Monday, March 06, 2006

The Aftermath: Post-Oscar Analysis '06

Another New Year’s. Another Valentine’s Day. Another Academy Awards. Yet, despite an overall unappreciative atmosphere, a few aspects made the night unique. For starters, Jon Stewart: I wouldn’t say that the man triumphed or bombed; I would, however, say that he was no Billy Crystal/Steve Martin. It seemed as though Stewart’s jokes either fell flat or went over the heads of the audience members. Perhaps, the funniest part of Stewart’s “political” emceeing came when Stephen Colbert (Stewart’s former employee) voiced the campaign commercials—with Keira Knightley’s “God-dust” being the highlight. Maybe next year, the call will go to Colbert instead of Stewart. All-in-all, Stewart provided the sophistication factor, but lacked the oomph of Crystal’s musical numbers and Martin’s energy.

Additionally, the “play-the-music-during-the-acceptance-speech” strategy worked for the time-constraint, but sucked up most of the potential emotion like a vacuum. While some winners’ microphones were cut off, some of the “team/partner” winners were not even given the chance to speak. My advice is cut down on the montages and allow the winners to speak from their hearts.

As far as surprises go, I was thrilled to hear Rachel Weisz’s name called for Supporting Actress, and delighted to see Crash take the Best Picture trophy. I, along with most, thought for sure that Brokeback would take the cake—considering it had all the elements and a heck of a lot of positive press. Conversely, the voters selected right; Crash is most definitely the best picture of 2006 and one of the very best dramas to touch the screens in a long while.

Overall, I was 16 for 21 with my predictions—gaining one over last year's forecast. Though getting 3/4 of the winners correct may be only an average percentage grade, I will take it proudly—especially considering the incorrect selections were in non-major categories.

Perhaps, the most memorable moment of the night was when Three Six Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” upset Kathleen “Bird” York’s “In the Deep” for Best Original Song. I was not surprised with this win, considering a rap song (albeit a good one in Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”) won in the past. However, the quote of the night came from Mr. Stewart saying, “For those of you keeping score at home, that is Martin Scorsese zero, Three Six Mafia one.”

For some reason, in its 78th year, the Academy Awards did not live up to its hype of being “the biggest night in entertainment.” Instead, the show lacked the gratitude and dramatic wallops that have been present in year’s prior. Call me a drama king, but weren’t you secretly wishing for Jennifer Garner to fall, someone to kiss someone unexpectedly, and something better than a rap group getting bleeped out to top the headlines? Hopefully, next year, we can do away with the unnecessary montages, keep the number of live songs to three or less, and ignite some zest into show.

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2006