Observations on the 2004 Oscars

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Since maybe some of you don't have the patience for a three-hour telecast, here are my reflections on the event.

First, the monologue. Generally, it was funny. Politically speaking, it was reasonably balanced. During his monologue, Chris Rock did a good ten-minute riff on Bush. ("Just imagine if you work at the Gap…and when you close up for the day, your register is $75 trillion dollars short.") The audience seemed to love it (surprised?). He did a very mild jab at Michael Moore, but only after saying nice things about his movie.

He also said some nice things about the film "The Passion of the Christ," and Jesus in general, to provide balance. And on a more personal level, if he ever zinged anybody, like Cuba Gooding, he managed to turn it around on himself before he was done.

One of the most offensive commercials I've ever seen was for Pepsi, early in the show. It presents the set of an old Roman-times movie, with lots of extras sitting around the desert. Two Roman officers ride up, and announce that someone left their lunch at the last location. It contains a sandwich and a Pepsi--still cold. And the name on the bag is Spartacus. Then they insert that piece from the classic Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus, where the Romans demand to know which of the captured slaves is Spartacus. Kirk Douglas says, "I am Spartacus." Tony Curtis (I think) chimes in, "No, I am Spartacus." One by one, all of the captured slaves claim to be Spartacus, the leader of the slave rebellion. And you see a tear trickle down Kirk Douglas's face as he realizes that no one is willing to let him bear the punishment alone. (Although in the commercial, he is sad because he doesn’t get the Pepsi.) In the movie, the hundred or so slaves, including Spartacus, are then crucified by the Romans, but they're still winners, in a way, because they died as men, not slaves. To take a moment like this, and turn it into a shill for Pepsi, just makes me SICK.

Then later they did a slightly less offensive commercial, with diet Pepsi cans dancing in the cooler to Blitzkrieg Bop. I'm sure the Ramones would be proud. At least most of them are dead and don't have to watch this crap. Kirk Douglas is still alive.

A lot of the time-saving techniques they brought in this year were okay, but I was pissed at a few. How can you give the award for Makeup without showing a SINGLE example of the makeup from any of the films, including the winner? That's just wrong. I don't care about the winners; I want to see examples of the finest work in film for the year. If we have time for ALL FIVE of the best song nominees, at least three of which always suck, and this year three of them being sung by Beyonce (apparently there are no other singers in need of work?), then they have time to show some of the makeup from the 3 nominated films.

For best song, the winner was the writer of the first Spanish-language song ever nominated, for "Al Otro Lado del Rio," a song from The Motercycle Diaries. It was sung by Antonio Banderas accompanied by Carlos Santana. The winner, instead of giving a speech, just sang a bit of his song (very well, I might add). It was very classy. I was glad he won.

Jamie Fox's speech was also classy. But I couldn't help noticing that they didn't play music when he ran long. They didn't give Hilary Swank the same kind of leeway. What, you have to be thanking your dead grandma to get cut some slack? How about giving the top four awards (best actor and actress, director, and picture) a full two minutes if they want to take it?

Aw, man, Clint Eastwood brought his MOM along…...she's 96. Whoa. I hope when I'm 96, my child brings me to the Oscars. Of course, since I'm unlikely to have a child at this point, I'll settle for some young hunk bringing me to the Oscars. I can't decide who, because the lucky guy is probably yet unborn. Demi Moore, eat your heart out!

My god, the Oscars were predictable this year--and not in a good way. But they did keep it down to 3 hours, 10 minutes. That's gotta be some kind of modern record. Chris Rock did an okay job--nothing spectacular, but a very reasonably good job. Funny enough, not stupid, he generally kept the right tone. Maybe with all the controversy, he didn't feel right about letting go completely...which might have been the best way to go.


Posted by grignack on 2005-03-02 21:46:21
Yea he made the Gap comment but he had them go to war with Bananna Republic.... which is the same company..... he was not talking about a civil war I would think that he would research these things.
Posted by wizeGurl on 2005-03-03 21:53:13
An excellent point, grignack.


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