An Oscar Reaction Essay by Dr. Daniel
(Mar. 23, 1999)
All right, folks... I know you're just dying to ask me what I thought of the Oscars® this year. Well, seeing as how I had to watch them over at Martha Nell's house again this year instead of actually getting to see them live, I can't give you all the inside story that I had hoped to be able to. Yes, friends, for the third straight year, the ol' Doc got shut out of the Mighty Press Corps, despite having my application in five days ahead of time and printed neatly in triplicate, just like they asked.
So, I loaded up my chili con queso dip and my port wine cheese ball and headed over to Martha Nell's Oscar party. I managed to claim the one good chair/ottoman combination in the Burch living room, got myself situated, and, wonder of wonders, Martha Nell even let me run the prediction contest this year, so nobody got into any big rabble over who chose what documentary short subject, despite having seen nary a one of them.
But that's neither here nor there...
What you're looking for is my reactions, my comments, my observations -- and boy do I have some.
Well, for the last Oscar telecast of this century, this one was all but forgettable. Heck, go on and forget it. Let's go watch some movies!
Get "reel" soon,
- Let's get this straight before anything else is said. Attention ABC-TV, chuck that thirty-minute pre-show mess next year, okay? You defeat the whole purpose of moving them to Sunday night and cramming Barbara Walters into the 7:00 hour. You got an extra hour, you wasted half of it, and you still managed to go past midnight. Here's a thought -- cut Barbara to a half-hour at 7:00, start the awards at 7:30. That gives you three and a half hours before 11:00. Even if you run long, you still get through before the dawn of crack.
- Here's another thought to keep your time shorter -- feel free to lose that interpretive dance crap. I need a flabby flamenco and a rasta tap dancer like I need to hack the heel off my foot with a carpet knife.
- Whoopi, where did you crack open that lame patter? My second cousin, Ernie, does better stand-up in his sleep. And he's missing his two front teeth. Thankfully, you know how to tell a self-deprecating joke when you drop a bomb. The unfortunate result was more mortar than Thin Red Line and Private Ryan combined.
- Roberto, we loved your movie and your performance in it. Now, buy a phrase book before you come back. The Yakov Smirnoff impression was annoying, and the standing up every time your name was mentioned was just plain stupid. I'm happy for your win, but try to keep your adrenaline in check. Marisa Tomei also won an Oscar once. Anyone seen her lately?
- On the whole Elia Kazan "controversy" -- to all those "politically correct" actors who decided to silently protest by not even acknowledging the man's achievements in film: if the community of Hollywood and the members of the film industry were to be judged solely on the worst decision they ever made, who would still be in the business today? I'd love to hear how Nick "Red Scare" Nolte would answer that....
- Steven Tyler rocks. 'Nuff said.
- But tell me this: how can you put the same face on two people and on one it's absolutely stunning (Liv Tyler) and on the other it's a friggin' nightmare (Steven Tyler)?
- Chris Rock need never step foot on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion again. Some may think him to be the "edgiest" comic going, but he was desperately unfunny, and his shtick made the crowd more uncomfortable than the Kazan tribute.
- I am really getting weary of the galling way people are forced to fly through their "thank you" speeches. I realize they sometimes get long-winded, but, honestly, thirty seconds to acknowledge people, coming five seconds after you just won the most coveted prize in all of Moviedom? And that rude play-off music? Were I to win a Golden Boy, it will take five minutes for me just to say "Kiss my spangly butt!" to all the people I need to tell it to, let alone thank anyone. Just try getting me off that stage.... Instead of rushing the acceptance speeches, let's ditch a few of those overblown production numbers.
- Anne Heche did a beautifully graceful job of coping with her fritzed-up mike. (Ironic that it was during the recognition for technical achievement.) Not many would have been able to go on without "a minute to gather themselves."
- Note to stage manager: avoid the ironic. Don't try moving Aerosmith's equipment off the stage during the Best Sound category, especially if you're gonna drop cymbals and amps.
- Note to stage manager, part deux: don't matter whose horse it is; give him a sedative before it beats the celebrity to death.
- Do we really need more gimmick presenters? Beavis and Butthead, Flik, Bart the Bear, the T-Rex, Trigger, etc. It might have seemed humorous at one time. Now, it's tired.
- This year's winner for the Ashley Judd Knock-Out Ballgown Zowie Award goes to Renee Zellwegger. I'll say it again: Zowie!
- Mariah Carey, honey, try Jenny Craig before you try on the dress... Rule of thumb: you cannot pull a condom over a pineapple without poppin' the rubber.
- My hat's off to James Coburn for finally getting the gold, and having the class to make a smooth and kingly speech, with nary a one-armed pushup, I might add.
- Another outstanding speech came from the mouth of Judi Dench, whose British brevity scored big points.
- The capper acceptance speech had to be from Gwyneth Paltrow. With such heartfelt emotion boiling in her bloodstream, it's easy to see why she's this year's Best Actress.
- Yes, I missed Billy Crystal's montage where he appears in all of the films. Yes, it is my favorite part of his hosting, and, yes, he is the best host. Even Whoopi acknowledged it -- Billy's better. Pray tell me there is no push for Rosie O'Donnell next year. Please, please promise me that much.... Chant with me now: Bil-LY, Bill-LLY! BILL-LLLY!!
- As bad as she was, I gotta give kudos to Whoopi (or whoever wrote her lines) for the bonus tribute to Gene Siskel. It was one of the more meaningful points of the show, one I didn't think would happen because of Gene's "critic" status.
- I didn't realize they were making a sequel to Taxi Driver. It's gotta be that, 'cause De Niro didn't ask for that haircut, did he?
- And, finally, I gotta say I was stunned that Saving Private Ryan didn't win Best Picture. Now, I'll gladly admit that Shakespeare in Love was a wonderful movie, but I think this slight is gonna go down in the annals alongside the '81 Oscars when Raging Bull was overlooked in favor of Ordinary People.