New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst have been discussing the Oscar race since the nominations were announced. Today, their final thoughts.
To: Lynda Obst
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 1:38 PM
From: David Edelstein
Re: Last Year’s News
New York threw a wee Oscar party of its own last night at the fab Spotted Pig, so my attention wasn’t 100 percent on the Academy Awards. At our party we had some Jersey Boys, Michael Stipe, Liev Schreiber (who’s name I ALWAYS have to retype because my word-processing program “corrects” it to “Live”), Chuck Schumer, Loren Dean (I got to tell him how much I liked Mumford, even if I called it Moosewood), Elias Koteas (who is very good in Zodiac) … assorted journalists, anchorpersons, politicians, those lovely gals from Gawker. Not the Vanity Fair Morton’s party but quite respectable for New York in a snowstorm. There were cheers when Alan Arkin won: Too many people loathe Eddie Murphy for the way he has treated actors, directors — basically everyone.
There were entertaining bits all the way through, but the show never caught fire. It all seemed predestined, as if it had already happened, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. That’s the problem with muzzling presenters and making the trains run on time. (I was reminded why I stopped watching Saturday Night Live — because it felt like the least live show on TV, its cast having been terrified into submission regarding improvisation.)
I did manage to type a few notes in the course of the evening — but nothing about the Mann montage, I’m afraid. Was it meant as an essay in disjunction?
The little “fun facts” that accompanied the red-carpet interviews (“Penélope is interested in becoming a photographer” “Penélope is fluent in English”) were too retarded for words.
I loved Ellen for a while. (“Peter O’Toole, eighth nomination. You know what they say: Third time’s the charm!”) Then the gee-whiz-I-can’t-believe-I’m-hosting-the-Oscars act got tired and I wanted her to, uh, host the Oscars. It was cute, though, when she had Spielberg snap her picture with Eastwood. (I did feel bad for Mark Wahlberg, who had just lost and had to be on camera as Ellen did her shtick with Scorsese.)
Nicole Kidman looked way too skinny — mannequin-skinny. I bring this up as a matter of public health.
Jaden and Abigail were to die for, and it was nice to see a pair of presenters who weren’t drunk.
The Danish Poet and West Bank Story won … I pumped my fists and loudly congratulated myself for having called both awards. No one around me quite appreciated the feat.
You’re right about William Monahan’s speech. He was hugely likable — and it was good of him to cite Infernal Affairs by name. (I’m told that one of the DVD extras is a piece on the Boston gang that inspired the one in The Departed. Um, wasn’t it a Hong Kong gang? Or are they talking about the movie’s completely incongruous Jack Nicholson–as–Whitey Bulger twist?)
Emily Blunt, sigh …
Five Elizabeth II–Helen Mirren look-alikes modeling costumes from The Queen. So eerie. I scribbled: “Wouldn’t it be cool if one of them were real? Like, Queen Elizabeth could have snuck into the Oscars as one of the models — and no one would know!” (At that point, I think I had switched from wine to whiskey.)
After, like, years of horrific dresses, Gwyneth showed up in one that looked smashing.
Oh, man, is Al Gore a class act. Simple, elegant, heartfelt, having fun with people’s expectations but not to the point of self-parody. Let the wingnuts scream all they want that global warming is a hoax: They’ll just make themselves look like even bigger assholes.
Children of Men lost the cinematography award … for me, the only real surprise of the night. But seeing the colors of Pan’s Labyrinth — a blend of Goya and forties Disney — brought back how gorgeous it was.
Clint screwed up his Morricone intro and said he should have worn his glasses. When did he get so old? When did I?
Marty got his Oscar. Surprise. Now the man who gave us Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull can finally look in the mirror and call himself a winner. How fucked up is that?
Yes, you are right, regarding Dame Helen: The rehabilitation of Buckingham Palace is complete. Who’d a thunk, watching My Beautiful Launderette, that Stephen Frears would turn into a royalist? And who’d a thunk I’d approve?
Forest Whitaker: a poetic soul.
As Marty and The Departed people gave their final thanks, I wanted the Little Miss Sunshine cast to rush the stage and do a little striptease. But it wasn’t that kind of night.
Time to begin the handicapping for Oscars 2008 …