Oscar post mortem

1. Although it did deplete from my woeful prediction score , I’m glad Martin Scorsese was vindicated by the Academy , winning four Oscars including Best Picture and Director, unlike Robert Altman who had to content himself with the Lifetime Achievment award and a posthumous round of applause. Nonetheless, the most poignant moment in the show for me was  Scorsese looking on from the wings as producer Graham King accepted the Best Picture award for the passable "The Departed." The great director had an “is that all there is?” expression on his face, or maybe his thought was, why couldn’t they have given this to me thirty years ago when I made really good movies? (Naturally, he claims otherwise).

2. So what organization was the first to recognize “The Departed” with its awards? Way back on December 10, 2006 The Boston Society of Film Critics  gave Best Film, Director and Screenplay to “The Departed.” Just like the Oscars! Who says critics are irrelevant? Who says we suffer from delusions of significance?

3. The BSFC also presented its Best Supporting Actor Award to Mark Wahlberg in “The Departed,” something the Academy failed to do. I think they missed a great opportunity. Gratifying though it was to defeat Eddie Murphy (who was definitely not happy about losing), the nominee that we all love to hate, but why give it to a performance (admittedly the best part of the film) from “Little Miss Sunshine,” which, next to “Babel,” is the most overrated film of the year? Why not to Wahlberg, whose street punk to movie star story has it all over the canned melodrama of Jennifer (Here come the tears! Here comes God’s blessing!) Hudson? And for that matter, why did a film whose greatest strength is the acting get only one nomination and no wins?

4. Speaking of “Babel,” I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, its loss means that yet again my score for predictions is a mediocre four for six. On the other hand, its loss means that the most pretentious piece of phony crap saince “Crash” has, well, lost. In fact, of the seven categories "Babel" was nominated in, it won only one: Best Score! Worse even than, “Dreamgirls,” which won in only two of its eight nominated categories, Best Supporting Actress and Best Sound Mixing.

5. Here's the classic arc of Hollywood corruption: Lifetime Achievement award winner Ennio Morricone goes from the eternally haunting themes from “A Fistful of Dollars,” (1964) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) to eternally emetic Celine Dion singing his “I Knew I Loved You” on Oscar night.

6. Every year Hollywood tries in the Oscar broadcast to present the idealized image of itself that  it wants everyone to accept. What is it this year? A bunch of Birkenstocked tree-huggers saving the world with their hybrid cars and their embrace (sometimes literally) of fashionable liberal Democratic candidates and softcore issues (anyone hear the word “Iraq” mentioned?). Doze off for a minute while Leonardo DiCaprio butters up Al Gore as they announce how Green was my Oscar (okay, the “big announcment schtick was kind of funny) and you wake up to see an impassioned Hillary Clinton singing the Oscar-winning song for “An Inconvenient Truth.” Whoops -- that’s not Hillary, it’s Melissa Etheridge, who, despite the lousy song, did contribute one of the evening’s few subversive moments -- kissing her spouse Tammy Lynne Michaels on the lips before walking up to the stage. And has any woman recipient in Oscar history ever said the words, “I’d like to thank my wife…?” A short nap later, there’s Gore again, being held down by “Truth’”s  nearly convulsed director Davis Guggenheim as if the former Vice President were a huge, wind-whipped dirigible about to break free and never be seen again, while they accepted the award for Best Documentary.

7. Long, dull, dreary, tasteless, demoralizing. I can’t wait for next year. Of course I’m talking about the presidential race.

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