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Monday, February 28, 2005

Live Blogging the Oscars, Part 3
The first bit of shtick in the next section was painful—not Ben Stiller-Owen Wilson as Starsky and Hutch painful, because it was at least schlocky and winking—but Chris Rock should’ve had more comeback than mere eye-rolling to Adam Sandler’s “you’re so sexy, Cat Zeta Jones” chat; and Rock’s reading of “When I was a little girl growing up in Wales” hardly compares with Celine Dion singing “When I was a little nappy-headed boy” in her Las Vegas show …

I hadn’t realized until Alexander Payne thanked his wife that he was married to Sandra Oh. It seems especially odd since, when he spoke after the preview screening of Sideways that R and I attended, he talked about the importance of credible casting—that, for example, Virginia Madsen is all the more believable in that role because she actually looks like a woman waitressing her way through graduate school (unlike, say, Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball).

Beyonce and Andrew Lloyd Webber performing their nominated song from Phantom of the Opera? More like Beauty and the Beast.

The winner for Best Cinematography seemed high, but dedicating his award to the nurses and doctors tending to his mother, in hospital for the last 45 days, was very sweet, so I’ll give him some slack.

Chris Rock’s introduction of Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayak—“You won’t be able to take your eyes off these next four presenters”—was a little tacky, but, I must admit, true. Salma certainly deserves the award for rack of the evening. (I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that. It’s Chris Rock’s influence.)

Salma’s commitment to the “Al Otro Lado del Rio,” the nominated song from The Motorcycle Diaries was a little hard to understand (and for a moment I thought she was wrong in claiming it was the first Spanish-language nominee, because I remember Lila Downs singing a song from her movie Frida in the 2003 telecast—but that was “Burn it Blue,” and the lyrics were in English). I have to give Antonio “El Cigala” Banderas credit for playing the part, but joder, the cock-rock posing from Carlos Santana and Antonio’s Argentine-accented quasi-flamenco vocal stylings were hard to take—especially for those poor souls who lack the TiVo fast-forward button.

Credit to Chris Rock for taking on the second-class award-giving in his nice riff about drive-through awards in the parking lot (“an Oscar and a McFlurry”), but it’s too bad he had to wait so long—I guess he had to wait until he came on after a winner who went on too long, in which regard the gay couple who won the Documentary Short category were happy to oblige.

Poor Jan. A.P. Kaczmarek, composer of the Best Original Score, he thought he was the first person to thank Harvey Weinstein. Actually, in the first section of the show, one of the winners of Best Art Direction thanked ‘Arvey, it’s just that his Italian accent was so strong, it was hard to make it out.

When will folks in the audience learn not to applaud the folks pictured in the In Memoriam section? It leads to uncomfortable displays of relative affection—OK, so Ossie Davis got more applause than Ronald Reagan, but so did Jerry Orbach. And the live music? Love him, but next year I think we should have less YoYo and more ByeBye.

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