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Monday, February 26, 2007

TV Watch: The Oscars

Is an Oscar party the best way to cap off a week of being sick? Survey says ouch. I had been so good about trying to stay hydrated and keep on top of the road back to wellness ... but a couple mugs of Maudite foiled me.

This morning NPR called The Oscars "the conspicious consumption of TV." We all know it's fluff but we just buy it anyway. I mock football for it's pre and post-show adoration of self ... but at least they don't spend an hour just talking about the thread on someone's jersey's. The premise of the Oscars is that it's an awards show about movies ... but it's really just a festival of Hollywood. It's not just movies ... it's the industry parading itself out in a glitzy show of how relevant they really are.

We let them - and encourage them - because even the cynic in us loves them. We love movies. We love the show. Even if you don't know who the father of Naomi Watt's impending child is ... you'd probably recognize him if you saw him. These glitterati are our royalty whether we like it or not. We can even hate them for it and enjoy hating them for it - but it doesn't change the fact nonetheless.

Course, at times Hollywood drapes itself with this fact a bit too thick. Cruise's speech a couple years ago which made Hollywood sound like a vital part of the war effort, for instance. Sometimes the inbreeding and insanity of the royalty spurts forward.

This friction hasn't gone unnoticed - The Oscars have had mixed reviews and ratings in recent years - leaving it with a need to reinvent and ... in true Hollywood style ... get a good makeover.

This year saw an attempt to broaden the awards out to foriegn films and directors. The "three amigos" - Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu - have been widely trumpeted in the press. Penelope Cruz got a lot of air time. That kind of thing. Course, the only one to really win out seemed to be Pan's Labryinth. In the end it was the same show with some international flair to show ... kinda like Hollywood had just returned from an extended vacation.

Ellen did a great job, I thought. The show ran well over and this year it seemed like just bad planning in general. I can't point to any speech and accuse it of going too long. It's just the overindulgence again - someone couldn't say no to a musical number or dance routine or whatnot and they planned more material than they had time to show. I could be more cynical and say that's why all the major awards weren't handed out until overtime.

I tied for first for guessing the wins - which is almost impressive in that I haven't seen any of these movies ... and this year I didn't even do my obligatory scan of favorites. I voted for Peter O' Toole simply because I had forgotten he had won an honorary a few years back. Try to predict these wins is such a game ... you can generally guess at the mechanics involved. That documentary about AIDS was a shoe-in. Why? Because it's a documentary about AIDS. That kind of thing.

It's wholesome guilty fun. And I have the headache to prove it.


Troy said...

"It's just the overindulgence again - someone couldn't say no to a musical number or dance routine or whatnot and they planned more material than they had time to show."

Death to the montage! Fire the shadow puppets!

If you are going to go over, let people finish a speech so they can thank their wives instead of making us see Hollywood's Tribute to the U S of A.

Josh said...

No doubt. I mean, some of the sideshow attractions were neat - like the foley orchestra and I suppose the shadow dancing...

But it's also often the heart of Hollywood's self-love. Why not just do a big opening number and half-time show like most overproduced shows.