I'm a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson and "There Will Be Blood" looks like a solid, ambitious, impressive piece of work. "Atonement" didn't interest me much save for the two-plus minute-long steady-cam shot on a beach during a war scene. That long steady-cam shot, incidentally, recalls (and simultaneously supercedes) the steady-cam shot Scorsese used in "Goodfellas" which follows Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco's winding entrance to a club through the kitchen.
Overall, though, both of us had the overwhelming response of "Meh."
Sure, it was great that Diablo Cody -- a former stripper and the newly-respected, and newly Oscared, winner of Best Original Screenplay -- received formal recognition that has followed her since "Juno" hit screens throughout the world. Kaia and I both shared a chuckle at Ms. Cody's expense, however; sure, she's a former stripper...but she looked more incorrectly dressed than Peter Jackson has in past years (and that's saying something). Someone get her a real dress that doesn't show her underwear for the ceremonies commemorating her eventual next nomination, mmmkay?
Meanwhile, will anyone forget the entire on- and off-stage interplay involving the winner of the Best Original Song, "Falling Slowly" (from "Once" - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)? In case you missed it, Mr. Hansard stepped forward once he and Ms. Irglova received their statues but once he finished his gracious, humble, sweet acceptance speech, Bill Conti and Co. started playing and the mic cut off so Ms. Irglova stepped forward and got...nothing. They both walked offstage.
Jon Stewart, jokingly, referred to Mr. Hansard as "Wow, that guy's so arrogant" and then quickly followed with "Just kidding," because no one in the audience seemed to laugh (even though it was a great ad-lib.
However, when the telecast returned from commercial (during which Kaia and I agreed that it was unfortunate Ms. Irglova didn't get an opportunity to speak), Jon Stewart described Hansard/Irglova as so genuinely appreciative and excited and then -- in perhaps the classiest move I've ever witnessed during an Oscar telecast -- invited Ms. Irglova back onstage for a chance to speak. She shyly re-emerged and said the following:
Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we're standing here tonight, the fact that we're able to hold this, it's just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along the way. Thank you.
Classy. Really, really classy. Jon Stewart just got 50 karma points.
For the most part, the rest of the show was sort-of by-the-book. I was very shocked that the Coen Brothers' "No Country for Old Men" beat Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood." No surprise that Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor (and another really cool touch was his kneeling to "The Queen," aka Helen Mirren). I knew Javier Bardem would win Best Supporting Actor (if/when you see "No Country..." you'll know why). The other stuff was sort of blase. Sure, Julie Christie from "Away From Her" was upset by Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" -- which is a huge upset since rarely do foreign-language films win the big Oscars. And Tilda Swinton as Best Supporting Actress for "Michael Clayton" could, theoretically, be considered an upset. But the truth? Very few of these categories was even of remote interest to me personally.
In fact, I was more interested in watching the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers 5-0 at Madison Square Garden than I was the first two-plus hours of the Oscar telecast. The last six or so awards -- coupled with the video tribute to those MPAA members who have passed away in the last year -- was really all I wanted to watch.
Thankfully, Family Guy episodes still reside on my DVR.
Overall, now that the Oscars are yet again behind us and 364 or so days away, I need to get a copy of "There Will Be Blood" and a copy of the single for "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. And while I'm at it, I need to go get a copy of "Cloverfield" between now and when Kaia lands here in a few weeks.
Other'n that, I pretty much have a one-word summation of this year's Oscars: