Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Academy Awards Fight Song
Sorry for the day's delay, but yesterday got a little busy. Sunday night, I went to the Brattle Theatre with Chris, Scott, and Simone to watch the 75th Academy Awards. They have a big-screen showing of the awards ceremony open to theater members and special guests, including a paid reception before the screening, a silent auction, and other festivities. It was a fun time. I was coattailing because Emily was in Philadelphia with the Operators, and I probably wouldn't have watched the Oscars or gone to an Oscars party, but this was a lot of fun.

Most of the people dressed up for the event, some in tuxedos and evening dresses, even. We were definitely the most under-dressed. But we fit right in on the balcony, where a smaller crowd gathered -- most of the people stayed down on the main floor. My group of friends is prone to heckle and comment on almost anything we go to, and I was a little nervous about how our heckling would be received, but the women in the row ahead of us and the people one row behind seemed to appreciate it, grinning and looking over their shoulders, and occasionally jumping right in with us.

One woman shouted, "Did you just smoke a bowl?" when Matthew McConaughey took the stage, which led us to wonder whether she had just smoked a bowl. Maybe she confused him with Woody Harrelson, but McConaughey was decidedly not bleary eyed. However, the most interesting crowd interaction came during the multiple anti-war commentaries -- and subtle recognition of the conflicts overseas. When Michael Moore was booed at the ceremony for his anti-Bush tirade (which I thought was relatively well stated), the audience in Cambridge cheered.

Many other actors and directors commented on the war, so I'm not quite sure why Moore was made the scapegoat at the ceremony. He was the only nominee-cum-winner who showed solidarity with the other nominees by bringing them up on stage, and it seems odd that writers such as David Hardy are now contending that Moore shouldn't have even won the award.

In any event, the other anti-war statements were rather lackluster. Adrien Brody gave one of the most personal and sensible speeches. That balanced with such inanities as Nicole Kidman's commentary that, "there is a lot of problems in the world and since 9/11 there's been a lot of pain, in terms of families losing people, and now with the war, families losing people." My friend Tony leaned back from the row ahead of us and said, "There weren't any problems before 9/11?"

Other highlights? Peter O'Toole is a grand old man. It was awesome to see Pedro Almodovar win for best original screenplay. I was glad that the Pianist edged Chicago out of a couple of key categories. And one of the musical performances, featuring a Mexican singer, was really awesome. I'm guessing that it was a piece from Frida, but I'm embarrassed that I don't remember who the performers were.

Hooray for Hollywood. Maybe next year I'll make a better effort to see more of the nominated films.

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