Some random thoughts on tonight’s 80th Academy Awards ceremony:
- Did anyone see the E! red carpet moment when Gary Busey kept accosting Ryan Seacrest as he was trying to interview Jennifer Garner? That was probably my favorite moment of the night. Seacrest had no idea who Busey was (a producer later informed him via earpiece) and tried awkwardly to ignore the D-list actor’s intrusions. It was a classic moment that pointed out the absurdity of “anything goes” red carpet interviews.
- Surprise #1 of the night: Tilda Swinton winning best supporting actress. She was by far the best part of Michael Clayton and is a great actress who totally deserves an Oscar. Her fire-red hair and “I’ve never seen an Oscar ceremony in my life” outsider attitude is also nice to see. Cate Blanchett also deserved it for her “androgynous Bob Dylan” turn in I’m Not There, but she already has a few Oscars, so I don’t feel so bad.
- The Bourne Ultimatum won three Oscars! This makes up (a little bit) for Paul Greengrass’ United 93 getting shut out last year.
- Why was Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) at the Oscars? Why is she presenting an award?
- Happiest moment of the night: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s performance and subsequent win for “Falling Slowly.” The acceptance speech cut-off and Jon Stewart’s later special-invitation for Irglova to speak was brilliant and beautiful. And the “isn’t that sweet” reaction shot on Laura Linney was classic.
- Surprise #2: Marion Cotillard winning best actress! Not predicted by many, but not shocking if you’ve seen her insanely good performance in La Vie En Rose. I loved her acceptance speech too: “Thank you life, thank you love… It is true that there are some angels in this city.”
- General observation: none of the acting winners are Americans. Spain, Scotland, France, and England are represented, but no Yanks–even in a year designated as a “landmark year in American cinema.”
- No Country for Old Men winning best picture was what I expected and suited me just fine. I think There Will Be Blood was perhaps a tad more daring, but both were among the best American films of the last decade. I like to think that my No Country essay (which Miramax linked to in their Oscar campaign) helped secure at least a few Academy votes!
- Overall take on the show: relatively quick (3 hours and 17 minutes!), clean, and classy. Jon Stewart was tamer than anyone thought he’d be–especially in an election year. One joke I could have done without, though: Jack Nicholson getting people pregnant (really bad mental image). At least we had Helen “The Queen” Mirren to raise the class level a few bars.