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Recap of the 79th Academy Awards, brought to you by Al Gore Industries

26 February 2007 by Gnoll 4 Comments

The Oscars. Yeah, I watched ’em. I do every year, because as I’ve stated before on this site, they’re basically my Super Bowl. This year, I did a lousy job in my predictions, as I several of what I thought were can’t-lose nominees (Eddie Murphy, Cars, Pan’s Labyrinth) did in fact lose. I was also rewarded and robbed at the same time when The Departed won Best Picture, because I wanted it to win, but I didn’t think it would, so it hurt my overall stats.

That’s no biggie, though. The show this year was ridiculously overlong, clocking in at nearly four hours, and had a lot of fat that could have been trimmed. Ellen DeGeneres was unmemorable as the host, the musical numbers were painful to sit through, and there were way too many montages. But my biggest problem this year was that all-too-predictable political vibe the show took on, and what basically amounted to onscreen fellatio of the guy who “used to be the next President of the United States”.

Before I go on, let’s go back a year. George Clooney was being stroked and preened by the media as he made his speech about how Hollywood is so enlightened and ahead of the curve for giving Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 while neglecting to mention that another black actor didn’t win an award for 24 years, and then the next one 19 years after that. But a fire had been ignited — the buzz around Clooney’s speech told the Academy that they needed to get behind something, and now. So in 2007, after the incredible success of Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the environment was the perfect political issue to get behind.

Early on in the show, Leonardo DiCaprio came out on stage with Gore. After an unfunny tease of a “major announcement”, Gore talked about how the Oscars had “gone green”, meaning about 3% of the arrivals showed up in Priuses and they printed the Oscar program on recycled paper. At this point, I looked around the room and asked “so, is there any doubt now what will win Best Documentary Feature?”

Now, there wasn’t much doubt beforehand. Gore’s film was a critical success, a box office champ, and had that all-so-important agenda. I even gave it a positive review. But Al’s basic sponsorship of the event should have clued me in that the Documentary category wasn’t going to be the only one that he’d influence. First was the Best Original Song category, which most prognosticators had chalked up as a win for one of the three entries from Dreamgirls — most commonly, the Beyonce warbler “Listen”. But after Gore’s speech, we should have seen it coming — Melissa Etheridge’s song from Gore’s film took top honors, giving her an opportunity to bang the drum for the cause again.

Was that it? I mean, An Inconvenient Truth wasn’t nominated for anything else. It won its two categories, so Al could rest easy. What else could it possibly affect?

One of the foregone conclusions of the night was that Pixar’s box office champ and critical darling Cars had the Best Animated Feature award sewn up. However, tons of Oscar predictors’ jaws dropped when the announcement was made.

Happy Feet? Really? Fucking Happy Feet? That mess of an animation/live-action hybrid where penguins sing bastardized versions of Prince and Parlaiment songs to one another? The one that made me believe that George Miller needs to hang it up for good? The one where Hugh Jackman does a bad Elvis impersonation and they design a CGI pengiun to look like Frodo Baggins? That Happy Feet? How is this possible?

Well, Happy Feet is a thinly-veiled tale designed to teach kids about the dangers of overfishing. It also resonates strongly with the global warming agenda, because it takes place in Antarctica, where An Inconvenient Truth spends a lot of time. And to make matters worse, the frontrunner Cars promotes a sport that involves fossil fuel-guzzling motor vehicles, the natural enemy of the anti-global warming crowd. Nevermind that Cars was ten times the film that Happy Feet was (despite being a few steps back from the last few Pixar efforts). The agenda sways the votes, and the whole award process loses a little more credibility.

I had no problems with Gore’s actions at the event. I applaud him for being so persistent in his cause, for trying to remain politically neutral, and for remaining civilized in his acceptance speech (Michael Moore could take a cue or two from him). I don’t blame him — I blame the Academy. If there were ever a transparent moment to the show’s politics in its 79-year history, this was it.

Of course, the very same Oscar presentation, as “culturally diverse” as they claimed to be, touting the three nominated films helmed by Mexican directors and the presence of five black actors in the acting categories, mistakenly announced that Best Picture winner The Departed was adapted from a Japanese film. All those Asians must look the same to Oscar.

4 Comments »

  • Liz said:

    Lol…dude…relax a bit, i know they call you a critic…but wow. You sound so pissed!

  • Noel said:

    Oh, I’m not pissed. In fact, I’m kind of amused by it.

  • Sharron said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It was painfully obvious the political slant of the evening.
    If anything this was the most boring Oscars…even with the Scorsese win.

  • SchweitzerMan said:

    I agree with you. When Al Gore and Leo came out before “Truth” won, you automatically knew that it was going to win. However the Best Song win surprised me.
    Totally agree with Sharron, the political slant of the evening made me want to turn off at some points. Leo looked like he wanted to blow Al Gore right there on stage

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