02 March, 2005

top-up your botox and polish your ego... it's the smoshkas!

Unless you've been living in the depths of a cave with sound-proofing and red velvet curtains, the 77th (and final!) Academy Awards were this week. So for all of us movie buffs, it was time for our annual night of speech-heckling, plastic-surgery-spotting and general celebrity bitching.
Unfortunately, this has been a pretty darn uninspiring year for movies. The magical three years of the Lord Of The Rings Era are now behind us and all-but-forgotten and we are, alas, left to trudge through the usual Hollywood fare of overinflated bio-pics, sanctimonious dramas and lame comedies, trying to find the very occasional more gritty, challenging character piece that makes American mainstream cinema worth noticing.

So the munkey-gang, flailing in the raging torrent of ennui, dispensed with our usual extravaganza. No costumes this year. No voting (we all abstained by reason of apathy). No prizes. Only an internet quiz - amusing but nowhere near as good as the usual Snazzlepops brain-busters. But there was still wonderful company and plenty of hilarity as always, so who's complaining? (Well, apart from Martin Scorcese.)

It seems Tinseltown itself had a bit of Oscar Ennui as well. Where was Jack Nicholson, grinning creepily through his sunglasses? Where was Our Nicole? Our Russell? Caught up in a three-way mudwrestle with Jocelyn Moorehouse on the set of Eucalyptus? And even apart from the lack of A-List celebs, let's be honest: they put on a pretty darn shabby show this year. Technical hitches abounded. Orchestra master Bill Conti was in particularly bad form (almost as appalling as his repeated slaughtering of one of Howard Shore's finest melodies last year). And the decision to present various segments from random places around the theatre was downright misjudged. Note to the producers: If we ever have to see the balcony again, it better contain Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets, and they better be abusing Tom Hanks.

Of course there were some highlights. Though not as entertaining as a Billy or a Whoopi, Chris Rock's presentation contained some sparklingly scathing, politically motivated humour. And of course you can only cheer Our Cate winning her long-deserved Oscar (Paltrows, Kidmans and Berrys of the world take note: THAT is how a genuinely classy dame accepts an award with effortless poise). However there were also a lot of lowlights. Nobody needs to see Beyonce perform THREE times in one evening. America is a country of 300 million people. We saw one extremely average performer sing three songs, at least two of which were completely inappropriate for her. Why?! Why?! For the love of god why?! Meanwhile Renee Zelwegger continues her triumphant quest to always look disgusting in real-life, and I'm not sure if Jamie Foxx's ego can fit comfortably in Los Angeles, but it is certainly much too big for the Kodak Theatre. There were also far too many very long speeches by very old men (I'm sure they are emminently deserving of my respect, but that doesn't mean I want to hear them talk for 15 minutes).

And what was with the presentation of Best Picture? Just how many valiums had Dustin Hoffman taken before the ceremony?! And I know it all started long before I was born, but I would really like to find out just who is responsible for making Barbra Streisand a celebrity, and I would like to personally punsih them VERY severely.

By the way, isn't it amusing that a man who has consistently been a right-wing soap-boxer, and even held office for the Republican Party, can now be accused of making a film with an aggresive, left-wing / liberal agenda? And then the ultra-conservative American Academy votes it Best Picture! Only in Hollywood.

So pack away your stilettos and sunglasses for another year, go-getters and glamour-pusses. Here's hoping that the next twelve months offer up some films that are actually worth getting excited about!

p.s. on a completely unrelated - but exciting - note, Krispy Kreme Donuts will be opening their first store in Melbourne by July this year. Now THAT's worth getting excited about!


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