So another Oscar telecast came and went.
The speeches were shortened, you got to hear the orchestra through the speech, and the show still ran a little over 3 hours.
The Oscars keep trying to shorten the speeches, even going into the audience for one award, but there is one piece of really big, big fat the Oscar could trim.
Why does one of the most minor categories in the whole show, Best Original Song, get 1/6 of the broadcast.... When you add up Beyonce's three songs (although she sang none of them in the movies) from the Chorus, Phantom of the Opera (shouldn't Emmy Rossum have performed, not just introduced that) and Polar Express, with the Spanish language song from The Motorcycle Diaries (which won) and the only actual performer who I think was involved in the movie, the Counting Crows with Accidentally in Love from Shrek 2 .. you have about 30 minutes of show (20 minutes for the song, 4 for the award and at 6-9 minutes for commercials).
Best Original Song, is fundamentally a songwriters award. Personally I think the 5 second sound byte that most of the nominees get, would be plenty. If you take away the 20 minutes plus commercials that the songs received, it gives Oscar plenty of more time to do more important things. Like not rushing the winners speeches (including Best Picture !?!??!?) and having more meaningful tributes like those for Johnny Carson, the stars, directors, writers, etc. that died this year and for Lifetime Achievement.
Honestly most movies have songs already performed that help add to the time of the movie. ... For instance, Forrest Gump was full of old 60s songs; and the theme from Pulp Fiction is an update of Dick Dale's Misrolou (Sp.?) ... Songs like the one from Phantom are added to get fans of the musical to show up and get nominated for the award.
I just cannot understand why Best Song (if you look at the winner, many are HIGHLY forgettable) gets so much screen time in the rushed Oscar telecast.
Here is the time of each song. I=Introduction, S=Song, A=After Song (ie applause, etc), and T=Total Time
The Chorus (Beyonce????) Intro 0:25; Song 2:33, After 0:23; Total = 3:21(then commercials) .. Performance B- (and what was Beyonce wearing that for with a Boys Choir??)
Shrek 2 (Best Performance of the Night) I-0:20; S-2:35; A-0:20; T=3:14 (At least the band who played the song in the movie played, but this is the Oscars not the Grammys) B+
Phantom (Why didn't Emmy sing --- Beyonce Again???) I-0:44; S=3:19; A-0:15; T=4:18 (Not a bad song, but like most Andrew Lloyd Webber, one minute of song and then repeat twice) B
Motorcycle Diaries (Great playing by Santana -- Average singing by Antonio Banderas) I-1:30; S-3:15; A-0:23, T=5:08 (then Commercials) .... Decent song subtitles would have been nice B
Polar Express (Just hokey -- Beyonce for third time) ... I-1:00; S- 2:47; A-0:21; T-4:11; This was just sappy and repeated worse then Webber. Pretty Boring B-
So that adds up to about 20 minute and 21/2 commercial breaks which is around 6 minutes or so. It was nice that a Spanish-language song was nominated for the first time and won, for what I have heard is a wonderful movie in "The Motorcycle Diaries," but this category takes WAY WAY too long.
I really enjoyed the BAFTA and Independent Spirit Awards much more, because they let the winners talk and didn't engage in this silly starcraft. And how overexposed is Beyonce, she is pushing her relative stardom so hard with this Oscar telecast and the Grammys that I think her fall is soon.
Without this Best Song treadle, Oscar could easily come in at under 3 hours, and/or get some more interesting content that is important for the movie.
As for the rest of the broadcast, I like Clint Eastwood, but not recognizing Martin Scorsese as director for the excellent the Aviator (****1/2), when he has not won for such classics as GoodFellas (*****); Taxi Driver (*****); and in my mind the overrated Raging Bull (****); is ridiculous. I have not seen Million Dollar Baby yet, but Clint already got it for the again overrated Unforgiven (***1/2), and it was Marty's turn. Will the best living director (Spielberg is 2nd in my mind) have to wait for a lifetime achievement award for an Oscar???
I was extremely happy in the two victories for screenplay. Sideways (****1/2) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(*****) were my two favorite movies of the year. Although to give a talent like Charlie Kaufman only :30 to give his acceptance speech, is just absurd. I was also happy to see Cate Blanchett win for her great performance as Kate Hepburn in the Aviator (my third favorite of the year so far), although the stunningly beautiful Virginia Madsen well deserved it too.
Jamie Foxx probably gave the best speech of the night for his great performance in Ray, thanking his grandmother for being his first "acting" teacher. Foxx became Ray Charles in this movie, and with his work in Ray, the brilliant co-lead in Collateral, and what I have heard is a great performance in Redemption, has changed his status from a comedian on TV to one of the great actors in Hollywood. A most deserving award for a very good movie (***1/2).
I really did want to see either the Aviator or Sideways win best picture but so it goes. I plan to see Million Dollar Baby today in the afternoon, before the snow squall hits Maine tonight. I didn't get called to substitute today, so doing some cleaning and laundry. ... Also need to work on my application for teacher ed. at the Univ. of Southern Maine.
Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn