A quick response to the British Oscars
that we watched in preference to the Grammys, which I suppose is evidence that I value movies more than music. (And more than penises, apparently, since I also chose it over the final episode of Oz
1. Although in theory I dislike Stephen Fry, in practice he’s a bloody good presenter/raconteur/wit. When Meryl Streep was reading Charlie Kaufman’s bizarre acceptance speech and misread “I’d like to spank—I’m sorry, I’d like to thank Spike Jonze,” it took a very quick mind to quip, “Thank goodness it wasn’t William Jones.” (But can we stop pretending that Donald Kaufman exists? “Neither Charlie nor Donald are here to accept it?” Puh-lease)
2. Pedro Almodóvar is the master of puzzling poetics. Like his mystifying speech when he won the best foreign-language Oscar for All About My Mother, even when the English was correct and even though his accent had improved, what he said sounded very poetic—moonlight, darkness, Iraq, captain—but didn’t make a whole heap of sense.
3. The acting challenge of the night seemed to be for U.S. actors not to give away their personal feelings when Pedro, Gael García Bernal, and Saul Zaentz made their anti-war comments. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Connelly were particularly effective at transmitting “blank face.”
4. The BBC zoomed right in on the “losers,” and I swear there was more openly displayed disappointment on display than you get at U.S. awards shows.
5. It might be a good idea to trim the number of ancient presenters. Lord Attenborough might be the chairman of the academy, but when he repeatedly referred to the potential winner of the Carl Foreman Award as “he” or said the winner would be able to use the cash payment to fund “his” next project, he seemed unaware that one of the nominees was a “she” who’d be using it for “her” next project. Surprise, surprise, the woman didn’t win. Michael Caine wasn’t that bad, but it was puzzling to see him reading her nomination script from a piece of paper. (Last-minute changes? TelePrompTer anxiety?)
6. For an irrational reason (perhaps Billy Elliott-related), I have taken against Stephen Daldry, who always seemed to have a naff look on his face whenever the camera pointed at him. Consequently, I took an evil pleasure in Philip Glass referring to him, throughout his acceptance speech as “Michael Daldry.”
7. Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman: Bless! OK, and Catherine Zeta-Jones too.