Monday, February 27, 2012

Dan's Oscar Ruminations

Hah! Beat Skot to it!

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I went to an Oscar Pool party at Clyde Porter's West Valley Playhouse, where I'm appearing in Agatha Christie's Black Coffee for one more weekend - tickets are on sale now, Google the theatre for more info. If that seems like an inartful plug inserted into an otherwise pleasant read, well, remember that the first Academy Awards ceremony was around 20 minutes long.

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 Kodak theatre has that as a permanent installation the rest of the year. It was probably less trouble to include it than to have no number.

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.

Hey! Check me out!
 Angelina Jolie. Oh Angelina Jolie. Within seconds of her appearance, someone opened a twitter account named @AngelinaJoliesLeg. Messages like "hey, look at me!" "check me out!" and "I'm some leg, huh?" were spewing out. The women surrounding me (surprisingly no gay men in the room!) all agreed that Angelina needs a sandwich or something. I think she looks great but she ain't no action hero any more. While I'm at it, I should report that the ladies were not happy with Melissa Leo's dress.

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.

Uggie, keeping you off his Golden Globe
 Can we assume that the makers of The Artist were sure enough of themselves that they flew Uggie the dog all the way to Los Angeles and found a way to pen him backstage for the entire show, not bringing him out for any of the other wins? I think we can. I hope Uggie gets more work.

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!


  1. I gasped out "George Kuchar!" when his name appeared. I was at an Oscar Pool party in SF-- San Francisco!-- and nobody knew who he was. I was in two of his films: something that didn't get finished and BOULEVARD KISHKA.

  2. See! You and Genie! I miss out on EVERYTHING.

  3. All you had to be was any kind of dumb ol' Film major type to be in a George Kuchar joint. He was born too soon-- if he had gotten his kick-off in the days of digital filmmaking and YouTube he'd have ended up like Patrick Scott King. Then again, what he was trying to do in 16mm was pretty singular.