Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oscar Mania

February has been a month of busy Sundays. The first Sunday was the Super Bowl. The second was the Grammies. The third was the Daytona 500. And today brings us the Oscars.

I like the Academy Awards as much as the next cineaste, but who on earth is watching the E! channel's coverage live from the red carpet which began eight hours before the show begins? That's as bad as Fox's marathon of pre-game coverage for the Super Bowl. Is E! planning hot scoops from the janitors and security guards? Find out whether the assistant greensman likes Scorsese's chances this year? Query the fans from Possum Grape, Arkansas, in the bleachers whether Paul Giamatti was robbed by being denied a nomination? At least Joan Rivers isn't part of this slog, but we'll get to endure her later when we want to check the schedule on the TV Guide Channel. My favorite reply to Rivers came a couple years ago when Hugh Grant flat out asked her "Joan, are you drunk?" Why don't more of her victims respond like that?

Last night the local PBS station had a show on The Aviator, the sort of puff piece with junket interviews that one only usually finds on E!. That's why they deserve millions of our tax dollars every year?

I've not seen The Aviator. In fact, I've seen precisely one candidate for any of the awards, Shrek 2, which is up for best animated feature and a best song nominee ("Accidentally in Love" by the Counting Crows). The original I thought was a lot of fun. But the sequel I didn't like at all. There's nothing new or creative at all about it. A typical idiot plot: son-in-law is hated by father-in-law and lovers struggle to overcome phony obstacles. So what. Seen it a million times. The song, however, I really liked and I hope it wins. But the Academy has weird taste in music. A song in Latin from The Omen, a hymn to the Devil, once was nominated but darker forces prevailed that year, the Oscar going to Barbara Streisand for "Evergreen." "Sweet Lelani", made popular by Bing Crosby beat the Gershwins' "They Can't Take That Away From Me." But hey, if Eminem and the former Robert Zimmerman can be Academy Award winning songwriters, why not Mr. Duritz?


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