The Word According to Oscar


What a night, huh? I started watching a little of the pre-Oscar shows, but the main event was the focus for me.

Who would’ve thought that Jack Black could only get sexier over the years? I first saw him in the classic High Fidelity (which wasn’t a bad adaptation of Nick Hornby‘s novel, although the girlfriend character was highly annoying) and was blown away by his interpretation of the self-assured, self-important rock snob clerking in a dingy Chicago used records store. His musical number with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly was one of the best Oscar numbers ever. Very classy, very funny.

Did anyone check out the montage of scenes from films where a writer is a main character? These are the films I recognized:

Decent show, and boy, does it glamorize the writing biz, especially with the Mission: Impossible theme closing out the reel. (Was it just me, or was the theme music choice a little disturbing, not to mention depressing, considering that it was played over the final montage of writers typing THE END? Oh well. At least they didn’t play the theme song from The Neverending Story.)

The two biggest disappointments:

a) Peter O’Toole losing out to Forest Whitaker for Best Actor. They say it’s O’Toole’s last chance, which I dearly hope isn’t the case. The last time I saw the Oscars in full was in 1982, when O’Toole was up for the same award for his role in My Favorite Year. I was crushed when he lost out to Ben Kinglsey (Gandhi), and it’s hard for a ten-year-old to recover from a devastating loss like that. (I’m serious, people!!) It’s truly an unfair world when Kevin Costner, Three 6 Mafia and even Al Gore can boast of winning an Oscar, but Peter O’Toole goes home empty-handed… eight bloody times.

b) Little Miss Sunshine winning Best Original Screenplay. Yes, it was a delightful, thought-provoking film, and yes, it was funny as hell and had great characters. I’m just not sure that it deserved the accolade, when the screenplays for Babel and Letters from Iwo Jima were (IMHO) superior in terms of originality, theme and scope. I wonder if the Academy was turned off by the subtitles and — in Babel‘s case — the juxtaposition of no less then five languages. In any case, as much as I loved Little Miss Sunshine, I do think that the Academy was remiss in overlooking these brilliant films.

By the way, if anyone is interested in reading about the development of the screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine and the writer’s background, check out the latest issue of Creative Screenwriting magazine (Vol 14, #1). Great and inspiring story about Michael Arndt‘s road from fresh film school grad to Oscar-winning screenwriter. (Is it just me, or does he look like Swedish actor Peter Stormare?)


4 thoughts on “The Word According to Oscar

  1. hi thoroughly enjoyed the oscars i you, i hoped that peter o’toole would have won but then again, i’ve seen the snippets of forest whitaker’s performance and i think he was amazing. i’m sure though they will give peter an honorary oscar.i also think i know why they chose sunshine over babel and letters. disclaimer: i’ve only seen sunshine and not the other two. sunshine is a very american movie whereas the two other movies were not “american” in theme. and sunshine was refreshing in that it didn’t rely on special effects or a grand production but was only centered on the script to carry the whole movie.that’s all i have. my other thoughts on the oscar you can read on my blog entry.

  2. Hi, <>Amee<>! Other than those 2 disappointments (which were <>major<> — yes, I’m <>that<> much of a drama queen), I loved watching the Oscars. I’m completely starstruck and always excited to see so many A-list celebrities in one venue. I especially enjoyed seeing Meryl Streep, one of my all-time faves.I don’t begrudge Forest Whitaker his Oscar — I’d love to see <>The Last King of Scotland<> and have it on my Netflix queue — but I really did hope that Peter O’Toole would finally win a competitive Oscar. He already received the honorary one awhile back, but he initially refused it, saying that he wants to win one outright. I think I read that his daughter had to convince him to accept the honorary.I agree with you about <>Little Miss Sunshine<>. It’s definitely an American movie, with very American characters. Although I have to admit, it struck me as being also somewhat French in its character eccentricity and dialogue.On the other hand, <>Babel<>, even more so than <>Iwo Jima<>, had a compelling script…or four compelling scripts, I guess. The only weakness was the storyline set in Tokyo, but only because its connection to the other 3 was the most tenuous, not because of any weakness in the story itself. If anything, any <>one<> of the four stories could have made an excellent film in itself. I imagine that the problem was that the the grand scale of the production may have worked against its favor because it overshadowed everything else, including what was otherwise a brilliant script with a great story. It’s a bit like <>Syriana<>, where several plotlines run parallel for awhile before converging into a unified denouement. It requires the audience to stretch its mental muscles and really <>think<>, something too few movies demand.Liked your blog on the Oscars. I didn’t catch but a few minutes of the Oscar pre-shows, so I don’t know if she showed up or not, but I was waiting for Jennifer Aniston. Guess she didn’t show up, huh? Would’ve loved to have seen her dress.Cheers,Marjorie

  3. I was sad Peter O’Toole didn’t win the Oscar. But I was really happy in that same way that Alan Arkin did. He’s a great actor, not uber famous, and has never won one in over thirty years. I know some people were pissed off that Eddie Murphy didn’t win one (namely Eddie Murphy), and yes he did a good job, but unlike Forest Whittaker, I didn’t think he did a better job than the other nominees.

  4. Hi, <>Adrienne<>! First time I saw Alan Arkin was on The Seven Percent Solution. I think he played Sigmund Freud. Anyway, I agree, he’s a brilliant actor and deserved his award. I haven’t actually seen Dreamgirls yet, so I can’t comment on Murphy’s performance. But while I haven’t seen Whitaker yet in The Last King of Scotland, it’s painful to know that O’Toole was passed over despite his accomplishments, and yet Arkin was honored both because of his Sunshine performance and his history. Am I bitter? Sure. I’m curious to know that O’Toole’s reaction is to his eighth loss. I haven’t seen any interviews and am dying to know.Thanks for stopping by!Cheers,Marjorie

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