1998 Oscar Reaction
What's Rattlin' Around My Noggin'
Well, it's 1:15 in the AM, and I just got home from Martha Nell's annual Oscar® Watchin' Party. I've eaten my way through a Hickory Farms Beef Stick and two plates of taco salad (a specialty of Martha Nell's - lots of black olives and not too many jalapeños). I just gave Orson a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and I thought I'd sit down with you folks and discuss the Big Night. The statues have all been delivered and are on their respective ways home, and all that's left is to pick the night apart.
First let me say this. ABC, if you do not sign Billy Crystal to some exclusive contract to host this thing for the next eon years, you are crazy. He proved again that he can make this thing work from the opening minute, didn't he? Don't screw this up like you've done in the past. Forget all the hooraw and sign the man.
While we're on the subject, whoever it is that came up with the idea to put Billy into all the different movies, better dang sure get a fat Christmas bonus. It's one of the best things in the show, it's funny, and starts the show off with a high note. Bravo, hombre.
As disappointed as I was that Gloria Stuart lost, it was a pleasure to see Miss Kimmy, Georgia's juciest peach, finally get a reward for a first-rate acting job. Sure, she's done crap in the past, but it seems like she's getting her act together now. Now maybe she oughta start picking scripts for her hubby.
Another production note - whoever came up with the idea to spread the Big Four acting awards throughout the night ought to get a big ol' sloppy kiss on the mouth. Finally, somebody put the knife to the snore zone between 9:45 and 11:15, when they used to cram all the makeup and sound and stuff. Now, there isn't the high at the beginning and the end with zip in the middle. It kept the show sparked. Still long as a Colorado Rockies home game, mind you, but sparked.
Ashley Judd looked good enough to sop up with a biscuit. (This probably means nothing to a lot of you, but I just had to say it.)
Note to Madonna, Queen of the Vile: You are presenting an Oscar on international television. Buy a damn hairbrush and some Liquid Prell, why don't you? A caucasian woman trying to grow dreadlocks just looks stupid. And give Red Sonja back her outfit, while you're at it. Bonehead....
Thank you, Academy Voters, for not using Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's age as a reason not to honor one of the best original scripts of the past ten years. Their script was wise far beyond their years. Their age only makes the triumph that more miraculous.
I finally liked some of the montages. I do, however, have to question one point. During the "best picture" montage, the audience clapped for The Sound of Music. Silence for Casablanca and Gone With The Wind. Tumbleweeds for Going My Way and You Can't Take It With You. Cricket chirps for The Best Years of Our Lives and Rebecca. Applause for The Sound of Music? Exactly how old was this audience? Does black and white still scare these people that much?
Loved the "Animal stars" montage. Am I the only one that was waiting for that bear to wind up and slap that trainer's head into the third row? (Yeah, I hear you groaning, but you know dang well that it'd be the first time that you'd talk about the show for more than one day....)
Spike Lee to the white courtesy phone. Spike Lee....
For the next telecast, there is no need to hire airy a dancer. Director Boy, you made a mockery of the Best Original Score-Musical or Comedy category with the "interpretive dance" horsepuckey. The Score categories deserved the same presentation, an orchestra playing selected pieces from the music as scenes are shown. Danny Elfman does not need interpretation, thank you. You screwed the pooch last year with the Lard of the Dance, and you only made it worse with that lot of Solid Gold rejects. Phew.
When they rolled out that platform with all the old Oscar winners sitting there, I bet that, at least three times, this phrase was said: "I thought he/she was dead!" And while we're at this moment of the show, I would like to thank Rod Steiger for wearing his dress T-shirt and disco medallion.
Best moments of the night
Robin Williams' finally rendered speechless in the awe of the moment.
The looks of love and admiration on the faces of Alec Baldwin and Hank Azaria as their respective lady loves got the respect they deserve for their talents.
The way James Cameron stayed very quiet when he won the editing award. His entire persona read, "Ain't through yet, people."
Stanley Donnen's song and dance.
The utter joy of the moment when Affleck and Damon won. Cuba Gooding, Jr. times two.
Kate Winslet. Nothing she did. Just wearing that tight green dress. Oh, to be sand in that hourglass...
Celine Dion stealing another Oscar® moment out from under every other musical performer.
Bad moments of the night
What was up with that godawful podium lighting? Here we have the best lookin' people on the planet made to look like members of a police lineup.
The deflated look Burt Reynolds got when Robin Williams won. Remarkably, the same look Lauren Bacall had when Juliette Binoche won last year.
The perpetually irritating tech guys who elbow in front of their partners and crewmates, droning on and on, leaving their cohorts to feeble waves or a quick "Thanks, Jim" as the music cues up.
The redundancy of the Titanic jokes wore thin about Hour One. They went on through Hour Four. Get new material.
And the worst moment of the night