Monday, February 25, 2008

Periscopes & Binoculars

Guessed correctly 13 out of the 21 Oscar categories I bothered to predict....not bad, though I should have done better. Proudest of upset picks Tilda Swinton for Supporting Actress (to paraphrase Wesley Snipes, always bet on the Brit) and Robert Elswit for Cinematography (poor Roger Deakins cancelled himself out). Should have kept my original Atonement pick for musical score, and botched a couple more of the techie categories. As for Marion Cotillard, in retrospect, we all should have seen it coming, if any of us had seen the movie.

Nevertheless, happy for No Country, happy for Daniel Day. Good to see Jon Stewart more relaxed this time, roaming freely around the stage rather than clinging to a podium, playing more to the crowd than the TV audience. A very montage-heavy show, redeemed by "A Salute to Periscopes and Binoculars" -- for me the comic high point. (Low point? The awful, awful Enchanted numbers.) And whether by Stewart's doing or someone else's, letting Markéta Irglová return to give her acceptance speech for Best Song after being cut off by the orchestra was genuine class amid an atmosphere always reeking with phoniness. I certainly agree that we don't want to go back to interminable acceptance speeches along the lines of Dustin Hoffman's rambling bore-a-thons of yore, but when there's more than one winner on stage, cut them a little slack on the time limit. Especially the likes of Irglova, a charming presence who may never be there again.

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