71st Academy Awards Show
by Ginger Marin
Host Whoppi Goldberg is a phenomenon as an actor and comedienne. As the host of the biggest awards show on earth, she's a drag. She laughs at her own jokes and they aren't even funny. And she doesn't keep the action going because she's too busy with her "dramatic" or "comedic" pauses that leave everyone hanging, hoping she'd just get on with it already. One last note before I move on - her crude humor on at least one occasion was unwelcome and surely doesn't belong before an audience of about a billion people.
Some Winners and Losers
Best Stage Presentation:
Patrick Stewart of "Star Trek" fame when he introduced film clips for "Shakespeare in Love" and "Elizabeth"- Why? He's English; he's dashing; he looks great and speaks impeccably.
Cutest Stage Presentation:
Characters from "A Bug's Life" introduced the nominees for Animated short film - Why? Seeing a bevy of colorful, squiggly creatures carrying an envelope onto the stage and coping with opening it was worth the moment.
Funniest Stage Presentation:
Jim Carrey when he introduced best Film Editing by reminding the Academy, in not so subtle ways, that he was not even nominated for his role in "The Truman Show" - Why? Jim Carrey does not know the meaning of "subtle".
By comedian Chris Rock who called director Elia Kazan a "rat" before a billion people in reference to Kazan's getting an achievement award despite informing on colleagues during the 1950's witch hunt for communists - Why? Wrong place, wrong time, bud.
Presenter, Actress Andie MacDowell - Why? It gave her the effect of "Bride of Frankenstein".
Worst Technical Gaffe:
Wavering audio when Anne Heche presented Technical Achievement Awards and the strange white halo effect that appeared on all the presenters' waistlines - a reflection from the glass top of the presenters' table (?).
Worst Stage Idea:
International dancing approach to Best Picture musical scores - Why? The music didn't lend itself to this kind of presentation. Translation: it didn't work.
Second Worst Stage Idea:
Val Kilmer bringing on the Trigger-lookalike for a tribute to Roy Rogers - Why? A nervous horse on stage just doesn't cut it and secondly - they both looked stupid.
Whoopi's black feathered shoulder dress - Why? Super Ugly!
Presenter Helen Hunt - Why? Her hair was a mess, too dark eye makeup, too loose dress on top.
Most Elegant Look - Woman:
Presenter Catherine Zeta Jones (of Mask of Zorro fame) - Why? The right color and cut of dress, nice hair, sharply put together overall.
Most Elegant Look - Man:
Presenters Kevin Costner and Patrick Stewart - Why? Because they both have class and look comfortable wearing it.
From Norman Jewison receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Award - Why? He told up and coming filmmakers to forget the box office, forget the gross - just find a good story. Yeah, right! Everybody clapped heartily Sunday evening but you can bet that by Monday morning that advice will be forgotten and every Hollywood mogul or mogul-pretender will still be looking for the sex, violence and nudity.
To Frank Sinatra - Why? He was the best!
Worst Edited Scene:
The Scene that introduced "Saving Private Ryan" for Best Picture - Why? Of all the fantastic sequences, great emotional scenes, they chose one that showed none of the film's greatness. Even Steven Spielberg look annoyed.
Roberto Benigni for "Life is Beautiful" - Why? I think the Academy voted for him to add some life to the ceremonies and because it is looking for its new "can't do anything wrong" person. In the past it was Quentin Tarrentino.
Most Exuberant Acceptance:
Roberto Benigni - Why? He's Italian and crazy.
Best Supporting Actor:
James Coburn - Why? Because the Academy still loves giving out sympathy or sentimental awards. He should have gotten a lifetime achievement award if anything - but his performance in "Affliction" was not the role for which he should have won.
Gwyneth Paltrow for "Shakespeare in Love" - Why? She really was terrific in an equally terrific role...and it was a toss up for me between her and Cate Blanchett.
Most Emotional Acceptance:
Gwyneth Paltrow - Why? She appeared to be truly moved by the honor so much so that she thanked each and everyone in her family including Grandpa. I guess children of famous people have a real reason to do that.
Best Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench for "Shakespeare in Love" - Why? Dench is a gifted actress regardless of how small the role. But, I think they gave her the award this year because they didn't give it to her last year for "Her Majesty Mrs. Brown".
Best Acceptance Speech:
Judi Dench - Why? Eloquent, concise and intelligent.
Best Song / Best Duet:
Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston singing "When You Believe" from "Prince of Egypt" - Why? Great voices, 2 beautiful women in nearly matching white satin gowns ...oh yeah, and a very lovely song indeed. It won.
Best Director: Steven Spielberg
Why? He deserved it for his tour de force direction on "Saving Private Ryan".
Best Picture: "Shakespeare in Love"
Why? More unique in subject than a WWII drama.
Best Foreign Film: "Life is Beautiful"
Why? Because Roberto did good P.R. and Hollywood loves enthusiastic, grateful people.
The Elia Kazan Controversy:
The Academy should have had the sensitivity to know that it was scrubbing salt in old wounds and Kazan should have had the sensitivity to know that he was the salt.
Foreign Film/Actor Nominees at the Academy Awards:
I believe that the Acadmey Awards are for American films and that Foreign categories should remain just that - Why? The voting process is such that Academy members don't have the same control of choices as they do for American films. It's up to the individual countries own film commissions/entities to submit their single best film for consideration. It's a flawed process and furthermore, American audiences are not as savvy about foreign films and that too should warrant their exclusion from a single category. But that's just me.