The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Tom 'n' Stephen's Academy Award Wrap-up


[Note: I'm taking a liberty here . . . there's no other word for it . . . because the thought just occurred to me after watching the night's festivities (zzzzzzz) that the least we could do is give our respective views on the Academy Awards out front, so to speak. So hopefully Stephen won't mind if I lift his Oscar comments from another entry and place them here, then place mine own. tom]

Stephen:

Well, the schlamazzle is over for another year. I got a big 50 per cent on my overall Oscar choices, but I did better in the main categories, getting four out of six (or five out of eight, if you count the screenplays). I mean, how was I to know that Born In Brothels would beat out Story of the Weeping Camel? At least Canada won the animated short this year...who says patriotism is a bad thing?

Didn't figure on Eastwood for direction, even though in my heart I felt he did a lot more with a lot less, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Aviator and thought giving Million Buck Baby best picture and Scorsese best director would be the way to go. So much for that theory. Other upsets...went for John Williams in the score category, just because, when in doubt...I guessed that crappy Counting Crows song would win because it was a hit, but I'm not sorry they lost at all...and I didn't pick Cate Blanchett because...well, I don't know why, really, but I thought Sophie Okonedo had a shot as a fully formed character, over Blanchett's interesting, but far-from-perfect performance.

I got Sideways for adapted, but Eternal Sunshine? It was the most original of the original screenplays, no doubt, and the screenplays often go to underdogs. I just picked Aviator...because it seemed like a safe bet. For once I think voting with my brain instead of my heart was actually a liability.

And for the tribute to Russ Meyer they picked Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and.....Fanny Hill? WTF? Maybe they thought someone would be offended by titles like Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and Vixen. Although Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens would have been fun to see up there on the screen. Oh well.

Tom:

I'm amazed there even was a tribute to Russ Meyer . . . though, I agree, they picked all the wrong movies. "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is extraordinary but, c'mon, why not a few shots from the amazing "Lorna" or "Mudhoney" or "Cherry, Herry and Raquel" (the only movie ever made where Tom Wolfe gets a screenwriting credit), as well as the aforementioned . . . but I suppose it's like the man said, life can be strangely merciful once you're dead.

It was obviously Eastwood's night, and I was glad to see that. I too didn't figure him for Best Director this year because, slave to Conventional Wisdom as I am, I figured they'd cave in and hand it to Scorsese even if it was for a sub-standard work. Oddly enough, while I think "Million Dollar Baby" is an outstanding work, truly, the prize Eastwood most deserved for it was Best Actor. I think it's the finest performance of a career that, like John Wayne's, has seen a number of great performances before anyone woke up and took notice of what was going on. You'll have to forgive me here, because I'm something of an Eastwood fanatic (I thought "Blood Work" was close to being a masterpiece), so as childish as my secret committment to my predictions is, I was glad to see them thwarted on this occasion.

I zoned out during much of it; the Songs in particular (zzzzzzzzzzzz), and only really paid attention to the Big Ones. Cate Blanchett's win this evening only jelled more firmly the idea that bad acting can often get you that statuette for your mantle. Jamie Foxx, who I first remember seeing on "In Living Color" all them years ago, and who I've known was potentially a masterful actor since Stone's "Any Given Sunday" (I may be the only boy in Christendom who admires that film), to me deserved the award more for his performance in "Collateral" (whoever made up Tom Cruise to look like William Peterson in that picture also deserved an Oscar). But it was one of those years with a backlog of great, good and Oscar worthy (which does not mean good necessarily) performances, and giving the Award to him for "Ray", which was more mimicry than performance in places was, I suppose, a fair trade-off.

I probably have more to say; and if so, I'll add to the above. Right now all the tired horses are in the sun, and I gots to get some writin' done.

10 comments :

Rob said...

Hey, halfway thru and they had already mentioned Winsor McKay (!) AND Jean Vigo (!!) - I thought I was hearing things. High Hopes. Then it relapsed back into trite.

BCNU

Sam said...

I only picked two actual wins on my site. But, there were no wished for sandworms to eat Clint. Sorry, Martin!

Brent McKee said...

I said it in another comment and in my blog, but as a TV show it was a bust. Chris Rock wasn't bad, but the producers really messed things up. To quote Ebert, Roeper and Siskel (wherever he may be), three thumbs down.

swac said...

Rob, you forgot Michael Myers' Bazin reference, even if it was only to set up a poop joke. But he used the same quote that Sutpen used to have in his .sig, so that was amusing (or rather the quote that Godard responded to).

It's funny how my predictions were a messed up collision between common sense and heartfelt belief, usually on the wrong side of the equation. I mean, I should have picked Blanchett, but I got the sense that feeling were mixed about her performance, and I didn't pick Eternal Sunshine for screenplay, much as I thought it was the best screenplay in the list, because I figured there would be a greater outpouring for The Aviator. You can't win.
But I did pick both acting categories, and best film, and actress, so not too bad on the biggies.

As for the show itself...I appreciate the efforts to move it along, but you can only push a dinosaur so far. And Rock really did fizzle, didn't he? Dissing Jude Law over Tom Cruise? Stupid. Law still has interesting performances left in him, but Cruise? (And I was thinking the William Petersen thing too! Great minds...fools seldom...and all that.)

Still, I'd take John Ashcroft as host over Whoopie Goldberg anyday.

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

And Rock really did fizzle, didn't he?

*****
Chris Rock, I think, did about as well as could be expected. The material just wasn't there. After the last couple years of so-called "outrageos" media events (Janet Jackson's breast making its television debut, etc) and the overarching chill wind of Conservatism that's gripped this country, there's no way the Producers were going to let anything remotely edgy on the air.

My personal Oscar bete noir is Billy Crystal; the youngest Elder Statesman in the history of Showbiz.

Rob said...

S - I missed the Myers ref - I was taking a piss, always better than listening to Mike. I watch the Oscars nowadays as a kind of kibitz occaison, so I can be horrified by their irrelevancy, but I can be a smart-ass about it. They went with safe choices, mostly, and no geezer acting awards. Easy Reader won, tho, howzabout that? Hard to believe that "Electric Company" had two statuette winners.

BCNU

swac said...

Who would win in a fight...Easy Reader or the Karate Kid Jr.?

Professor Batty said...

...I suppose Russ Meyer's early stuff was too "Indy". He has the last laugh, however - Faster was cited by John Waters as the best movie EVER made and the best movie that ever WILL BE made...

Rob said...

Stephen - Easy Reader, I think, but Spidey and Fargo North, Decoder have a side bet on Drac.

sam - I love the sandworms idea! Way Cool.

BCNU

swac said...

Funny, I always thought John Waters' favourite film was BOOM! Maybe I misread that, but I want to believe it's true.

As for the Easy Reader fight, even he isn't stronger than silent "e" or able to leap a capital "T" in a single bound.

It's a word....it's a plan...it's Freeman.