Monday, February 25, 2008

Another losing night

Not for the Coen brothers (pictured), but for me: I went 14-24 last night, equalling my record-poor showing of last year. And my point total only started climbing in the third hour. I need another easy, one-movie-takes-all year; my two wins were for the Titanic and Return of the King ceremonies.

Not a bad show, but not the killer evening of post-writer's strike TV everyone seemed to be counting on. Host Jon Stewart should be retained, if not for his material (middling funny) but his graciousness in allowing Once co-winner Marketa Irglova precious airtime to speak. Classy. If their song hadn't won I would've hurled my show through my friend's TV; the Enchanted numbers are cute in the film, where they are delivered a little satirically, but numbing served up straight onstage, even with Amy Adams and Kristin Chenoweth wrapping their pipes around them. The sounds of bathroom doors swinging open and bladders being emptied as they came on could be heard all across the land. Rule change: One nomination per songwriting team, please.

Otherwise, The Golden Compass whomping Transformers for visual effects was a nice surprise--the better picture won, though the latter is (for now) the highwater mark of merging reel and real. I guess the voters just hate the "awesome" Michael Bay.

The foreign-born actors' quartet (the first since 1964; give us your poor huddled performers, yearning to breathe free) are an acceptable lot, though Amy Ryan easily outdoes Tilda Swinton in Gone Baby Gone (best performance in any category this year, drinking even Day-Lewis' milkshake if anyone recalls that past-due catchphrase) and Marion Cotillard does far more for the overrated La Vie en Rose than the picture does for her. Oscar notwithstanding, I'd love to reedit that picture coherently, allowing the performance to build step-by-step. In that regard Juno is a far superior vehicle for its star turn, my favorite in that category.

[I got rapped for saying it was "back to obscurity" for Cotillard after the obligatory Hollywood assignment or two. She's lovely and talented, etc., but it's hard to see her building much of an international career if she chooses to. Maybe "back to the arthouse," a nicer way of saying the same thing, might have been the more gentlemanly comment.]

One thing it was great to see: Three actors winning for original, ground-up work, not a bunch of biopic recreation jobs.

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