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Last night's ceremony, which was a little stripped down compared to previous years, seemed zippier than usual. Perhaps they didn't have time to weigh things down the way they always do - Brett Ratner was going to produce the ceremony and Eddie Murphy was going to host, but the Gay community just didn't like that and Ratner was forced out, while Murphy quit in solidarity. It's interesting that Billy Crystal didn't address that little controversy in his monolog! Normally, it's exactly where he'd go for the big laughs. Probably would have played great to the room, lousy to the flyover cities.
As a result the Academy had to stick to the basics, even eschewing the nominated song presentations that normally thrill/mortify us all. The only big production number was an elaborate Cirque Du Soleil stunner from their show Iris, and it happens that the
The two big winners of the night were a movie about the early days of moviemaking and a 3D movie about the early days of moviemaking.
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Couldn't put my finger on what didn't work with the Christopher Guest Ensemble's bit about market testing the Wizard of Oz; but I know what I didn't like about Robert Downey and Gwynneth Paltrow's documentary gag. That was just bad chemistry. I bet you anything that Ben Stiller's gag about the Planet of the Apes makeup not being ready in time was true.
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Plastic surgery creeps me out.
I learned from the In Memorium segment that George Kuchar has passed away! A unique underground filmmaker for the better part of 50 years, he was heavily influenced by glossy soap opera films like Imitation of Life and Stella Dallas, the exact kind of movie that the Academy honored to the skies in their day. Of course, in the Kucharverse these movies were insane parodies, characterized by fevered overacting and impossible eyebrows. I think maybe George took some of the dark side of glamor with him. I hope it's not gone for good!