Why the 71st Annual Academy Awards Were Longer Than World War II, Itself
Written by: Alex Sandell

Since I wrote my first review of the Academy Awards, 24 months ago, many of my predictions and opinions have went on to become fact and common-knowledge.  Cuba Gooding Jr. is now an obnoxious spokesman for a caffeine-filled "soft-drink" ("Pepsi One" rather than, "Surge"), foreign people keep talking funny, and tap-dancing totally sucks.   After numerous test-runs, I have found, once and for all, that you absolutely cannot get a fluorescent blue drink out of your carpet, "The English Patient" ended up having no staying power, and "Titanic" is still a movie about a big boat.

And, along with the obvious, comes the inevitable.  Hollywood is still validating its gluttonous existence by groping at different causes, and still showing its infatuations with "trends" by dropping yesterday's AIDS ribbons for a patriotic salute in honor of our World War II veterans.  It's also busy salvaging "the good old days" with period pieces.  This time, the more "Elizabethan", the better.   

The red-carpet is unrolled and diamonds are aglitter:  ladies and gentlemen . . . welcome to the last Academy Awards to take place in the 20th Century. 

The night began with Whoopi in white-face, playing Queen Elizabeth.  It wasn't very funny, but it did kind of scare me.  I haven't been able to shake the image, since.  Where's Billy Crystal, when you need him?  Oh yeah, he's in his first hit in like 20 years, "Analyze This".  Way to go, Bill, use your audience of billions to promote bombs like "My Giant", but dump us like yesterday's tampon when you're on a high-note.  Speaking of "My Giant", is that tall guy dead yet?

James Coburn won the first award of the evening, which was for best supporting actor.  His speech was terribly boring.  I just kept hoping he'd start doing one-armed push-ups, or something.  Where's that Jack Palance dude when you need him?  Busy doing "Arby's" commercials, I suppose.   Stupid "Arby's".  They're taking all of our interesting has-beens away.

Next came the award for best art direction - set direction.  I kept thinking how funny it would be if the Academy presented it to last year's 70th Annual Academy Awards.  Self-congratulation is all in the name of Hollywood, right?  Instead, it went to Martin Childs and Jill Queerbait (I may have gotten that name wrong) for the really shitty, "Shakespeare In Love".

Best makeup was given to Tammy Faye Baker for her performance in "An Evangelist's Wife:  The Hypocrisy".  She got onstage and cried, smudging up her "just from the Christian whorehouse" look.   She seemed confused when she was handed some naked gold guy, instead of a crucifix in drag.  A shame.   

Best Short Film, Live Action went to a short film. 

Best Short Film, Animated Films went to this drawing of a naked woman I made back in 10th grade.  She was naked.  I drew her.

Judi Dench won the coveted best supporting actress award for her 8 minute cameo in "Shakespeare In Love", giving hope to people like Jack Palance and Cuba Gooding Jr. for their equally long roles in television commercials.

Gary Rydstrom and some other guy won a best sound effects editing award for the first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan".   There were bombs, airplanes, and other stuff no Amish person has ever heard.

After this, Liv Tyler went onstage, obviously confused after just finding out she had over 3,000 half-brothers and sisters, and introduced her dad's band, Aerosmith, who sang a song and pretended they were the Rolling Stones.

Best Sound went to some guy "sitting by" Spielberg who managed to fart so loud Celine Dion shook.  (Hey, it's the last time I can make a really juvenile joke, in regards to the Academy, in the 20th Century.  Sue me.)

I should take a moment to mention that throughout the evening, Whoopi Goldberg, who was obviously high on life, or just really, really stoned, kept dressing up weird, and laughing at her own jokes. 

Of course best foreign language film went to "Life Is Beautiful", which was sort of obvious, being that it was the only foreign film nominated for best picture, indicating that it was better than the other foreign films.  I mean, how could you say "Life Is Beautiful" is one of the five best pictures of the year, and then say "Central Station" was the best foreign flick?  Those folks from far away may talk funny, but they're not naive.  Sophia Loren presented the award to Roberto Beningni, who was very excited, anyway, and was obviously attracted to Sophia, who was wearing one of those pointy 1950's style bras that'll poke your eyes out if you look at them wrong (which most men have been known to do).  His words and mannerisms were charming, but somehow I think the "cuteness" factor on Roberto will fade away like a Cabbage Patch Kid, an Italian one, in glasses.  

Best music, original musical or comedy score went to the guy that did the boring soundtrack to the boring movie, "Shakespeare In Love".  Paint could dry more entertainingly than this composition, although it probably wouldn't have shown Gwyneth Paltrow naked, giving paint the advantage.

Best music, original dramatic score went to Nicola Piovani for "Life Is Beautiful".  He didn't speak much English, and unlike Roberto, who just throws out a bunch of words, hoping they'll somehow make sense, he thanked a few people and left the stage. 

After this, some lesbian who's dating Ellen came out (a thing she's used to doing) to inform the audience about the people who won the scientific and technical awards.  She couldn't get the microphone to work.  So much for technology.  At least her lesbianism saved her from total embarrassment.

Jim Carrey, earlier predicted to take home the gold for his performance in "The Truman Show", but only now learning that 20-million a film isn't that bad a salary, no matter how many awards you don't win, presented the award for best editing.  It went to the guy who did "Saving Private Ryan".   It was for the work he did in the first twenty-minutes.  This reminds me, once again, how much I wish the Academy would hire an editor, and cut this show down by two or three hours.  HOW MANY SHITTY POP SONGS DO WE NEED TO HEAR, ANYWAY?

Irving Thalberg Lifetime Acheivement award went to Norman Jewison, who, I'm guessing, is a Jew's son, or so says the name.  He seemed pretty funny, cuz he danced.  Dancing guys are funny, if they're not tapping.

That "'Star Wars' Guy" (sorry, Liam, that's all you'll be known as, from now on) presented best visual effects to "What Dreams May Come".  I think "Wet Dreams May Come" is a better name.   That joke had me laughing for about 17 minutes.  Then I stopped laughing and realized I was kind of a nerd.  That sucked.  "Mighty Joe Young" shoulda won, anyway . . . JOE RULES! 

After this Val Kilmer and an overly active horse presented some presentation on old Westerns and how much they suck.  It sucked. 

Roberto Beningni took home the best actor award, which was the first real shock of the night (and the first shock the Academy has given us since Marisa's supporting actress win back in the early nineties), and a well-deserved one, at that.  I loved "Life Is Beautiful", and hope Roberto stays in style long enough to give us another classic "dramedy" of its caliber.  I give him my blessings and feel like I should start eating more pasta.  God Bless Italy!

Randy Newman's "That'll Do" from the exceptional film, "Babe:  Pig in the City" was sung by some bald dude who used to be famous.   He used to have hair, too, if I remember correctly.

Best short subject documentary was given out by two celebrities who are famous.  So was the best documentary.   One was long, one was short.  Penis jokes were implied.  Ho-hum.

And then the Elia Kazan honorary lifetime achievement award oscar was handed out by two traitors to artistry and integrity, Robert "Fuckhead" Deniro and Martin "Shithead" Scorsese.  I have never felt so strongly opposed to any Academy award, not even the best picture one won by "The English Patient".  I sincerely feel the award should not have been given to Kazan and that anyone who stood and applauded in his honor is a traitor to all that America (and the rest of the civilized-world) stands for.  You have to realize, this well-paid prick, who had so much money, at the time, that he could simply retire, ratted out a bunch of liberal filmmakers, causing them to be put on the "almighty" blacklist, all in the name of propelling his career.  This, in turn, basically stopped the people Kazan ratted on from working in the entertainment industry.   Many on the list, feeling as if there was no hope left, killed themselves.   All the while, fuckhead Kazan kept making movies, winning two Academy Awards in the process.  Why does he even need a third?  Maybe he made some good films, I'll give him that, but think what he deprived us of.  What great artists did he banish from Hollywood?  What classic films were never made because of his behavior?  Realize, this man has REFUSED to repent, has NOT apologized, and feels, according to him, that he has done NOTHING wrong.  He thinks he was right, in turning in them crazy "commies" during the moronic Red Scare.   Fuck you, Elia.  And fuck you to all of you airhead, Hollywood bastards who stood up and cheered for him.   Fuck you, Kathy Bates, you used to be a hero and rebel to me, now you just come off as a lard-ass.  Fuck you, Warren Beatty, I don't even want to bother looking up how to spell your arrogant name.  How can any of you claim to be defenders of artistic freedom and cheer for a man who prevented it, year after year?   Fuck you Deniro and Scorsese, would you guys also introduce Hitler and brag about how great his artistic work was?  I want to thank Ed Harris, Nick Nolte and Steven Spielberg for refusing to stand and refusing to clap for Kazan.  I would also like to thank anyone else that I may have missed during the 30 seconds I was allowed to see the audience, thanks for the silent protest.  Thanks to Chris Rock for, earlier in the evening, accusing Kazan of being a "rat".  I'd also like to thank my family and God. 

Stoned Whoopi, finally gave best costume design out to Sandy Powell for a job well done (but not as well as the job done in "Elizabeth", if you ask me) in the tedious, "Shakespeare In Love". 

As a sidenote, I would like to point out that I have heard it said many times how "great" it is that an "african-american female" is hosting the last Academy Award ceremony of this century.  They say it shows how "far" we humans have come.  I would like to point out that, if we have really came so damn far, we wouldn't have to point it out in the first place.

Celine Dion was expected to duet with Andrea Bocelli in "The Prayer", a song from, "Quest for Camelot", but, as previously mentioned, she was blown off the stage by a fart in the Spielberg camp. 

Jennifer Lopez, the hottest looking thing to hit the stage all evening, presented best song to "Prince of Egypt" and "When You Believe".  The song sucks, I can only hope Jennifer does, also.

Whoopi goes on to mention Gene Siskel.  She gives him a final thumbs-up.  A tear left my eye.  I tried to retrieve it, but there were no returns.  I miss you, Gene.

Later on, at some point, or another, more dead folk were honored.   Kubrick had his own section which was hosted by the emotionless Spielberg.   Stanley Kubrick was an obsessive filmmaker, and his films showed how hard he worked.  What a show, he put on for us.   Thanks, Stan.

Best cinematography went to Janusz Kaminski for the first twenty-minutes of "Saving Private Ryan".  It was great, but it was only 20-minutes.  This was the almighty injustice of the night.  John Toll should have won for, "The Thin Red Line".  Any objective eye could see he did a better job.  Sorry, Janusz. 

Gwyneth Paltrow won best actress for "Shakespeare In Love".  Sure, she cried a lot, and named a bunch of dead family members, but why didn't the superior Cate Blanchett win this title?  She deserved it, as Gwyneth has stated both at the Golden Globes, and now at the Oscars.   I guess Hollywood just likes flat-chested hot chicks speaking with fake English accents.  Stupid Hollywood.

Best screenplay adaption went to that "Gods and Monsters" guy.  I can't say much, since I haven't seen the movie.  It looks good.  Congratulations, guy that ripped off a book and wrote, "Gods and Monsters"!

Best original screenplay went to Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard for "Shakespeare In Love".  I really don't know why, since "Life Is Beautiful" really, really, really deserved it.  Plus, another shot of Roberto, during this four-hour hell, would have been grately appreciated!

Then, of course, Steven Spielberg took the honors for directing the first 20-minutes of "Saving Private Ryan".  I really do believe there was another 100 minutes of film, but that may be. . .

the same 100 minutes that caused it to lose the best picture award to "Shakespeare In Love".  For some reason, I felt really good Spielberg's film lost.  Maybe it's because I met him once, and he asked me to call him, if I "really" wanted a job, and then, when I called numerous times, he never got back to me.  Then again, maybe it's just because "Saving Private Ryan" never lived up to what it could have been.  What is that?  The first 20-minutes, of course.

So it's the end of the century, and the Academy breaks another record for length.  Longer than ever, and featuring even more tap-dancing, I was bored off my ass.  Yet, something seemed "right" at the end.  For, if memory serves, what is only the second time in its 71-year history, the Academy awarded "Best Picture" to a film which didn't receive "Best Director".   Amazing.  Everyone nomitated had their share of awards (with exception to my favorite, "Thin Red Line").  You did good, Academy, although you still sucked.  Better luck in the year 2,000.  Peace.

Email Alex at: alex@juicycerebellum.com

1999 Alex Sandell. If you copy this, without permission, I'll shove pee in your mouth and then force you to swallow.

Read my commentary on last year's awards by clicking on "Why the 70th Annual Academy Awards Sucked."

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