I don’t generally find awards shows to be that interesting. They’re generally bold-faced self-congratulatory spectator sports. The biggest and best known, (if not one of the oldest) bold-faced self-congratulatory spectator-driven, entertainment awards show of the year is the Academy Awards. Awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the show awarding the golden statues of The Oscars are now an American Institution. Reams of paper, hours of television, and countless conversations will be focused on who said what, who won what, and who wore what. Sure, this is a self-congratulatory show that we get to attend only as distant observers, but it’s supposed to be for the members of the Academy, not us. They get to vote and congratulate their own, and to recognize excellence in motion picture making, including acting, directing, screewriting, editing, musical score, costume design, and so forth.
I am sure there are politics involved, but in the end, there are just a finite number of Oscars given out, and those who win them may find their lives changed for better or for worse, forever by winning won (or losing one).
If I got these facts right, the Academy Awards began in Los Angeles way back in 1929 and they were first televised for “the masses” to view on NBC in 1953. The glitz and glamour of it all, spawaned by the powerful and highly effective publicity machines of the studios, especially back in “the day” focused the nation and then the world’s attention on a select group of entertainers and directors. In the past,these awards shows were eagerly awaited by countesses and cleaning ladies, actors and the ladies at the old age homes, almost equally. The awards were only a part of the appeal. The rest included political protests, inappropriate behavior of various types, incomprehensible (and long) rants by winners, glamorous gowns and jewels, and outfits worn by both presenters and nominees so odd they garnered more press than the actual winners (eg. Cher’s famous barely-there dress and feather headdress).
Ah, but last night’s show was safe and secure, bland and boring At least that’s how it was in my opinion, a bystander watching in an apartment so far from Los Angeles you couldn’t get much farther away on the opposite coast. I think the show mirrored what’s happening throughout the country right now, a cautious, semi-depressed approach to today and perhaps, the future. It was safe, but it wasn’t exciting. The best moment was when tuxedo’d host Ellen DeGeneres asked Steven Spielberg to take her photo with Clint Eastwood to post on her myspace.com page. Yes, she actually has one. So do I: http://www.myspace.com/alisonsadvice
Mine has some good photos too, but none with celebrities like Steven or Clint or Ellen, of course. If they’d like to pose with me though, I’d be delighted to add them to my myspace.com page as well, and I’ll even supply the camera!
The other moment that sticks in my mind most from the Oscars is Ms. DeGeneres, who was actually an affable, fast-paced, upbeat host, vacuming the front row and asking Penelope Cruz to hold up her dress so it wouldn’t get sucked into the machine. I have no idea why she was vacuuming (it really wasn’t that funny of a gag) but it was more interesting to watch the comedienne do that, than suffer through the necessary but boring “thank-you” acceptance speechesthat were mercifully) cut off by music after just a few minutes of “blah, blah blah-ing” about people the millions of people at home don’t know or care about. I wished I’d been the one with something else to do besides listen to the endless acceptance speeches…even if it was housework.
I did like the human sculptures by Philobolus, made in the timely themes of the nominated best pictures, was also great.
And what of the fashions? Eh, yecchh….pale, bland and boring, mostly. A few too many jewelled necklines on otherwise uninteresting gowns, too many one-shoulder numbers, and ladies, look here: the messy bun look is getting tired, along with unglam, minimal makeup. I mean, if you’re going to wear thousands of dollars in jewels and fabric, at last wear a lipstick that looks like you cared, and not just the beige gloss you’d wear with your jeans. Yes, everyone was playing it safe with appearance, including the long hair-extensioned look on Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow (who looked like she didn’t have time to do anything with hers as it hung like long draperies, on her slim frame). Even the most interesting outfit wasn’t really atttractive, but you have to give Meryl Streep her “props” for wearing something long and black by Prada, along with artsy, quite large pendant and bead necklaces (Meryl, where did you get them….I want some too!). Sort of “hippy-ish” it at least had originality and charm going for it, and it was far more sophisticated than the little, dingly, dangly diamonds that many of the presenters and nominees wore. The “older woman” look made me think that the oscar winning actress, Helen Mirren, had become too much a part of her Queen character. The pale, beaded champagne Christian Lacroix gown fit her fine, but the frumpy gown looked like a fancy mother of the bride dress that the real Queen might have worn. I’m glad Helen Mirren won for her role in “The Queen”(she really was wonderful) but the dress, was a definite loser. Other than Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (in a bright red, column of a gown with a huge bow at the neck that only she could carry off well), the dresses looked like the average assortment you’d find at an upscale charity event…albeit with a few more baubles and longer trains. Jennifer Hudson, for example, wore a drapey Oscar de la Renta dress in a sort of bronze-y brown that hung like it was just an ordinary (and cheao) ready-to-wear bridesmaids dress. I would have loved to have seen her in some color and glitz as a “dreamgirl” should.
The men fared a bit better. After all, who doesn’t look good in a tuxedo? Apparently, that was the same thought that crossed host Ellen DeGenere’s mind, since she wore three of them: wine, white, and blue.
I stayed up to the very end, but like the winning movie, it was a predictable finish.