to see Jones spray milk from her tits. Then again, I want to see all women spray milk from their tits, so that's nothing new. I wish they'd make a sequel to Lactation Nation, already.
For some reason ABC then gave us a briefing on the war in Iraq. Zeta-Jones's water was more likely to break than any new news, but Jennings felt compelled to come on and read his teleprompter like there was something important on it. Everything he read was crap that broke about 8 hours earlier. Do the networks now think we seriously can't go without hearing about this pointless fucking war for 30 minutes? I think the news anchors and retired generals should win a Best Actor award for doing such a good job at pretending to be objective.
Jennings finally shut up and the sexy Jennifer Garner came on stage and looked so amazingly hot that I no longer wanted to date the girl I wish was my girlfriend and instead wanted to date Jennifer. This creepy CGI Mickey Mouse was on stage with Garner, trying to cop a feel. As soon as we start letting creepy CGI Mickey's on stage with Jennifer Garner, the terrorists have won. Where's a CGI mousetrap when you need one? Jennifer and, uh, "Mickey" announced the award for Best Animated Short Film. It went to ChubbChubb. I haven't seen the film, but the title leads me to believe that it's about two sexually aroused homosexuals.
Mickey got his horny ass booted off the stage, leaving only Jennifer to present the award for Best Live Action Short Film. The award went to This Charming Man, who very well may be the second Chubb in ChubbChubb. I wrote something about the guy who made the film, but whatever it was has since been covered with BBQ sauce and chicken grease, leaving only the words, "snide ... funny ... 11 years old." Maybe I was talking about Roman Polanski's newest girlfriend.
Best Achievement in Costume Design went to Chicago. This film definitely earned it. Frida and Gangs of New York also belonged here, but I have no idea what The Hours or The Pianist were doing being nominated in this category. The Hours put women in women's clothing. Ooh ... tough. The Pianist had some old Nazi outfits and junk from a thrift-store. These were courtesy nominations, if I ever saw them.
To my absolute horror, Paul Simon walked on stage and sung about his life as a midget. This song is unbearably trite and contrived. I'm starting to see why Garfunkel wanted a divorce.
What in hell's name is so good about My Big Fat Greek Wedding?!? The movie was predictable, hokey, jokey, sappy crap. Why are dorky romantic comedies suddenly the "in" thing? That one greek girl from the movie came on stage to present Best Makeup. For some inexplicable reason only two films were nominated: The Time Machine and Frida. The Hours should have gotten not only a nomination, but an award. The makeup in that movie was incredible. Another film that should have been up was The Two Towers. This is the first thing I have to really bitch about with this award ceremony. Of course the award went to Frida, which pisses me off since I made a big deal about seeing the film, drove 6 hours to watch it, and then never wrote the review for it that I drove 6 hours to write. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! (If you really want to know, I gave the movie a 5 out of 10. I'll write a review for it later.)
All of a sudden Sean Connery came out wearing this weird ass suit that looked like the one Jerry wore on the puffy shirt episode of Seinfeld when he was going to do a late night show (someone please send me an email and let me know I'm not the only one who noticed this). The audience cheered like crazy. This guy will be in People's ten sexiest people list fifteen years after he dies. You would think that if you actually had sex with him something would fall off. Connery gave the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who deserved it 100%. Man is she huge. I was surprised that they didn't role her onto the stage.
It was during Catherine's acceptance speech that my dog decided to start licking the girl I wish was my girlfriend's breasts, over her sweater. This was a very awkward moment. Suddenly my dog is getting more action than me with the girl that I'm supposed to be trying to date. My dog's new girlfriend became embarrassed over what was happening and started complaining to me that her vision was blurry to get my mind off of this hideous act of involuntary bestiality.
Renée Zellweger handed out the award for Best Original Score. All that mattered to me is that The Hours didn't get it. I have never, and I mean, NEVER, heard a soundtrack as bad as the one that dominates that film. The fact that The Hours was nominated for best original score and ignored for best makeup is proof that the Academy is both deaf and blind. Luckily, a few of the members got really good hearing aids in their gift baskets and selected Frida, which probably has the best score of any of the films in this category.
That one girl from The Sound of Music came out to present a montage of old music numbers the Academy put on that were hard to sit through the first fucking time. She received a standing ovation.
Some movie won the People Who Talk Funny award.
Chicago won Best Achievement in Sound. The surround in this movie brought down the house. It was incredible. I'm so happy the award went to this film.
WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO ME?!? WHY DO I KEEP BEING HAPPY WITH THE ACADEMY'S CHOICES?!? Something isn't right. It must be the brain atrophy.
The Two Towers won Best Achievement in Sound Editing. Whoopee-fucking-doo. This is one of those awards that matter to just about nobody.
Y tu mamá también's Gael García Bernal is the first celebrity of the night to speak strongly against the war in Iraq. Isn't a single American actor going to have the balls to say anything? A lot of innocent civilians and American soldiers have died for undefined reasons. This should not be taken lightly and I think people need to speak out. I can't remember what Bernal was actually doing on stage, other than defending peace.
Hilary Swank presented The Hours montage. She got the gig due to the newfound lesbian credentials she received after starring in Boys Don't Cry.
Just when you thought America had gone all pussy, along came Michael Moore. Moore received a standing ovation when he won the award for Best Documentary Feature for his excellent, Bowling for Columbine. I was surprised when half of the audience began booing Moore during his acceptance speech. This is supposed to be "liberal Hollywood." I suppose they had strict orders from their publicists to "boo loudly if anyone does more than read through a long list of names during their acceptance speech." Moore's speech was right on the money. I am now going to reprint it, in its entirety:
I've invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us. They are here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time when we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious President. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether its the fictition (SIC) of duct-tape, or the fictitious of orange alerts. We are against this war, Mr. Bush! Shame on you, Mr. Bush! Shame on you! Any time you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against ya, your time is up! Thank you very much!
Whether you are for or against what Mr. Moore has to say, you should consider his saying it to be admirable. It took a lot of courage for him to get through that speech, and he put his entire career at risk by seeing it through to the end. The voice of dissent is oftentimes the ultimate voice of patriotism. In troubled times such as these, when so many people are telling us that if you're against the war, you're against America, the voice of dissent can be the only voice that keeps the very values America holds dear alive. There are two sides to every story, but the corporate media is only presenting us with one of those sides by doing nothing more than reiterating the rhetoric puked out by the Pentagon and the Bush administration. Propaganda isn't good when you see it in Iraq. It's even worse when you see it in America. Isn't this the kind of crap we're supposed to be "liberating" the Iraqi people from?
I never heard what won Best Documentary Short Feature, because I was too busy cheering for Michael Moore.
After Moore's impassioned speech, the MPAA's Jack Valenti made in appearance, just to prove to us that not all dinosaurs have gone extinct.
The award for Best Cinematography was given for Conrad Hall's work on Road to Perdition. When I wrote my review of the film last July I said, "it is quite extraordinary that the star of Road to Perdition turns out to be its cinematographer. Conrad L. Hall is a genius. He can remind us, with something as simple as a long shot of a car driving down an old country road, that film can hold its own against any artistic medium." Little did I know that Perdition would be Hall's final film. He died in January. His beautiful artistry will be forever missed in the film world. Hall was a star, and his genius will continue to light up movie screens for years to come. To give this award to anyone else would have been a crime.
U2 performed now. Yay. Every song they've ever sung seems to sound the same. Bono ... pick up the pace.
Geena Davis walked out with a huge set of hooters that I swear she's never had before. She must be pregnant. Pregnant is the new black in Hollywood. Davis gives the award for Best Film Editing to Chicago, which, once again, was the right choice. Gawd I wish they'd make a sequel to Lactation Nation. Maybe a celebrity sequel with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Geena Davis. I wonder if Geena Davis would take this as an insult, if she's not knocked up. Oh, and the editing guy kept talking about towns going "boom." I think he meant cuz they were so excited over his win, but for a moment I started thinking we were back into war coverage.
YIPPEE! I can finally disagree with the Academy!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really, REALLY disagree. Now, the only problem is that I'm happy that I finally have something to disagree with, making it hard for me to disagree in a bitchy way. Anyway, Adrien Brody took home the Best Actor award for his role in The Pianist (pronounced more like "Penis" not "Pee-an-est," as the ads for the film would have us believe). Every other actor nominated deserved this award more than he did. He didn't do badly, but his performance didn't compare with Jack Nicholson's in About Schmidt, Nicolas Cage's duo role in Adaptation, or Daniel Day-Lewis's absolutely mind-blowing turn as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York. On second thought, Brody probably did do better than Michael Caine in The Quiet American. I wasn't at all impressed with Caine's performance, even though I know I'm in the minority with that opinion. Anyway, maybe if one of the other actors would have won, they would have shut up sooner. Although his speech was long, he spoke out eloquently against the war, and definitely seemed genuine. The young actor asked for a "quick and peaceful resolution" to the conflict in the middle east. I ask that we get better actors winning the best actor award. After Denzel won last year for his just-above-average role in Training Day, and Brody this year, I'm starting to wonder if the Academy has simply fucking lost it in this department.
The anti-war sentiment continued when Barbara Streisand came out to present the award for Best Song. Streisand said that she's glad to live in a country where everyone - including artists - can sing and say what they believe. Then, in a moment of irony, she presented the best song award to Eminem, who wasn't there to sing or say anything. Without a doubt, Eminem's is the best song nominated, but I'm still sort of pissed that I went and bought the 8 Mile DVD for the "uncensored" version of the Superman video, only to find the video is censored in numerous places. I think Em's gone too mainstream to ever look back. He's "this close" to turning into the next Will Smith.
Denzel Washington stomped onto the stage to give out the award for Best Actress. This was by far the hardest category to call. Salma Hayek did excellent in Frida. Diane Lane breathed life into the stupid thriller, Unfaithful. Julianne Moore was touching as a housewife caught between the soap-opera-ish world of the 1950s, and the reality hidden beneath it, in Far From Heaven. Renée Zellweger managed to be both cute as a button and manipulative as a bitch in Chicago. Nicole Kidman was the only actress nominated in this category this year that put a lump in my throat with her performance in The Hours. Nicole Kidman won "by a nose," according to Denzel. A lot of people are saying that Kidman's performance was nothing more than the nose stuck on her face. I think she brought a very moving character to life, and it took a lot more than a nose to do it. Nicole asked herself a rhetorical question during her acceptance speech. She wondered why she would show up to pick up an award during a time of crisis. She answered by saying that she thinks art is important. I agree. Without art, I honestly believe that humanity would implode. Still, I missed most of her speech because I was thinking about how Tom Cruise must be kicking himself over dumping this lovely, articulate and talented lady.
I noticed that Marcia Gay Hardon (misspelling of last name intentional, because I can be very immature) grew a big ass since the last time I saw her. I commented on this to the girl I wish was my girlfriend. She seemed disgusted over my observation. Maybe her and my dog should just go get a room. Hardon gave the Best Adapted Screenplay award to The Pianist. This was just wrong. The award belonged to Adaptation. Actually, the award belonged to About Schmidt, but that wasn't even nominated. I think the Academy was sniffing too much glue when they nominated imitative, carbon-copy SHIT like My Big Fat Greek Wedding for "original" screenplay, and couldn't even give one of the most unique films of the year a nomination for best adapted screenplay. Anything for ratings, right? (Why else would Lord of the Rings films keep being nominated for Best Picture?)
Best Original Screenplay was given to Talk to Her. I knew the Academy would give this award to this movie. I wonder if it's the animal abuse or rape as a heroic act that turned the Academy's crank. Of all the films nominated, I desperately wanted Y tu mamá también to win. This film needs to be seen by more people; it's one of the most touching movies released over the past two years. I was pleased that Pedro Almodóvar spoke out against the war, and in favor of peace. I don't think he's such a bad guy. I just think he made a film with a bad message. And he's definitely got something against bulls.
Rapist Polanski received the award for Best Director for his work on The Pianist. Now I know it was the rape thing, not the animal abuse that got the Academy to give Talk to Her the Best Original Screenplay trophy. Suddenly, this whole rape theme started going on at the 75th Annual Academy Awards. The girl Polanski raped asked us all to forgive the director, so I guess I can do that. Roman, you're forgiven for drugging a 13-year-old and fucking her up the butt. I won't forgive you for boring the hell out of me with your idiotic movie about a Pianist. Scorsese was robbed.
Then, as was predicted by nearly everyone, Chicago took home the award for Best Picture. Although Chicago is the best film of all that were nominated in this category, I have to call a spade a spade and comment on how bizarre it is that a film that didn't win for its screenplay or its director took home the trophy for best picture. It was a happy, but oddly inconsistent, ending to a relatively short night with Oscar.
I see that this Academy update has blown itself up into 4,025 words. By far my longest to date. Maybe I just got excited over the fact that I actually enjoyed the Academy Awards for the first time in four years. It was a good show, almost from start to finish. I am wondering why Gangs of New York got screwed out of every nomination, when it was the second most nominated film (10 nominations in all), and the second best film nominated for Best Picture. Steve Martin should win an Emmy for his job as host. I'd like to give a shout out (hehe) to Colin Farrell for wearing a peace pin. Make sure to check out his next film, Phone Booth (my review for the film is already written, and will be online soon). It's a fun little thriller worth waiting for. I'd also like to thank Susan Sarandon for giving the peace sign. Now I'm realizing that I'm doing an acceptance speech sort of thing. Ick. I'll stop now. Have a nice week. "Bring the boys back home." Peace.
Written by: Alex Sandell
Title Graphic by: Matt Sandell and Alex Sandell, based on a concept by Alex Sandell
More Oscar updates:
The 74th Annual Academy Awards: Oscar Takes Over the World
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
©2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, I'll have my dog come lick your tits!
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