I have to confess that I had zero interest in watching it this year other than the token big wig stuff. Then I saw the opening sequence where several movie characters from various flicks are overlayed to form one sweet looking intro. I thought it was clever and worth a look after all.
After a few gags from previous hosts (with Dave Letterman always being my favorite cameo), Jon Stewart began things with an awkward dream sequence and lept right into his hosting gig. Since I'm already a fan of The Daily Show, his humor settled in just right and I found myself laughing out loud. There were the usual ribs that most celebrities seemed cool with as well as the usual 2-3 that were too edgy for the actors who are too serious for their own good.
What really got me rolling, though, were the short video pieces. The one made up of political ads in the "best actress" category was priceless, not to mention the parody of cowboy movies in a rather clever montage. I liked the collection of epic movies, followed by a quick Jon Stewart who stated, "I can't wait until later to see Oscar's salute to montages."
Speaking of which, there were some rather tasteful pieces, too. The performance piece for the song "In the Deep" from the movie Crash had all sorts of spiritual overtones from the fire in flames in back to the people lost in smoke and in need of rescue. And I don't know if it's morbid, but I actually like the "In Memoriam" salute to people who have died this year. From the first round of applause going to Noriuki "Pat" Morita (whom I have a story I'll share about someday) to Richard Pryor's tip of the hat, the silence that followed faded into the commercials with class. (Did I miss a salute to Don Knotts somewhere in there? Hmm...)
On that note, the commercials were amazing, too! Better than the Super Bowl - who knew? M. Night Shyamalan's 2-minute American Express ad was crazy delicious, full of all kinds of intrigue and drama. The Arby's ads were rather wild, too, especially the one where Joan Rivers' voice is dubbed over a very old looking lady (meant to symbolize Joan without plastic surgery) standing outside a big event like the Oscars. My guess is next year we'll see these ads become what the old Super Bowl ones used to be like.
A few more quick highlights:
- The "spontaneous" bantering between Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep over Robert Altman was beyond amazing.
- All the hype over Brokeback Mountain and TransAmerica turned out to be just that - hype.
- The "sincere babbling award" (someone who is really caught up in the moment for all the right reasons) goes to Reese Witherspoon. Still gotta see that Walk The Line flick.
- The Three 6 Mafia acceptance speech was pimp (pun intended). Stewart's follow up line added the icing - "For those of you keeping score at home, Martin Scorsese... zero oscars. Three-6 Mafia... 1."
- Some of these "behind the scenes" moments.
Perhaps the best line, though, came from the guy who won the foreign film award. I have to admit that I don't usually care about these movies because they're, well... "foreign." Yes, I know I sound like a stereotypical American for saying so, which is why I'm being honest. Yet this past year my heart grew a bit larger for the world, so pardon me for saying so but here's the line that topped it all...
"We may have foreign language films, but our stories are the same as your stories.
Hmm... turns out this is true not only of the Oscars but of life in general.
Anyway... that's one of the many things I did tonight while also writing two chapters, making a 3-D dragon cake for my son, helping do a few other things for his birthday tomorrow, and enjoying some cheese curds here and there.