Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oscars #79

I don't care what any reviewers say, I liked the 2007 Academy Awards. I must admit that I had not seen so many of the movies as I have in other years, but I still wanted to watch the show and root for some of my favorites. First of all, Ellen DeGeneres did a decent, if not excellent, job. She bantered nicely with the audience, and did her standard self-deprecating shtick. Not fall on the floor funny, but good enough to make you smile a few times.

I was most pleasantly surprised by the interpretive dancers. Usually anything being called interpretive dance is painful in the extreme, but this was actually quite clever and impressive. Behind a shadow screen several dancers would jump onto the strange and quickly form themselves into shapes representing the movies. A van with people inside for Little Miss Sunshine, a trio of penguins for Happy Feet, and so on.

The musical number with Will Farrel and Jack Black was really very funny. They sang (badly) about how they will never win Oscars because they are comedians. Then John C. Riley (I think it was him) jumped out of the audience to sing about how he had made the leap from comedies to serious roles. It was, I think, a statement about Eddie Murphy's nomination (and loss). I still believe they should create separate categories for comedies/musicals and dramas. You just can't compare the power of a performance in, say, Schindler's List with one in a comedy. That doesn't mean that there aren't some great comedic performances out there.

Another very interesting segment was the sound effects choir. This was a group of about 40 people who created a soundtrack for a movie montage. If they were really providing all the sounds, then they were truly awesome. Many people are doubting the authenticity of this piece, but I can't imagine it being included if it was fake. The sounds they created for airplanes, trains, water, and several other images were amazingly convincing.

Oh yeah, I guess there were movie stars winning awards too. They were okay I guess. No one was really very moving or breath-taking though. Al Gore was probably the best "actor" there with his acceptance of the Best Documentary award. People delighted by his humor, and everyone wondered all over again where this warm and charming person was during the unfortunate presidential race. If only he'd run (sigh).

On the whole, I have more complaints about the slate of movies than I do about the awards show. At least the Oscars was relatively fresh and amusing this year. If only I could say the same thing about the film industry. Better luck next year I suppose.

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