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For a period of time some additions and updates will be made on the Voices blog. Your input is welcome if you would like to add or update information about yourself or about our Class of '63 friends. You can contact me, Nicki Wilcoxson, on Facebook by sending a message to me there. Your contributions are welcomed. January 17, 2012

Monday, February 23, 2009

Post-Academy Awards Post ... Winners ... and Yes, Losers....

The Looking Glass
by Jennifer Johnston

U.K. theatrical release post for Slumdog Millionaire
reproduced here citing "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. copyright law

Well, the Academy Awards are done for another year ... and a recap of the event (from my perspective of course, although I hope some of you will contribute your own thoughts and choices) is in order. For the record, I "won" at our house. I picked 18 winners from the total of 24 categories ... that's right, including a couple of the "throw a dart" categories. For those who did not watch the show and haven't seen who won, I will list them here. A star (*) beside an individual winner indicates that I called it correctly. Then, after the list, I have my own observations and categories, which I am hopeful will also draw your comments and opinions.

And the winners were (PC aside, there are winners....):

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire *
Best Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog *
Best Actor: Sean Penn for Milk *
Best Actress: Kate Winslet for The Reader *
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight *
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona *
Best Animated Feature Film: Wall-E *
Best Foreign Film: Departures (Japan) *
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black for Milk * (a moving acceptance speech)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog * (having changed my original pick just before the ceremonies began)
Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire (grrrr ... I foolishly changed my first pick here to Trouble the Water)
Best Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire *
Best Original Song: Jai Ho from Slumdog * (fortunately I changed my vote from O Saya)
Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire (almost went with this one ... should have)
Best Documentary - Short Subject: Smile Pinki (my dart lied on this one)
Best Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire *
Best Costume Design: The Duchess *
Best Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire (should'a gone with my gut that Slumdog was gonna sweep)
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight (did go with my gut on Slumdog, but was wrong here)
Best Live Action Short Film: Spielzeugland * (dart did its work here)
Best Animated Short Film: La Maison de Petits Cubes (damned dart!)
Best Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button *
Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button *
Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button *

Sean Penn in Milk, photograph by R. Hughes
from Wikipedia Commons

Except for that devious dart, and a couple of mental lapses on my part (see my original prediction about Man on Wire), I was very happy with the Academy's selections (and "the kitty"). And now moving on to my own "categories" and personal picks:

Best Dressed Female: Hands down ... Angelina Jolie ... arguably the most gorgeous woman on the planet ... looking absolutely regal and breath-taking in a beautifully draped black strapless gown by Elie Saab, accessorized with chunky emerald earrings and a HUGE, jaw-dropping emerald ring (Colombian emeralds, 115 carats total for the earrings and 65 carats for the ring). Beyonce takes runner-up for her beautiful, figure-enhancing black and gold fitted floral print (from the House of Dereon, her own fashion house). Kate Winslet was stunning in a gray and black assymetric Atelier Yves Saint Laurent gown and Chopard diamonds. Amy Adams wore a really lovely red dress by Carolina Herrera ... but unfortunately her large gloppy necklace wore her, so points must be deducted. Marion Cotillard (Best Actress Winner for La Vie En Rose) receives points for style in an edgy blue and black number. Evan Rachel Wood was outstanding in a soft beige gown that suited her coloring perfectly (nice to know that she has emerged from her Marilyn Manson liaison without any ill effects on her taste).

Best Dressed Male: Brad Pitt in a Tom Ford tux, with host Hugh Jackman (Burberry tuxedo and Ferragamo shoes) a close runner-up. Robert Downey and Daniel Craig (Dolce & Gabbana) looked great, and Frank Langella was elegant in his black tux, with his daughter Sarah on his arm for the night, but might have shaved a bit closer....

Worst Dressed Female: Melissa Leo (a nominee for Frozen River) in a really tacky brown gown and the wrong jewelry. Give this woman a stylist! Sophia Loren was a strong competitor in this category, as further mentioned below, though it is fair to say that perhaps at her age she doesn't see as well as she once did. (A small meow there....) Meryl Streep deserves dishonorable mention in this category; her hair was terrible and her dress was frumpy ... and she has been contending in this category for a long time, acting talent notwithstanding.

Worst Dressed Male: Mickey Rourke, looking like a depraved Good Humor man, or a pimp in search of a stable. (Although I was sorry to hear of the loss of his beloved dog.)

U.S. cover of Bernard Schlink's The Reader,
reproduced citing "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. copyright law

Miss Ellen's Po'teers Award: (See Gone With the Wind and the great Carol Burnett send-up of same) There were several contenders in this category, including the beautiful Freida Pinto (Slumdog) who was badly dressed by John Galliano (usually a winner) and looked as if her gown had been tied onto her by someone in a drunken stupor; Miley Cyrus in a white, scaly-scalloped thing that would have been more at home at the prom in Nashville (and that belt was a disaster); Tilda Swinton, who apparently utilized the drapes from more than one room in her house; fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker (why do people think this woman is stylish?) in "Cinder-Elly, Cinder-Elly" mode, despite that the gown was from Dior Couture. Reese Witherspoon wore Rodarte ... see the above comment re: Freida Pinto. And the winner is: Tilda Swinton ... by a thread (or several). (grin)

Belle Watling's Po'teers Award: (Also see Gone With the Wind) No contest ... Sophia Loren. There is a cathouse without drapes somewhere....

Best Accessories: Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt; Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie.

Sweetest Acceptance Speech: Penelope Cruz, though like many, she ran a bit long. She was lovely in a 60-year old vintage Pierre Balmain gown, with a drop-dead gorgeous 69 carat diamond necklace by Chopard.

Most Moving Acceptance Speech: Dustin Lance Black, the writer of Milk. Sean Penn made a good effort and gets Honorable Mention in this category. Honorable Mention also to A.R. Rahman, who won for Song and Score for Slumdog.

Cheesiest Ploy: Bringing on five former winners in each of the acting categories to state the nominations and shower canned, scripted encomiums on the nominees.

Aging Gracefully Award:
Eva Marie Saint was striking in white, looking beautiful at her age without any visible assist(s)....

Faye Dunaway at the 2008 Tribeca Film Awards
Photograph by David Shankbone from Wikipedia Commons

Worst Plastic Surgery (Aside from Mickey Rourke's): No contest ... hands down ... Sophia Loren, who looked ghastly and could barely move her face to deliver her lines (see "canned, scripted encomiums" above). I will note that
I did not nominate the King of Plastic, Michael Jackson, in this category because while he may be called many things (and has been), he in no way can be considered a "movie star" ... and besides, he wasn't there (or avoided the cameras if he was). And speaking of egregious plastic surgery mistakes, did anyone see the once-luminous Faye Dunaway (nominated as Best Actress for Bonnie and Clyde, later winning that award for Network) on Grey's Anatomy last week? She has become a hiked-to-the-hairline horror, and obviously went a rhinoplasty (among other things) too far. Of course Cher was elevated to Hall of Fame status some years ago.

There are so many more potential categories and nominees, but I shall let this suffice ... though please feel free to add your own. I (and the readers) would be most interested, I know.

As for the show itself, it was the usual poorly-scripted, waaaay to long, lame production the Academy comes up with year after year. It totally failed to utilize the tremendous talents of host Hugh Jackman, who was a fabulous host and did a great opening number (taking off on his Broadway show, The Boy from Oz) on the Tony Awards a few years ago. The opening number last night was cringe-worthy, with the middle-of-show extravaganza (featuring Jackman and Beyonce) not too much better. Year after year, the Academy laments that the number of viewers is dropping ... and IMHO, one of the major reasons is the almost uniformly bad musical production numbers. Likewise, the scripted banter between presenters is generally egregious.

[Sidebar: Despite the above statements, the overnight ratings for last night's show were up 6% from last year, possibly due to the excitement over Slumdog.]

It's an awards show, people. Just bring the presenters on, have them read the nominations and give out the awards. If more time must be filled, use it for clips from the nominated films and actors. The show would move along faster (please!) and probably retain more of an audience. Again ... my humble opinion....

And so ... we leave the Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for another year ... when of course, criticism above notwithstanding (or that which I may incur over my opinions here), we will be tuned in, with ballots in hand, waiting to know just who the winners (yes, winners!) are....


My Photo


  1. Great Post Award Wrap-up!

    Congratulations on being the big winner at your "event." For the most part I was very happy with the Oscar winners. It was fun to watch the joy and anticipation of the Slumdog group through-out the whole time. I do hope the young actors will go on to have many more great performances. They set the bar pretty high for themselves!

    This morning I spent some time watching the after Oscar comments about the show and the fashions. It would certainly seem that beauty is all in the eye of the critic or commentor. Angelina did receive accolades on her appearance from everyone as did Brad. Daniel Craig and Robert Downey were unanimous in being very well dressed and real "hunks". One person even praised Mickey Rourke's appearance, but I tend to agree with Jennifer on this. I always feel that he has that unwashed look! Yuk.

    Sarah Jessica Parker got mixed reviews, but I personally didn't like her dress or her hair. I think she is one who can look so fabulous at times, but this was not her night in my eyes. As a Sex and the City fan I was happy to hear that there is a sequel to the movie in the works. That also reminds me that I thought the presentation of new films for 2009 was a nice touch at the end of the show.

    Sorry Jennifer, I really didn't care for Beyonce's dress at all. One critic called her dress too statuesque--that is looking too much like the Oscar statue.

    Interestingly, Freida Pinto's blue dress was selected by many as the one that would be copied most often. I did think it worked well for her and as some mentioned it was nice to see the blue after all of the pale/white gowns we saw.

    My personal opinion was that Jessica Beal's dress was a disaster. One critic said that her dress (and hair) looked as if she had just gotten out of bed and wrapped a sheet around herself and while that is sometimes not a bad look--it didn't work well here.

    Even though I hated Jennifer Aniston's hair (weird braid thing on her forehead,) I thought her dress was beautiful and that she did a great job with Brad and Angelina right in front of her which probably made for an awkward situation. I thought it was creepy of the cameras to keep panning to Brangelina while she was on stage. Will it ever end?? Years have passed so maybe it is time to get over it!!

    One of my favorite moments came when two of my favs, Tina Fey and Steve Martin, were presenting. I thought it was a hoot when Martin turned to Fey and said, "Don't fall in love with me." They did that moment so well and so unexpectedly.

    On the other hand, perhaps Ben Stiller carried the impersonation of Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman a little too far for this occasion. I would have enjoyed Stiller much more as himself.

    On the whole I enjoyed the event even those as usual it was too long, but then after all these years perhaps we should just admit that it has always been too long and that it always will. Those of you who had guests and a party for watching at least could entertain yourselves when it reached those boring commerical moments. I liked Hugh Jackman; he is classy; but I was disappointed as you said when it came to the performance, song and dance. However, I have to tell you that I really did like the new way of bringing out the 5 to present the nominees. Canned though it was, I enjoyed the way they spotlighted the old and the new.

    Once again--great wrap-up. I definitely want you on my team when it comes to making selections

  2. Good thoughts and observations, as always, Nicki....

    I decided last night to do my post without listening to any the morning-after commentaries because I wanted to go with what I felt, without additional input or "coloring" ... but certainly it does not surprise me that there may be differences of opinion ... about this and other matters, as far as that goes.... I am always grateful that there are diverse points of view ... they challenge us to think and keep us all from marching in lockstep.

    I was particularly aware that there would not be universal agreement about Freida Pinto's gown, or Beyonce's, or about S.J. Parker. As you so aptly point out, beauty frequently lies in the eye of the beholder (or critic or commentator) and our preferences often run toward our personal likes, dislikes and experiences. I may well have a soft spot for Beyonce because I have a natural affinity and empathy for the "statuesque".... (grin)

    You are so right about Jessica Biehl's dress, and hair. She really did look like an unmade bed ... or as you note, as if she had just arisen from one.

    And you are also correct about it being time for everyone to get over the Jennifer-
    Angelina-Brad kerfuffle. Marriages fail all the time ... for various reasons ... and there is an old shibboleth that says that if a particular party is happy in his or her marriage, then he/she can't be "stolen" away by another. I suspect that the "culprit" may be that Brad and Jennifer's interests and goals had diverged before there was a Brangelina ... but of course that too is only my speculation....

    Of course, as Yahn says ... if only I could come out of my shell and just say what I really think.... (grin)

    Thanks for the congrats and the comments ... and I am happy to be on your team any time....


  3. With all of that fashion intellect and talent in Hollywood, no STAR should ever come out of the dressing room with a question in their mind as to whether they look totally fabulous and acceptable or not. It should never be a question, but somehow, it is like Nicki says, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder"

    I have to wonder what the heck with Heidi Klum. She is surrounded with fashion icons and is totally engrossed in high fashion that she should NEVER make a mistake. Her dress reminded me of someone going to dinner with a built in napkin, as did Jessica Biel's dress. Who knows, maybe that is the future of dress: "built in napkins". I think they both could have done so much better. Heidi is so beautiful that she needs nothing extra and the same for Jessica.

    Sarah Jessica Parker, really! What was she thinking? Again, simplicity would have done the trick. She overdid the dress and the boobs and became invisible.

    Angelina was perfect. Perfect, Perfect. Black simple dress and simple totally gorgeous earrings that probably only she could wear. Her aura was refined and she was open and gracious to all the surrounded her. Loved her!and Brad darling

    Anne Hathaway was just(almost) as breathtaking as Angelina. She is a beauty and needs little else to set her off. The dress was simple, good color, good fit and her hair was perfect. She is also very charming and demure. I like that.

    Frida Pinto. Who said her dress looked like it was tied on? Her beautiful royal blue beaded dress was stunning. She is another that needs little accomodations for her beauty. I think her dress was perfect for the occasion considering that she was representing Bollywood.

    I was very disappointed to the point of shock in Kate Winslet's appearance. She is such a youthful and refreshing personality. Why did she go and dress like a sad old woman. Maybe she thought she was not going to win.
    Meryl Streep did the same thing. my head shook in disgrace and sadness every time I saw Meryl in that awful dowdy gray thing she was wearing. She knows better. This is not her first party!

    ok..who else can I rip to shreds?
    Downey Jr? He was supposed to wait for me. Who is that broad he is hanging out with? His wife?? darn!
    Mickey Rourke? My hat's off to his perserverance and absence of ego.
    oh...and poor little Miley Cyrus, whom I can't stand to look at on a good day. I think her dress was perfect for the teenager that she is. She is in a bad place for a person to hold on to their youth.
    Beyonce??I have seen her look so much better! She is beautiful and looks good in anything she wears, but hey...this is the Party of the Year! Dress accordingly.
    Evan Rachel Wood looked like a Hollywood goddess. Jennifer Aniston was awesome and dazzling.
    so much for my humble opinions.

  4. Sheila, I love your comments ... even where we disagree ... and am pleased to have your input.

    I knew some would differ on their reaction to Freida Pinto's dress. It was a lovely color ... but for whatever reason, I just don't like that twisted, tied-on look. Reese Witherspoon wore something similar, as did a couple of others ... and it is just not my cuppa chiffon (or whatever). A personal preference obviously ... and I think you are probably in the majority on this. Still ... I tend to like cleaner, simpler lines ... like Angelina Jolie's look....

    It took me all evening to decide what I thought about Kate Winslet's dress ... I didn't particularly like it at first ... for the reasons you state ... but then somehow it "grew" on me. Maybe it was just her incandescence and joy that persuaded me ... and I still think her hair could have been better. I do concede that there were likely better choices available to her. As you say, these people are STARS!!! They have so many resources available to them....

    You are right that Miley Cyrus' dress was age-appropriate, which is a plus ... so depressing to see teenage girls who dress like they are in their 30s or 40s ... but the inverse of the Winslet dress happened on this one ... the more I saw Cyrus' gown, the less I liked it.

    Anne Hathaway's dress was another that I liked better every time I saw it. At first I thought it was rather plain (nothing wrong with that sometimes) ... but the paillettes really set off the train and added extra "ooomph."

    IMHO, next to Angelina Jolie ... who we agree was PERFECT ... the most gorgeous dress of the night was worn by Megan Mylan, the winner for Documentary Short ("Smile Pinki"). She wore a lovely flame red/orange satin bias-cut gown that conjured visions of Jean Harlow and the glamor of the 30s. The drape and the dropped back and the way the fabric moved with her were just stunning....

    Gotta agree with Nicki about the weird braid on Jennifer Aniston ... although the dress she wore was fine.

    Talking about the fashions has been so much fun ... I am hopeful that one or two more will chime in before we move on to another post. Or feel free to chime in again yourself. I've really enjoyed what you and Nicki contributed to the discussion....


  5. Driscilla Dehtan StorrsFebruary 24, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    I've loved the comments about the Oscars. I didn't notice anyone dressed hideously enough to be etched in memory though some of the dresses were unflattering and unremarkable. On the remarkable side, who wouldn't want to LOOK like Brad and Angelina?

    I didn't do so well in points though, Jen. I went with most of your recommendations, but my dart throwing was much inferior to yours. I ended up next to last! I was 3 points behind Ellie (still 6 years old!) who scored big when she was the only one who voted for "Smile Pinki" which was randomly assigned 3 points. It was our son-in-law (Ellie's dad) who won the contest - and, as I understand it, is currently making a list of things to include in the winner's basket since Dara (his wife, last year's winner) is still working on the prizes. The day after the awards, Dara called to ask how it felt to be beaten by her whole family! Boo hoo!

  6. Driscilla, I'm so glad you left a comment. I had wondered how your Academy Awards evening went! I just may want to check with Ellie before next year's awards, though ... the girls does seem to have a knack....

    As for my "dart throwing" ... perhaps it had something to do with hanging out with some darts players at a little pub in my younger days??? (grin)

    Thanks so much for commenting....


  7. This will be my last comment, I promise! I checked out Megan Mylan's drop dead gorgeous dress. I loved it for all the right reasons as stated by you in your previous comment. By my standards, red is a very mercurial color and can be worn by a select few, Catherine Deneuve being my favorite who can wear it all day long in it's varying shades. I think Megan wore it well. I loved everything about the dress except for that "hangy down thing in the back" What a distraction! I loved her story and hope she does more of the same.

    ok...I am done now...deep breath.

    Nicki, I must agree with you about the young actors on Slumdog setting the bar pretty high, not only for themselves, but for child actors specifically. Their acting showed no signs of fear. They made me believe in ZEST for life and I can only look forward to more. My only prayer is that they do not get dropped in the cracks. There are so many people in India ... those two little boys were amazing.

    ok...I am done now...deep breath...breathing deeply...oohhhmmm..

  8. Clara Robinson MeekFebruary 26, 2009 at 8:47 AM

    I think it may have been the Harvey Wallbanger milkshakes-----I just loved the whole presentation, loved Hugh Jackman, loved most of the dresses, felt like the whole thing was much improved over last year. But, WOW! I'm impressed with my fashion critic peers. You guys should be red carpet reporters!