Oscars Roundup

Some random impressions of the Oscar, while watching the


They shouldn't have nominees as presenters; give other actors face time;

keeps up the mystique. Great clips of old winners, as usual. But see

below for more on that.

Back in the day, only major, MAJOR stars

were solo presenters. Today we have "The Rock?" As a SOLO presenter?

I was fairly certain Amy Ryan would win for Gone, Baby Gone, and if

you didn't think Tilda Swinton, an actress I admire (and with whom I

share a birthday) wasn't surprised to find herself climbing the steps to

accept her Supporting Oscar for Michael Clayton, then you didn't look

at her face. She's a worthy winner, however. And so was Javier Bardem

for No Country For Old Men, the prohibitive favorite. Their

acceptance speeches were short and to the point. The

category of animated and live action films intrigues me. How does one get to

see them? Where do they play? How many hundreds of shorts must've been


Nice to see Josh Brolin as a presenter. He and

co-presenter James McAvoy were overlooked for nominations which they deserved.

Good to see the Coen brothers win for adapted screenplay for No

Country For Old Men, though actress/director/screenwriter Sarah Polley

would've been a nice alternative.

Sid Ganis, Academy President, didn't go

on until 9:50pm. I wish ABC would move the Barbara Walters special back

an hour, and start the Oscars at 8pm. It's always interminable and

kids on a school night have to go to sleep. You'd think Major League

Baseball were running it. Who needed that little vignette about how people

vote. Stewart was right to spoof it as "amazing."

Miley Ray Cyrus?

As a SOLO presenter? I liked her one movie... a concert film at that... but

the honor of being a solo presenter (see "The Rock" above) is, like

the word "awesome", devoid of its value.

At least the Oscars seem

finally to take a cue from the Tony Awards and have improved the staging of

nominated songs; either solo as with Amy Adams, who sang that song in

Enchanted, or Kristin Chenoweth, a Tony winner for Wicked, doing

another song from that show. They've come a long way from that awful

Snow White number with Rob Lowe, the nadir of live performances on Oscar

night. Unless you count Telly Savalas growling a song. And did you

notice how George Clooney, one of the biggest stars in the world, appeared

early as a presenter? Usually they save the megastars for the last few


Did Jonah Hill say "animation" instead of "sound editing"

when he presented?

I noticed one of the montages, by the way, showed

Peter O'Toole holding an Oscar. Last time I checked, he's been nominated

for best actor eight -- count 'em EIGHT times...But the next Oscar he

wins will, incredibly, be his first...Incidentally, all his nominations

were for best actor; no supporting roles. That's a star! But his long

drought is in contrast to Hilary Swank: 2 nominations=2 wins.


other years, we saw some of the movie scenes we've already shown

on REEL TALK; usually it adds to the luster to see scenes never before

broadcast. Perhaps the small window which now exists between theatrical

release and DVD availability has something to do with that.


featured The Counterfeiters on last week's REEL TALK, and I'm delighted

it won for Best Foreign Language film. It brought to light "Operation

Bernhard," the Nazis' sinister plot to flood the UK with counterfeit

Pound notes, made by imprisoned Jewish engravers, counterfeiters and

other craftsmen, saved from the gas chambers by their skills. Just when you

think that every part of the story of World War II has been turned

into at least one movie, along comes a brilliant one like this.

I still

think they should perform all five nominated songs in condensed

versions in one medley; performing all of them makes the evening ENDLESS...I

remember watching the movie Once down at NYU; not the usual place to

see a movie. That that song won the Oscar, competing against three from

Enchanted, is the biggest upset of the evening. And well deserved by

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova! And good for Jon Stewart to let Ms.

Irglova to come back after the commercial to get her moment of glory

and complete her remarks.

The hookup with soldiers in the field in

Iraq to present the nominees and announce the winner of Best Documentary

Short film was a first in Oscar history, to my knowledge. Nice touch.

Again, where can we see those movies? Maybe HBO, or the Sundance Channel.

"The handsomest bludgeon in town," is the way Daniel Day-Lewis

described the Oscar I suspected he'd win, even though I wasn't a fan of

the movie, its first twenty minutes notwithstanding. His tribute to his

grandfather and father, both departed, was touching. It was, it must be

said, a plum role and the favorite won.

Nice to see the Coen brothers

take home the gold. It was no surprise and unless I'm mistaken,

brothers have never won Oscars for the same picture. And though it matters

little, this reporter picked four of the top five Oscars. Proving nothing,

but there it is. My congratulations to my co-host Alison who knew all

along that her countrywoman Tilda Swinton would be a winner. If you

haven't seen No Country For Old Men, this should convince you! And now,

only 364 days until the next Oscars! As Judy Holiday said, holding

up her statuette, "It's crazy. The whole thing's crazy!"