March 24, 2001
Why should any of us care who wins the Academy Awards? Some Oscar choices over the years have been absurd, and it's more of an inside-the-industry popularity contest and fashion show than a recognition of quality. Yet, moviegoers enjoy comparing their choices with those of the Hollywood insiders. Other people are thrilled by any competition, even though they may not have seen half the films in the running. And TV has turned it into such a spectacle, it's a must-see, just to stay "with it. " We admit to being swept along by the hype, in spite of ourselves, even though we're sure some of the choices will appall us.
March 26, 2000 |
Randolph Duke calls it a very surreal, even Roman experience. There's the red carpet, all the gold. Actresses heading off into battle like modern gladiators, with pricey gowns, spiked heels, blinding jewels, hair and makeup fit to intimidate any opponent. Vera Wang thinks of it more in Greek terms. She likes to call it the Olympics of fashion. With millions of viewers to take in the high-stakes runway show they call the Academy Awards, it's no wonder the fashion designers called upon to outfit these screen gems gratis are happy to go to Herculean lengths to accommodate their goddesses.
March 24, 2000 |
Rwandans, Bosnians and Indonesians are dying . . .to see what Gwyneth Paltrow will wear to the 72nd annual Academy Awards! But despair not, citizens of Kigali, Sarajevo and Jakarta. Regardless of the hardships you've had to endure over the past few years - the massacres, ethnic cleansings and political upheavals - you will get to see the Academy Awards in all their overlong glory - provided, of course, you have television sets. And electricity. The Academy Awards and the Golden Globes both license the rights to their programs to other nations around the world.
November 30, 1999 |
The way we look at sports changed forever on a December day 36 years ago at then-Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. It happened during the 64th annual Army-Navy game when, early in the fourth quarter, Cadet signal-caller Rollie Stichweh plunged off tackle from the 1-yard-line for a touchdown that would have been long forgotten were it not for what happened next: CBS immediately showed it again. That had never happened before. Instant replay was born. "This is not live!"
March 23, 1999 |
An hour into the Oscar telecast Sunday night, with only four of 26 statuettes distributed, you could hear remote controls across America click off the tube. An IRS 1040 form would have made livelier TV than the 71st annual Academy Awards, a barrage of tributes to dead cowboys and real-life heroes memorialized on celluloid. In a room containing Gwyneth Paltrow, Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg, why import Sen. John Glenn and Gen. Colin Powell for glamor? If brevity is the soul of wit, then these Academy Awards were positively soulless.
February 10, 1999 |
Last summer, the Allied forces in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan seemed destined to advance invincibly toward a multiple triumph on Oscar night. But yesterday's Academy Awards nominations have turned the Spielberg sweep into a lively competition. It's a contest that draws the battle lines between Elizabethan England and World War II. Shakespeare in Love, the slyly effervescent and witty speculation on how the Bard beat writer's block, led the way yesterday with 13 nominations, including best picture, director (John Madden)
June 25, 1998 |
Olivia de Havilland wears her 82 years like a new frock and her fame like sensible pumps. With spun-silver hair upswept into a halo and brown eyes brimming with devilry, milady of the Italian bosom and French ankles gambols into the hotel suite. She looks less movie queen than Queen Mum, a role she played in the 1982 telefilm Charles and Diana. And although the valentine face is creased here and there, it beams like that of the lass who was Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Melanie in Gone With the Wind.
May 31, 1998 |
When U.S. Rep. Jon D. Fox called Lower Moreland High School principal Gregory Doviak the Friday before last, he wasn't looking for votes. "Have you heard?" Doviak recalled Fox saying. "You've won. "' The congressman passed the same cheerful message on to Abington High School principal Robert Burt and Sister Karen Dietrich, principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy, a private girls' school in Flourtown. All three institutions had earned recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools.
March 29, 1998 |
The Oscars are the Super Bowl of hubris, a beauty pageant with talent, a political campaign for the surgically enhanced. The show is sport. It's spectacle. It's politics and business. It's got almost everything - well, except art. Think of the stupefyingly dumb dance numbers. Or, save Billy Crystal, the inane scripted patter (and even Crystal sagged this year after the opening montage and medley, reaching with far too many Clinton jokes). Or the musical performances. Or who actually wins.
March 22, 1998 |
It was the the most expensive picture in the history of movies, and the delays and staggering logistical problems that beset its production were eagerly publicized in the media. But the studio that gambled everything on the epic film reaped a huge reward as it became a worldwide blockbuster. Titanic in 1997? No, Ben-Hur in 1959. Ben-Hur went on to win a dozen Oscar nominations and an unprecedented 11 statuettes, a record of suitably biblical proportions that stands to this day. But will it still stand after tomorrow night?