The Oscars 2007 Recap
By Alan Bacchus
The Oscars were handed out last night. Let’s examine some of the minor stories to come out of the big night. Yes, yes, yes. Martin Scorsese wins finally. Detractors like the Liam Lacey at the Globe & Mail dismiss the win as based on his reputation only. Sure “The Departed” is not on par with “Goodfellas” or “Raging Bull,” but it is his most successful film to date, and standing alone, compared with the other nominees damn right he deserves it. Did he take the award away from anyone else who deserved it more, no, though I’d argue Paul Greengrass, but he’ll get one another day.
Now that we’ve gotten the obvious out of the way, let’s dissect the nitty-gritty. First, congrats to George Miller for winning his first Oscar. Who is George Miller? He won for “Happy Feet,” but he’s also creator of the “Mad Max” films and the “Babe” films. He’s a terrific director who unfortunately over the course of his career has been spartan in his output (usually making a film every 5 years). As a result, he’s like a Terrence Malick or Milos Forman of Australian film. He makes films on his own terms and doesn’t sell out to make a buck. He’s also the grandfather of Australian cinema, and has helped start the careers of Philip Noyce, Chris Noonan, Nicole Kidman and Mel Gibson among others. Good on him.
Poor Guillermo del Toro. His technical team won three Oscars that night before it was his turn to step up to the podium for best foreign language film, until “The Lives of Others” shocked everyone, including Clive Owen the presenter, and won. Though I liked “Lives of Others” better, I really wanted the genre-loving del Toro to win an Oscar. The thought of the director of “Hellboy” winning an Oscar? So sad, sorry Guillermo.
Poor Eddie Murphy. Even more shame that he was featured so prominently on Barbara Walter’s pre-game special. Back to donkeys and fatsuits for Eddie.
For a split second there, I thought the corpse of Peter O’Toole (he looked dead) was going to steal the award from Forest Whitaker. Thank god that didn’t happen. Sorry Peter. You are already cinema royalty for playing Lawrence of Arabia, you don’t need an Oscar.
Oh those Dreamgirls. First not getting nominated for Best Picture, losing Eddie’s award to Alan Arkin and the worst embarrassment, after the 10 minute-3 song medley featuring the reunion of the cast, they lose all three of their Best Song nominations to Melissa Etheridge. There must have been a serious hate-on for Dreamgirls in Hollywood. It’s a pretty good movie, but the hype machine PR just overdosed. A lesson to the studios – don’t show your footage at Cannes and declare the film the Best Picture frontrunner in May.
Gustav Santaoalla (“Babel”) won for best music. If you recognized him, or had a bit of Déjà vu, you’ve probably forgotten he won last year for “Brokeback Mountain”. Also, little do people know his main theme of the film was recycled from “The Insider” in 1999. So perhaps he wasn’t as deserving as people thought. Despite this, he’s now 2 for 2 in music awards. By comparison, John (“Star Wars”) Williams is 5 for 45, and Randy Newman is 1 for 17!
Question: Why do musicals (ie. “Dreamgirls” and “Chicago”) always have to win the Oscar for best sound mixing. Don’t they know the musical portions of the film are looped in post-production and technically fall under the sound editor’s work? Strange
The Cancon moment of the night - “The Danish Poet” (best animated short) for beating the mighty Pixar (“Lifted”). Good work Torvill Kove.
Best speech of the night: Ari Sandel for “West Bank Story”. Sincere, succinct and informative.
See you next year. Here’s some early prognosticating for 2008: David Fincher’s first trip down the red carpet? Todd Haynes for his Bob Dylan film, Michael Winterbottom and the Daniel Pearl story, the return of PT Anderson, Michael Moore, Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” and Wong Kar Wai’s first English language film. Lots to look out for.