Before anyone starts moaning, I will give you one reason to be very, very happy that Crash won:
IT WAS RELEASED EARLY IN THE YEAR. *
The Siren can't be the only person who is sick to death of having a 20-car-pileup of high-quality Oscar-bait movies crowded at the end of the year, when she has social obligations competing with her ability to get the movie house. Meanwhile, for the first 11 months of the year the Siren can be found frequently staring at the movie ads, unable to fathom that her local multiplex features only a witless romantic comedy, Vin Diesel's latest stab at immortality, a big-screen version of a video game and a horror movie so violent it makes Halloween look like Lady and the Tramp.
Anyway, some other disconnnected thoughts about the Oscars, in no particular order.
To whoever decided to do actual, full scenes from the Best Picture nominees this year instead of trailers: God bless you.
To whoever decided that the way to showcase the glories of film noir is to show lots of their trailers: Are you nuts?
Some very, very odd choices for the "epic" section (Butch Cassidy? ET?) and even for the "social conscience" montage, which was probably the best of the evening.
Keanu Reeves, handsome as ever, is clearly the Robert Taylor de nos jours.
Eric Bana has ears that are terrifyingly reminiscent of Clark Gable's.
Charlize Theron seemed to be channeling Claudia Cardinale, which was a bit odd.
Keira Knightley may well be the most gorgeous woman in Hollywood right now, but it was Meryl Streep who dazzled. When you are 20 years old and a dream of beauty, you have to work at NOT looking ravishing. Meryl is pushing 60. Her gown was perfect, her makeup was perfect, she was poised and charming and most of all, she has left her glorious face alone.
What is up with the awards to Memoirs of a Geisha? The cinematography and art direction consisted of one tired cliche after another. Rain on pagoda-style roofs. Twisting streets full of those utterly fascinating Asian merchants selling utterly too-too exotic wares. Cherry blossoms, for crying out loud. I could throw a dart at Mikio Naruse's filmography and hit a better-looking movie, and he was famous for shooting quiet interiors.
Blech to the costume award to Geisha, too. Year after year it's the same thing now: The award must go to a period piece or some kind of fantasy thing. The whole premise behind that is faulty. Any actor can tell you that the way a character dresses has a huge influence on a performance. You do not move or present yourself the same way in different clothing. A costume designer can have a huge impact on a contemporary movie. Take a look at Match Point, where the outfits of each character change with their changing fortunes, mirroring what's going on with each of them. The costumes in Geisha just added to the movie's overall phoniness, with its body-conscious (?!?) kimonos and simple, chic little geisha hairdos.
One last gripe about Geisha: both the costume designer and the cinematographer talked about the courage it took to make the movie. Come again? the novel sold what, five million copies? How much courage do you need to take a huge bestseller and dumb it down even further for an American audience?
*Note: Unfortunately, now that I read Filmbrain and my fellow Cinemarati bemoaning Crash's win, I'm thinking maybe the movie wouldn't have added that much to my local multiplex. I didn't see it, so I am just trying to look on the bright side. Trying. Really trying.