February 25, 2015 |
On the day before Michael Keaton lost the 87th Academy Awards best-actor prize (boo!), the Birdman star was holding a winged trophy aloft at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, across town from Hollywood. Accepting his "best male lead" win in front of many of the same glammy peers he'd be sitting with Sunday night, Keaton jokingly saved his last thank-you for Narcissus, the creature of Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection and whose name begat the term narcissism.
March 26, 2002 |
I got a telephone call about 12:30 a.m. Monday. It was a family member asking if I was watching the Academy Awards, in which Halle Berry had just become the first African American woman to win a best-actress Oscar in the 74-year history of the event. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. Denzel Washington had just won for best actor, the first black to win that top honor since Sidney Poitier received it in 1963 for Lilies of the Field. I haven't done a scientific study.
March 1, 2016
The host wore white. As in #OscarsSoWhite. Chris Rock looked sharp, and he mostly stayed on point Sunday, as he hosted an Academy Awards show for which he proved to be the right man at the right time. "If they nominated hosts, I wouldn't even get this job. You'd be watching Neil Patrick Harris," Chris Rock said even as he attempted to put the furor over the second consecutive year of all-white acting nominations into perspective. "It's the 88th Academy Awards. Which means this whole no black nominee thing has happened at least 71 other times," said Rock, noting that "black people did not protest" for most of those years.
March 25, 2003
Make-believe. Fantasy. Made-up people and stories and worlds. When much is broken, make-believe can help salve the wounds. Sunday night in Los Angeles, a bunch of professional make-believers got together and had some fun at the 75th annual Academy Awards. It was, to be sure, an awkward affair, a show muted by war thoughts, by fraidy-cat advertisers who pulled out at the last moment. But it mostly managed to sidestep the ugliness, in a needed respite from the grim clash in Iraq.
February 20, 1988
How can John Huston's "The Dead" be named Best of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics, yet not even be among the five movies nominated for Academy Awards? That's typical of the paradoxes emerging every year when the Academy lists its top-runners. You might also wonder how a just-better-than-average thriller like "Fatal Attraction" is among the top five, but not "The Dead" and other top-class films like "Empire of the Sun" and "House of Games" and "Radio Days. " Even allowing for wide differences in taste, this annual cinema sweepstakes always raises more controversy than consensus among people who still think "best" really means "best" to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
March 18, 1994 |
Next Monday is the night we wait for each year: the Academy Awards ceremony. But you don't have to wait to cast your vote. Every day this week you can pick your favorites in a different Oscar category. Just call the number below from your touch tone phone and follow the directions. On March 21, look for the complete line-up of the Oscar Phone Poll winners in the Daily News Yo! section, along with an Oscar scorecard to help you follow along with that evening's actual winners. TO VOTE FOR BEST PICTURE call 854-2955.
March 10, 2006
WHAT DEAL was cut for the prestigious Academy Awards to bestow art status with an Oscar for best song on the simple-minded "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"? Everybody got so upset about the low-class "wardrobe malfunction" by Janet Jackson, but awarding an Oscar for a song on such a topic by no-talent performers lacking any grace is no problem. All the great songwriters - Gershwin, Bernstein, Cohan, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart - must be spinning in their graves. They had class.
March 28, 2001 |
The dumbing-down of American film seems complete now. Judging from the Academy Awards, mediocrity is the new standard. Imitation is no longer the sincerest form of flattery; it's an art form unto itself. Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," which falls somewhere between a poor man's "Ben-Hur" and a rich man's "Hercules Unchained," has been deemed the best film of 2000. And Russell Crowe, who went from Maximus to Gluteus Maximus in one year, is the man who would be king. Thumbs. . .down, I say!
March 27, 1986 |
"The Color Purple," a movie that has evoked outrage and praise and protests and debates since it opened last December, is still setting off controversy, this time because it failed to win any Oscars. The day after "Purple's" cast and crew went home from the Academy Awards without a single Oscar out of 11 nominations, the Hollywood-Beverly Hills branch of the NAACP protested, calling it "a slap in the faces" of producer-composer Quincy Jones and director Steven Spielberg. And at the Urban League of Philadelphia's annual dinner the same evening, former Deputy Mayor George Burrell said the night before, when the awards ceremony was broadcast, "must have been April Fool's day" because it was unbelievable the movie won no awards.