Monday, March 8, 2010

DON'T SAY A PRAYER FOR ME NOW, SAVE IT FOR THE MORNING AFTER



I gotta confess, I wasn't watching too close last night. One of the reason I like watching the Oscars with the fine folks of Piper McKenzie productions is that nobody—including me—in the room has seen all the movies, no one takes anything too seriously, and we end up drunk and heckling by about the end of the first hour. Eventually, the announcement of another award is almost an annoyance, because someone's in the middle of some good story, and some dork (not always me, believe it or not) ends up having to be like, “Sssshhhh, they're giving out Best Editing!”

So, you may have noticed I did not live-blog last night. This was partly because my laptop has had enough problems of late that I didn't think an 11:35 attempt to feed it whiskey via USB port would have been a great idea. Partly because you can't have a drink in one hand, a girl's hand in one hand, and type with your third hand. Also because no human being has ever live-blogged anything ever and enjoyed it. If no one's paying you to do it, it's pretty much pointless.

This was a weird Oscars. My picks were—predictably—largely horseshit. Just about every major category where there was any doubt whatsoever, I got wrong. Oh, well. I did predict the last ten or so minutes of this past year's NFC championship in almost eerie detail (I think the only thing I got wrong was who Brett Favre threw the interception to), so I got that going for me. But yeah, I did not see The Hurt Locker kicking as much ass as it did; like most people I looked at those Avatar box-office figures and assumed it was Titanic redux. But no.

I was able to catch a bit here and there. A list of highlights:

---Jake Gyllenhaal looked higher than elephant ass. Nailed it!

---Neil Patrick Harris' opening number: Man, NPH was serious when he came out of the closet. This was fucking glorious. One of my friends was heard to utter “I want him to be my new gay boyfriend.” (No, it wasn't me, it was a girl). I didn't catch a ton of the lyrics, because the guys were all loudly talking about Doogie Howser and Harold & Kumar while the women were all ooh-ing and ahh-ing over his spangly tux and saying “Fuck yeah he was great in Harold & Kumar!” Great way to kick off the evening.

---Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin held it down fairly well. They were a bit industry insider-y, but that's not a flaw, that's them being mensch enough to admit that the Oscars are nothing more than an industry circle jerk (and ironically, since everyone in Hollywood fucking hates being there, the more jokes that play to the crowd in the theater, the less torturous it is for them, so Steve and Alec were actually being generous).

---Christoph Waltz's acceptance speech was pretty awesome. I love listening to smart people for whom English is a second or third language, because a lot of how they learned English was by reading really good books and poetry, and they don't realize that native speakers are fuckheads like me who dangle participles, split infinitives, and construct massive run-on sentences that you have to read five times to understand. Amazing that this guy moved back to Vienna because he hadn't broken as an actor yet, and Quentin basically pulled him out of retirement. Willkommen nach Amerika, Herr Waltz; kann Ihre Karriere lang und fruchtbar sein.

---The John Hughes thing was weird. I have massive issues with his movies, but there's no denying he was beloved to all he knew and worked with. Still, because the montage left me unmoved, I was left to contemplate how hideous Molly Ringwald's dress was (though it would have been the bomb in 87, maybe that was the idea), whether the statutes on justifiable homicide cover whoever gave Judd Nelson that nosejob, and that I will probably never hear a funnier phrase ever than, courtesy of an actress I met several years ago, “Macauley Culkin always had the best coke.”

---Everyone making fun of me for being pissed that they didn't show the green chick in the clips for Star Trek's best makeup nomination. We all know why Star Trek won. Goddamn puritans and their goddamn censorship . . . green boobies never hurt anyone . . .

---Hurt Locker wins Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I start loudly talking about how awesome the sound was in The Hurt Locker, ironically creating a problem in the sound mix, to wit, no one else being able to hear the TV.

---This.

---Best Animated Short Logorama looks fucking awesome.

---I don't remember when in the program it was, but that interpretive dance for best Score was fantastic. I've never seen people breakdance without a beat before (those dudes who dance to the music inside their heads don't count, they're on enough acid, they're hearing music, okay) and as a a traveler in the experimental/avant-garde art world, it warms my heart to see a performance piece not only have nothing to do with the music, but nothing to do with the movie the music was from. Somewhere Richard Foreman was smiling: “Wow, this is awesome, it doesn't fucking mean anything!”

---Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin's Paranormal Activity spoof was so funny I think I sprained a kidney. I will still be laughing about Steve Martin punching Alec Baldwin in the dick when I'm a 150 yr old cybernetically-assisted senior citizen on Mars.

---Jeff Lewonczyk wins one internet for calling Karl Malden as the last in the Dead People Montage.

---Whoever had Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almondovar present Best Foreign Film, and then had fucking Quentin read the name of the fucking Spanish-language movie either needs to be kicked in the balls or given IRL Troll of the Year award, I still can't decide which. Or maybe the IRL Troll of the Year award is being kicked in the balls.

---Missed Precious winning Best Adapted Screenplay (bathroom). I really want to see Precious. Lee Daniels is a terrific interview, really interesting guy. I've got to see Mo'Nique, especially now that she took home a statue. Gabby Sidibe seems like a really adorable kid; I saw her on Craig Ferguson one night and she was so nervous I wanted to hug her. I certainly sold enough copies of Push back in my bookstore days (speaking of nervous black girls, the one who asked me what section we kept the “good books” while looking for something by Sapphire won a special place in my heart).

---Jeff Bridges' standing ovation kinda sat weird with me. I really like him as an actor (when he has a good script and a good director), I think it's cool that he has an Oscar now, but that ovation felt more like, “We gave you this because you grew up in The Industry, we like you, you're One Of Us, now here's a token of our recognition.” Goddamnit I wish I wasn't this cynical sometimes, life would be more fun.

---Sandra Bullock managed to pull off the Julia Roberts “we really liked you until you got that Oscar in your hand and opened your mouth” instant career transformation with that obnoxious allusion to her campaign. Of course, we're not even going to mention that her Magic Caucasian character in the movie was total horseshit and that Michael Oher got a lot more help and support from middle-class black families, because that would alienate Middle America, and Middle America thinks that Hollywood is too elitist, too far to the Left, too gay, too fond of that weird Hawaiian Muslim president Obama bin Laden. All right, flyover country, here's an Oscar for your unctuous Jesustard MILFy housewives who wear too much makeup, now shut the fuck up.

Fortunately, when Kathryn won, everything was okay again. I was rooting for her for a variety of reasons, and I'll admit one of them was because I wanted to see a woman win Best Director, but I didn't want it for the kneejerk PC “oh it's a great moment for women” thing. It's entirely selfish. I'll explain. Of the plays and screenplays I've written and had produced, all but one has been directed by a woman. Women get my writing, and are able to suggest cuts and revisions that make me look like less of an asshole, which careful readers of this blog will note is something the author can use. So here's my logic: Kathryn wins Best Director (and looks so hot doing so—wait, sorry, I'll stop until I make my point), more women get the chance to direct, more women directors, better writing career for Bowes. Thus, as women directors go, so go I.

---Holy shit, Tom Hanks didn't even let Kathryn get off stage before announcing The Hurt Locker as Best Picture. Kathryn almost sprained an ankle turning around to head back out. The bomb squad actors looked so happy. They were all like, “holy fuck, we beat Avatar.” An interesting one-two to end a lackluster Oscars.

I'm kinda relieved this whole shit is over until next year. Now I can get back to important matters, like 10,000 word essays on the tradition of the angry black lieutenant in cop movies. For going away for about the next 8 months, I'd like to thank the Academy.