Feb 27, 2007

Oscars 2007: what the blogosphere said

It was a victory for feminism, foreigners and, well, good films, according to the bleary-eyed bloggers.


What are the abiding lessons of this, the 79th Oscars ceremony? Believe it or not, they are many and manifold, and not just because most of the people drawing the lessons were half-drunk and about to go to bed after a night of obsessive gong-watching.

Tom O'Neil, who writes the Gold Derby blog for the LA Times drew the strongest line of all from last night's results: Helen Mirren's victory is a blow for feminism.

Tonight Helen Mirren put a stop to the young beauty pageant reigning in the actress' categories. Remember, over the past 15 years only one gal over age 50 won an Oscar for acting: Judi Dench (supporting actress, Shakespeare in Love).

But as I reported last week, she did it by brazenly reminding everyone how sexy a 61-year-old dish can be - and by acting quite naughty, too.

Remember the cleavage she flashed at the Golden Globes?

Also, let's recall how she appeared on the cover of Los Angeles magazine's February issue parting a white top to reveal a peekaboo black bra underneath.

Ok, so feminism might be stretching it. And the fact that a 61 year old can be sexy seems to have had no effect on those taking part in the "young beauty pageant". British actress Helen McCrory (Cherie Blair in The Queen), confessed as much on the red carpet to the NY Times's Carpetbagger:

"It is like a shark pit out here. You see all these beautiful women dressed as they are, but you can almost hear the hearts pumping. There is so much competition in a way. It's fluff and money and business all rolled into one."

So if the Oscars wasn't a triumph of sisterhood, could it have caused a coming together of nations instead? That's the theory expounded by Anne Thompson in the Hollywood Reporter. She cites the fact that the first three awards were won by foreigners and the triumph of the Mexicans as proof before reminding readers that Stephen Frears had hired as many non-Americans as he could in the making of the Queen.

Cue some excitement about the globalised biz:

Technology has made it much easier for movies to travel around the globe, with lighter camera equipment and computer editing. "You can work from Paris and send music in a blink to LA or London," [French composer of the Queen soundtrack, Alexandre] Desplat said.

Swiftly followed by fear that they might all come over here and take our jobs etc:

But is Hollywood still Hollywood? "I still think of the '30s and Norma Desmond and the Paramount gates," Desplat added. "It was created here and still is here. As long as talented directors and producers come here to create something, it will be Hollywood."

And as long as a Forest Whitaker can pull himself out of South Central Los Angeles or Jennifer Hudson and Michael Arndt can take the high dive into new careers, Hollywood remains the land of opportunity for people with the talent and determination to grab the spotlight.

Now over to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily. She also has a theory: that The Departed won best movie because it was a good film.

Despite what the Oscars pundits tell you, this isn't rocket science: all a motion picture needs to snag the award is for about 1,300 voters to feel passionately enough about it and mark their ballot accordingly. This year, the Oscars weren't sending a message, political or otherwise. They simply went with the best picture, which happened to be a gangster tale this year.

Over at In Contention, there's a similar view, albeit expressed in a different vernacular:

I am so, SO happy the Academy was this cool. That they were this smooth. That they were this... badass. You have to go back to The French Connection to find a film this hard boiled winning the big prize, and even THAT was a film that advanced the medium considerably. The Departed is just an unassuming genre picture, one that was a critical and box office champ, sure. But one that was unconventional for this group all the same. Bravo.

So that's your blog roundup. Final word goes to Larry David though, simply because it can. Collared on the red carpet by the carpetbagger (his wife, Laurie, was up for an Oscar as producer of An Inconvenient Truth), he revealed his plan for the ceremony:

"I have a pocket full of candy bars and I'm not sharing one of them. Not a bite. But I won't crinkle the wrappers when I open them."

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