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Quick Oscar-nite musings

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A big pat on the back of those who actually stayed awake to watch the entire Oscar’s night live; I had recorded it and even with the benefit of fast-forwarding through really boring bits and the commercial breaks, I wish I could even say ‘meh’ !

This was undoubtedly one of the most uninspiring, insipid and boring Oscar ceremonies I have witnessed. Allright, so Hugh Jackman can sing, he can dance, he can self-reference during his song and dance routines, and yeah, yeah…he is the sexiest man alive, or something. But he did not bring anything extra as a host – the best one could say is that he was not as irritating as Ellen Degeneress two years ago. But that’s not really saying much.

And, that was the best choreography they could come up with for O saaya and Jai Ho: A bunch of dancers in ethnically confusing pink dresses !? Jai Ho was slightly better, but only just. they should have left it to the professionals in Mumbai ?

The moments barely enjoyable included bits of the opening routine, Tina Fey and Steve Martin’s banter, and Jerry Lewis’ acceptance. Of course,  Jai Ho to ARR and Gulzar for winning Oscars.

Finally, Kate Winslet: For fugs sake – stop the crying already and show some dignity. Meryl Streep was sitting not very far – she has won the award three times and nominated a zillion times, learn something from her.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 23, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Final thoughts and Awarding the Awards…..

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The Oscars-nite started tepidly, gained steam with some funny acts, briefly threatened to turn into an Al Gore love-fest (mildly exaggerating here) but then ended with a Hollywood group hug (somewhat literally) for Martin Scorsese. Like I mentioned during my live-blog, it was a steady, but fairly unremarkable show last night.

The biggest news of the night was of course, Martin Scorsese breaking his Oscars jinx and finally laying hand on the statuette. He seemed elated, and relieved (even joked about re-checking the envelope) as he was handed the award by a troika of his peers. Now there are two camps of thoughts on this award. One believes that Scorsese finally got his due, even if for a film that hardly measures up to the greatness of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or Goodfellas. The other way of looking at it is that he lost membership to an august club that counts Kubrick, Chaplin, Bergman, Hitchcock et al amongst its membership !

Anyhow, here are the high-lows and my own ‘awards’ for the show.

Host Watch: Billy Crystal keeps his mantle of the best Oscar hosts of contemporary times with Ellen Degeneres hardly providing any competition. She was nervous to begin with and plain irritating by the end. And whats with the burgundy velvet jacket and white shoes ?

Best Joke by Host: Slim pickings, but would have to be: ‘Jennifer Hudson was not voted by America and she is here….Al Gore is here, American did vote for him..”

Funniest Moment(s): (1) The Will Ferell & Jack Black duo singing a comic song about how comedians and comedy is usually slighted at the Oscars (which is very true). The song went on, as John C Reilly joined in from the audience, to talk about how the funny guys should take on serious roles (Video here). All that was required was Jim Carrey’s appearance. Possibly the best song performed at the Oscars since Robin Williams sang Blame Canada on-stage.

(2) Al Gore almost declares his intention to run for ’08 Presidential Elections, only to be interrupted by the orchestra.

Jack Nicholson watch: As if the ever-present sneer was not enough, he decided to go ahead and shave his head. Looked pretty darn sinister. Also he was sharing some in-joke with Diane Keaton while presenting the best film – wonder what that was all about.

Surprise, Good: Alan Arkin winning the supporting actor for Little Miss Sunshine. Big fan of the actor and his role in the film.

Surprise, Bad: I have not seen any of the animated features, but everyone I have talked to who have seen both Happy Feet and Cars agree that the latter was more deserving. Another case of the hype created by penguins. Those damn creatures ! Well, global warming will soon take care of them.

Surprise, So-so: Pan Labyrinth not winning the Best Foreign Film. This is a category that often has upsets e.g. when No Man’s Land beat out everyone’s favorite Amelie.

Most Candid Moment: Clint Eastwood getting his lines mixed-up and admitting – ‘I should have just brought my glasses and read..’

Best Presentation: Abigail Bresnil and Jaden Smith.

Most Yawning: Definitely the back-to-back singing of the three Dreamgirls songs.

Moment I could have junked my TV: Celine Dion’s screeching.

Thank You Speeches:

Most Overwrought:
Tie between Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker. Hudson said that God made it all possible while Whitaker put the onus on his heavenly ancestors.

Most Enjoyable:
Helen Mirren, no doubt about it. Class and wit combined.

Honest: “Wow – it is heavy” ….Montse Ribé, winner for Achievement in Make-up (Pan’s Labyrinth).

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And now (drumrolls please), for the most important section: the ‘ladies of the Oscar‘ awards. Initially I had thought about handing out only one to the most gorgeous lady seen on the TV. But there were so many that I decided it would not be fair to all of them. Hence, the following categories:

Best presence on the red carpet: Abigail Breslin.

Most Gorgeous: Penelope Cruz

Sexiest: Not awarded this year

Whoaaa there…: Eve Green and Reese Witherspoon.

Most Elegant: Jodie Foster

Classiest: Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. No surprises here.

Biased Award for the Best Lady in Veiw(in the tradition of Oscars, given based on personal bias rather than merit): Cameron Diaz ! Sigh !

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And with that ends the 2007 Oscars coverage on Recurring Decimals…. till next year.

Note: you can see selected videos of the Oscar from many of the links in the post – these are also mostly available on my VodPod widget to the right of the

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 26, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Oscar commercials

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While not as heavily anticipated (nor as expensive) as the SuperBowl Ads, I found most of the advertisements running during the Oscar ceremony breaks quite enjoyable. For obvious reasons, if Budweiser and Coors dominated the SuperBowl, it was L’oreal for the Oscars. This allowed Aishwarya to make her Oscar appearance ! They even had an user generated commercial.

But the two best commercials of the night would have to be Apple’s iPhone and American Express’ Wes Anderson directs. Both were movie-themed and you can check them out here:

Apple’s iPhone: at Apple’s website.

Wes Anderson Amex commercial:

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 26, 2007 at 9:10 am

Posted in Oscars, TV

Oscar live-blog….

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UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for chipping in with comments. It was fun doing this. Final Oscar wrap-up here.

…will happen here. Meanwhile check out the prelude and predictions here .

And what you could/should be drinking while watching the Oscars here.

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Like it or not, The Oscars are here with all its pomp, pageantry and glamour (ok – promise – that’s the last time I will use those hackneyed words). Come in to catch all the snark and rants.

If anybody is actually lurking out there – not expecting many considering the time and the limited readership of the blog – comments are welcome, and really appreciated.

Coming up tomorrow – the BongoPondit special Oscar Nite Awards…..

12.17PM

OK – thankfully and hopefully its the last we have seen of Ellen !!

Thanks to all those who stuck around and commented…… thanks to WordPress, thanks to my wife, my sister, parents, FSM, Desipundit, thanks to……

err… ok – that was lamer than Ellen Degeneres’ stuff. But thanks – it was fun. Nice compilation of music to end the show.

12.16PM

Academy trying to make it up to Scorsese in a big way ……

So, The Departed the biggest winner of the night.

12.14PM

And the Oscar goes to…..The Departed !!!

12.13PM

Best Picture – LSM or The Departed ?

12.10PM

Scorsese asks to double-check the envelope. He can’t believe it – didn’t get it for Raging Bull or Taxi Driver and got it for this !! Still, well deserved. Jokes about people keep wishing the Oscars for him. We are with you Martin !

12.08PM

OK – he DOES IT !!!!!

12.07PM

So the moment we were waiting for !!! Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg…….the ‘original’ three amigos. Scorsese would win by applause !!

Rest of the live-blog stuff after the jump !
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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 25, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Films, Martinis, Oscars

Oscars: thoughts, predictions etc.

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Ever since Titanic and Shakespeare in Love bagged Best Picture awards (with Reese Witherspoon as Leading Actress last year being the final straw), I have had very little respect for the Oscars or the credibility of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in judging cinematic excellence.

To be fair, the Academy decides on winners not through juries as in film-festivals, but by a voting process among its members. Thus it is often subject to biases such the time of release of the film (movies released early in the year usually drop out of the radar for an Oscar nomination nod, hence many of the so-called ‘Oscar hopefuls’ are hit theaters during fall), lobbying by the studio (Harvey Weinstein of Miramax is notorious for this), political and other non-film related factors that increase the chances of one film/person over another and so on. As such, the Academy has been notorious for overlooking the works of great actors, directors and films(Chaplin, Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick et al) while rewarding mediocre performances.

Still, when it comes to celebrating Hollywood pomp and displaying raw, unabashed glamor, few events can rival the Oscar night ceremony (Cannes perhaps matches or even surpasses in glitz, but in terms of brand-name and awareness, the Oscars are unparalleled).

So in spite of my reservations, like every year, I shall tune in to watch the show live (or is there a 10-sec delay?), to observe the Hollywood (and a few international) glitterati sashay down the red carpet for a night of mutual back-patting. If not anything else, it will be a chance to unleash some blogger’s rant!

However, there are some aspect of the ceremony I actually look forward to, particularly the various montages (especially the opening one). It’s always fun to quickly guess the movie name from its few seconds of appearance. Besides, few things are as celebratory of the joys of cinema than the Oscar montages.

There are, of course, many irritating bits as well: celebrities asked inane questions on the red carpet (to which they usually provide even more inane answers, demonstrating that most actors are lost without a script); presenters reading off the prompter with very little expressions – at least they could make an effort of looking spontaneous. But the most bothersome has to be long drawn out thank you speeches, especially when its the prize for some obscure technical category and/or when the winner draws out ominously large sheafs of paper. There has been few attempts to restrict such meandering monologues, particularly the practice of the live-orchestra starting to play after the stipulated time (which was famously sushed by Julia Roberts when she won for Erin Brockovich). This year, winners will apparently be restricted to 45 seconds sharp, but given a chance to say a longer thank yous off-stage on a web camera for internet broadcasts. Let’s see how that works out. If the speeches at the Golden Globes earlier this year were any indication, hope for as many Brits as possible to win, cause they really come up with some witty stuff while holding the statuette.
(Btw, here is a good round-up, though a little old, of Oscar thank you speeches over the years, and here is a list of speeches that themselves are worthy of an award)

A the major anticipation for Oscar night every year is the performance of the host, especially a first time host. The likes of Billy Crystal, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson have really excelled at this role, while others like David Letterman have failed. Last year, Jon Stewart did well, if not exceptional. Ellen Degeneres is hosting this year – and it is to be seen how she pulls it off.

However, the BIG question for tonite, of course is, will he or won’t he ? Talking about Martin Scorsese – among the many to have been sighted by the Academy in spite of nothing less than stellar credentials. I have argued that he should not receive a sympathy Oscar for The Departed which is definitely not his best work. But then, the fact is that he will be judged against four other directors nominated this year – and it could be possible he is the best among them (I am yet to see the the other films in the category). The grapevine suggests that it could be the case, with the Academy lining up a bevy of star directors to hand out the prize.

In other Oscar news, Al Gore will be among the presenters tonite, while I was saddened to know that Sasha Baron Cohen was not allowed to present as Borat and hence will be absent from the podium – that would have been fun and interesting (remember one of Borat’s trait is to be suspicious and downright hostile towards Jews).

Meanwhile, I shall attempt to record my rants (and appreciations!) while I watch the event in the form of live-blogging. Considering that my first attempt at liveblogging petered out pretty quickly, not promising much. But do join in, if interested, around, 7.30pm EST. And till then, for your entertainment, here are my wild predictions for the major Oscar categories (after the jump).

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 25, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Films, Oscars, Personal

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