Monday, March 08, 2010
Oscars 2010: A Brief Commentary
The Siren doesn't have much to say about the Oscars this year. She went to a swell party full of lively, smart, funny people and enjoyed herself.
Bravo for Katherine Bigelow, smashing the glass ceiling. I do wish that in her speech, she had been a little less overwhelmed and a little more like the lady above, costume designer Sandy Powell. Ms Powell, who appears to be about eight feet tall, sashayed on stage wearing a drop-dead high-fashion dress and gave a perfectly poised speech that made it clear she thought she deserved to be up there. I loved that; the Siren doesn't dig false modesty. And Powell also captured the Siren's heart by mentioning all the costume designers who don't do period pieces, and who are ignored year after year by the Academy. Costumes, no matter what the film, are extremely important to an actor's performance, as Louise Brooks could have told you. For the climactic scene in Pandora's Box, G.W. Pabst took her favorite suit and soiled and tore it; she said she went on set feeling "as hopelessly defiled as my clothes." How short-sighted for the Oscars to go, year after year, only to clothes of the past or some imaginary future.
The evening was marred by the decision to move the honorary Oscars to some kind of dinner thing in November. You wanna have a banquet, awesome, go for it, but do not deprive me and others who care about the industry's history of the opportunity to see Roger Corman, Gordon Willis, John Calley and the fabulous Lauren Bacall on the stage during the actual ceremony.
Many people have suggested that the John Hughes tribute took up time that rightfully belonged to the old-timers. Well, the Siren grew up with Hughes' movies and some of them have a permanent place in her heart. They're a part of the Siren's adolescence and so she regards Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink with the kind of nostalgic affection that precludes rational analysis. So it probably was with the people who decided on that whole presentation. It was nice to see Molly Ringwald after all this time.
But the Siren would have deep-sixed that horror montage in a New York minute.
And the Siren also agrees with Glenn Kenny about the death montage. This isn't quantum physics. All you have to do is come up with a reasonably complete list, a nice melancholy piece of music and some good clips. Given that simple formula it is kind of astonishing that this key piece of the evening is so consistently mucked up. Hire the TCM guys, okay? They do a great job year after year and don't try to gild the lily.
On the plus side, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin were very funny and I kind of loved the Neal Patrick Harris dance-cum-Sally-Rand tribute. Oprah Winfrey's speech to Gabourey Sidibe was very touching, Sandra Bullock was funny, and bravo to Mo'Nique for her Hattie McDaniel tribute. (The Siren didn't see Precious and won't, as she absolutely does not do child-abuse movies; the Siren just appreciated the sentiments.) Overall it was a fine ceremony that made the minutes fly by like hours, as Addison would have said.
I just really hope the DVR recorded The Oscar.