I came in 81st in the Oscar Pool, even though I got all but George Clooney right in the main categories. I got my ass kicked! Not surprising, though, considering I work in television.
The key to guessing best picture is not picking what you thought was truly best, but most cloying. Having watched every nominee with the exception of Good Night and Good Luck, I found Crash the film most in possession of that treacley je ne sais quoi. That "Angels in America" patina.
You know that famous line in the play that goes: "There are Angels in America" where the audience is manipulated into a frisson of narrative gestalt.
In Crash they use the similar device: "People crash into each other for some kind of human contact". Ew. Not just contrived, but seemingly inaccurate. Same frickin' plastic bag dancing in the wind.
Jon Stewart as Oscar host was pretty much Jon Stewart doing his own daily show. Which I love. But the Oscar audience was a tough crowd. Usually the hosts are people like Billy Crystal who work in Hollywood, or like Letterman who spend their lives bolstering the institution.
But Stewart spends his life poining out the hypocrisies and absurdities of powerful instutions. Whatever those actors and movie-people might think the rest of the year, Oscar night is all about "Hooray for Hollywood" - they want to buy into it, not feel an uncomfortable critical awareness of the superficiality of it all.
That said, I thought the interperative dancers in every musical number were awesome - so laughably bad, it kind of made up for the banal bingo-calling of thank you's.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - was anyone surprised he's a mama's boy?
I helped arrange a baby shower for Yvonne yesterday and there were many birth stories to be heard - rips and tears and bloody messes. So when I saw Hoffman thank his mother, all I could think was what a ginormous head his mother had to pass through the birth canal. And at his request, I saluted her too.