February 24, 2009 |
IT'S THE DAY after the Oscars in economic-crisis America. Mind if we warm our cold fingers a little longer in that Swarovski-crystal glow? Scanning the post-show reviews, producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark scored well. With congenial song-and-dance hunk Hugh Jackman in the host-seat, the Oscars had more sizzle and less snipe - or, as Jackman promised Barbara Walters during her pre-show special, "a little more show and a little less biz. " Having previous winners laud nominees in specific categories got good reviews.
February 20, 2009 |
So the door slammed shut on The Dark Knight. James Franco wasn't nominated for Milk - or for his stoner dealer dude in Pineapple Express. Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" - how did that not get a best-song slot? (Hey, there are still two slots open - it's not too late!) And Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long) and Michelle Williams (Wendy and Lucy) - they wuz robbed. Get over it. The 81st Academy Awards ceremony is two days away - Sunday, 8 p.m., 6ABC - and while there are slights, omissions, and head-scratchers, there is still much to celebrate.
February 20, 2009 |
Are you an Oscarologist? If you answer correctly eight or more of these questions, consider yourself a grad of the college of Academy knowledge. 1. The Oscar winner who is the child and grandchild of Oscar winners: (a) Michael Douglas (b) Jane Fonda (c) Gwyneth Paltrow (d) Sofia Coppola 2. The Academy Award winner who can boast that Mom and Dad are also winners: (a) Robert Downey, Jr. (b) Angelina Jolie (c) Liza Minnelli (d) Anjelica Huston 3. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held at: (a)
February 14, 2008
The Inquirer's movie critics, Steven Rea and Carrie Rickey, are spending the week before the Feb. 24 Academy Awards predicting the winners of the races. On Friday, they agreed that Ruby Dee ( American Gangster ) was the likely winner of the best supporting actress trophy. Today, they take up best supporting actor. Bardem, the Spanish actor best known here for Before Night Falls , is pretty great, too, with that impassive face like an Easter Island statue. And, Lordy, Wilkinson plays the raving, lucid born-again moral lawyer like he was in an Arthur Miller play.
January 23, 2008 |
Merciless killings in 1980s West Texas. Merciless greed in turn-of-the-20th-century California. Corporate deception and law-biz ethics gone haywire in contemporary New York. Thwarted love and twisted lies in World War II Britain. And, oh yeah, a pregnant 16-year-old getting on with her life, her homework, and her hipster bons mots in modern-day suburbia. There you have the 2008 Academy Award best-picture nominees: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, Atonement and Juno.
January 24, 2007 |
It's the year Oscar embraced diversity. The big surprise in yesterday's roundup of nominees for the 79th Academy Awards was the exclusion of Dreamgirls from the best-picture competition, despite leading the field with eight nominations. It's the first time in Oscar history that the movie with the most nominations hasn't been a best-picture contender. But the big trends were globalization and diversity. Of the 20 acting nominees, five are black, two are Latina and one is Japanese.
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 7, 2006 |
When did hosting the Academy Awards become such a thankless task? Jon Stewart is the latest victim of the Oscar curse. He was too cynical, too New York, went one school of thought. No, he was too deferential, too reined in, argued others. The one thing most agreed on: It didn't work. You just can't win. Not when the standard for success is some idealized hybrid of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. The job has become a recipe for disaster. The only difference this year is that the carpers didn't even wait until the first commercial to start shredding Stewart's performance.
March 7, 2006
Brokeback Mountain did not lose the best-film Oscar. Crash won it. For the best reason: Merit. The Web was abuzz yesterday with analyses of "Brokeback backlash," the notion that Academy voters got tired of all the talk, whether adoring or accusatory, about that controversial tale of two gay cowboys. That theory does a disservice to a deserved winner. Crash is as gutsy, nuanced and moving as Hollywood film-making gets these days. If the best-film statuette leads more Americans to see Crash, that would be a very good thing.
March 5, 2006 |
Wait a minute - maybe Brokeback Mountain isn't the groundbreaking, earthshaking, history-making entertainment event of the moment, even if it does win best picture and a raft of other Oscars tonight. There was another movie that nabbed a few Academy Awards, including best picture, 37 years ago: a dark, sad, controversial tale about the bond between two men. One of them wore a big hat and big boots and spoke with a Texas drawl. There's a pretty explicit gay sex scene. And by the end of the picture - SPOILER alert here - somebody's dead.