Feb 22, 2009

Spying On The Oscars - Live

I hadn't planned on live-blogging the Oscars, but there have already been a couple of spy moments, so I guess I might as well... just mentioning the spy-related stuff. Everyone's live-blogging, but I doubt anyone else is taking that approach! Keep refreshing.

Saw Daniel Craig lurking in the background on the red carpet, so he'll probably be a presenter...

I loved the inclusion of Eva Green as Vesper Lynde at the end of that montage of accountant clips introducing the Price-Waterhouse guys (or wherever they're from this year).

There was just a TV spot for the Nicolas Cage movie Knowing. Hasn't he already made this movie like six times before? It's kind of like a "Best of Nicholas Cage" movie: part National Treasure, part Next, part everything else...

Hugh Jackman looks good in a tux. I think he could have been Bond in another reality.

It's good to see Eva Marie Saint, who still looks good 50 years after North By Northwest, but not good enough to justify not showing clips of the nominated performances! What's up with that? If the whole night is going to be past winners describing scenes from the nominated movies instead of actually showing them, then we're in for a really long night... I hate that.

Here's Daniel! Looking very Bondian in his tuxedo. Presenting the Oscar for Art Direction with Sarah Jessica Parker. The one category that Quantum of Solace really should have been nominated for! Still, a lot of good candidates.

They're also presenting costume design. And make-up! The Academy's getting a lot of mileage out of 007 and Carrie Bradshaw. "We don't have to tell you what a make-up artist does," says Sarah.

"Just look at us," deadpans Daniel. I love hearing James Bond talk about Hellboy! (Hellboy II is nominated for make-up. Too bad it didn't win.)

There's some Pierce Brosnan in the romance montage, from Mama Mia. I wonder if he's there? I wish they'd had Brosnan and Craig present together. That would have been cool! And Michael Caine could have united them, the way he did with Roger Moore and Sean Connery when the three buddies appeared as co-presenters back in the Eighties...

Seth Rogan and James Franco (in their stoner characters from Pineapple Express) mentioned Bond in their hilarious short film about comedies that weren't nominated. They're getting stoned and watching bootlegs, including Mama Mia. "It stars James Bond and that chick from Doubt," says Rogan. Then Spielberg's go-to cinematographer Janusz Kaminski shows up in their apartment and things get really hilarious. This is so weird! And awesome. Then the three of them take the stage together. What an odd combination!

Lots of Bond clips in the action montage, along with Indy and even Transporter 3! Really, who thought we'd be seeing Tranporter 3 in an Academy Awards show? Cool! I actually found the clips from the opening car chase in Quantum of Solace easier to follow here, in this quick-cut clip montage, than they were in the actual movie! Now that says something. And that was all leading into the Visual Effects Oscar, presented by Will Smith. 007's special effects coordinator Chris Corbould is nominated for The Dark Knight... but he doesn't win.

I love Alias's Michael Giacchino, who's serving as the musical director for tonight's awards show, but I miss hearing the themes of the winning films accompanying the winners to the stage!

Liam Neeson is presenting Best Foreign Film and starts off by speaking French. Is that sort of an apology for tearing up Paris and urging Americans never to go there in Taken? They introduced him as "Academy Award Nominee," so I guess that means he's never won an Oscar. That's weird!

Time for the memorial reel... Lots of spy stars here, sadly... BUT THEY'RE NOT SHOWING THEM! What the hell? There's Quiller Memorandum writer Harold Pinter... and Paul Newman, of course (where's that DVD of The Prize Warner promised two years ago?)... but where's John Phillip Law??? Where's Patrick McGoohan? Yes, he died this year, but Ricardo Monteblan died the same day and they showed him! And, yes, he's better known for TV, but he did plenty of movies! Seriously, what the hell? That's an outrage. Not only that, but the whole thing was handled unbelievably badly. Queen Latifah did fine and "I'll Be Seeing You" (which would have been so appropriate for McGoohan!) was a good choice of song, but they should have just shown the tribute reel on screen, not her performing. It was nearly impossible to read some of the names on a TV screen! That's really offensive. What's normally a really moving part of the ceremony was just annoying instead. It's a huge failure on the part of this year's producers all around. Frankly, I'm disgusted. This puts a cloud over the whole broadcast.

Sophia Loren always looks great, even 40+ years after her spy role in Arabesque. And she's always classy. But I still don't like this past-winner-talking-about-the-nominated-performance thing instead of showing clips of the performances!

It's tough to end the show with soundless clips of next year's movies. Montages like this work well for movies we've already seen and know from the previous years, but it's a tough way to promote upcoming ones. That said, those brief glimpses of Sherlock Holmes looked pretty to me! But... are there no big spy movies coming out this year? I guess not, really. Unless you count State of Play. That's surprising, what with everything that's in development for the next year!

Well... that's it. No Pierce Brosnan. Not even Judi Dench amidst all those previous winners. (There was Halle Berry, though.) Not as much spy stuff as I thought there might be. As for the show? Well, I admire the desire to do something different, but this wasn't it. Hugh Jackman was OK, and I did like how they demonstrated the screenwriting, but the whole show was pretty poor. They definitely need to bring back clips of the actors next year, and they need to do the memorial reel right!


Delmo said...

Wow-no McGoohan? Bad move, academy.

Armstrong Sabian said...

I agree on the poor presentation. What was the point of panning across a TV screen? JUST SHOW US THE VIDEO!