HOLLYWOOD POV: The 80th Annual Academy Awards Show

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 25, 2008 0 Comments


80th Academy Awards – Nominations LIVE Telecast: Sunday, February 24, 2008 – ABC-TV


Ah The Oscars, the Superbowl of Film and Fashion.

Outside the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center where the Oscar show takes place the red carpet is all about style, inside it’s all about film. Well, film, and boring unfunny monologues, singing numbers, and a lot of self-congratulations between the lucky chosen few who make their living making, but mostly starring in, movies.

After 100 days of a grueling Writer’s Guild strike Hollywood was ready for something to celebrate. Thankfully the strike ended and the big show could go on. Too bad it only gave the writers 7 days to produce work they usually get 7 months to pen. Since no one could tell the difference one wonders what they are doing with all that prep time. At least we didn’t get hours of movie montages instead of the usual scripted forced banter, in its place we got the usual array of minutes of montages of past award winners before each big acting award was presented.

Watching the pre-show on ABC-TV the only constant in each shot featuring an announcer was the same shot of the El Capitan theater marquee in the background. Anyone wonder why? Disney, the parent company of ABC-TV owns the El Capitan. Just think of the free ad time they got for their theater Ah, the business of Hollywood.

Fashion statements on the red carpet this year were the continuing disappearance of necklaces, one-shoulder gowns, and the appearance of red dresses on just about every other woman at the Oscars. Red dresses for the red carpet. Only a very few women wore a necklace, and that’s probably because Nicole Kidman wore one necklace that was enough for everyone, it looked as if she strung a chain of crystals from a chandelier around her neck, like Christmas lights. This means, of course, that next year all the women will be wearing necklaces. For men the bow tie with their tux made a resurgence. Even Michael Moore turned out nicely in all black with a dark gray tie.

The musical numbers on the Oscar broadcast were thankfully spare, with the exception of “That’s How You Know” from ENCHANTED, which featured a full on cast of dancers backing up vocalist and actress Kristen Chenowith.  Winning the Orignal Song, composers and songwriters Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova performed their “Falling Slowly” on piano and guitar just as they performed it in their film ONCE.

The Oscar Director, Gil Cates, only allowed Hansard to give his thanks and then cued the orchestra to begin playing that awful get-off-the-stage music to hustle the duo out.  In a  wonderful moment host Jon Stewart went bakstage during the commerical break that followed and insisted on giving Irglova her moment in the Oscar sun to enjoy and give thanks for her big moment. This action was heartlfelt and made one feel warm all over. Stewart will be eternaly thanked for his gracious and thoughful actions.

This was a great year for indepent films and European actors; independantly produced films scored better on total nominations and won more awards than studio flicks. All four top acting awards went to Europeans, a first in Oscar history if this reviewer’s memory serves: Best Actress Frenchwoman Marion Cotillard, Best Actor Englishman Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Supporting Actor Spanaird Javier Bardem, and Best Supporting Actress Englishwoman, and all-around fashion icon and brilliant interviewee, the fascinating make-up-less Tilda Swinton.

The best part of the evening was watching the adorable charismatic Marion Cotillard (in a gorgeous white fish scale embroidered Jean Paul Gautier gown) winning a well-deserved Best Actress Oscar for her stunning work as Edith Piaf in LA VIE EN ROSE, when all predictions in MSM had Julie Christie winning a career award for her listless work as a fading Alzheimer’s victim in AWAY FROM HER. Of course, if you’ve been reading this reviewer’s column regularly, you’d know Cotillard would have won.

Another well-deserved winner was Diablo Cody for her original screenplay for JUNO. But it’s really too bad that Cody can’t seem to afford a mirror, especially when she’s just about to go out to the most amazing experience in her life, being a nominated writer at the Academy Awards.  She wore a flowing leopard-print chiffon number that, from many angles, looked like a moo-moo and that she struggled to keep bunched around her. Big fashion no-no Cody, please run now and buy yourself a full-length mirror!

Cody’s acceptance speech was the real moment of the night as she broke out in tears at the end of her acceptance speech when thanking her family for loving her just the way she is. Daniel Day Lewis kneeled at presenter Helen Mirren’s feet when he won his Oscar for Best Actor. It’s nice to see real people experiencing real moments. Isn’t that what we really want to see? People experiencing a peak moment in their lives and enjoying the hell out of it. A vacarious thrill ride for us couch potatoes.

Another year gone by, more lucky winners, and even more unlucky losers. In a year when this reviewer found few Best Picture nominations worthy, and the worthy pictures not even nominated (INTO THE WILD, DIVING BELL), the songs not nominated (Eddie Vedder for his title song from IN THE WILD), it seemed fair that no one picture won all awards either; the honors were failry sprinkled around among many. The Directors have already come to an agreement with AMPTP, so there won’t be a strike from that direction. Next up is the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) contract discussions. Let’s hope the news from Hollywood will be about the movies for the foreseeable future.

—80th Academy Awards Winners and Losers (winners in bold)—

Best motion picture of the year

“Atonement” (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
“Juno” (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production) A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers

“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers WINNER!
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Best documentary feature

“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
“Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara

Taxi to the Dark Side” THINKFilm) An X-Ray PRoduction: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
WINNER! “War/Dance” (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Best foreign language film of the year

“Beaufort” Israel
“The Counterfeiters” Austria WINNER!
“Katyn” Poland
“Mongol” Kazakhstan
“12” Russia

Achievement in directing

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
“Juno” (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Jason Reitman
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy

“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen WINNER!
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson

Performance by an actor in a leading role

George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) WINNER!
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) WINNER!
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)

Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) WINNER!
Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in “Juno” (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)

Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) WINNER!

Best animated feature film of the year

“Persepolis” (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Brad Bird WINNER!
“Surf’s Up” (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Adapted screenplay

“Atonement” (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
“Away from Her” (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood

“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen WINNER!
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Original screenplay

“Juno” (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production), Written by Diablo Cody WINNER!

“Lars and the Real Girl” (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
“The Savages” (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins

Achievement in art direction

“American Gangster” (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo WINNER!
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Achievement in cinematography

“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins

“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit WINNER!

Achievement in costume design

“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne WINNER! “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Achievement in visual effects

“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood WINNER!
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Best documentary short subject

“Freeheld” A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth WINNER!
“La Corona (The Crown)” A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Salim Baba” A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

Achievement in film editing

“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Christopher Rouse WINNER!
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

Achievement in makeup

“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald WINNER!

“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli WINNER!
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova WINNER!
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
“So Close” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Best animated short film

“I Met the Walrus” A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production Alexander Petrov

“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman WINNER!

Best live action short film

“At Night” A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin

“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard WINNER!
“Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
“The Tonto Woman” A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Achievement in sound editing

“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg WINNER!

“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Achievement in sound mixing

“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis WINNER!
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

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Digital Dogs rating: B

Running Time: 3 hours 40 minutes, show ran 20 minutes over scheduled time

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© 2008 by Digital Dogs

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— Digital Dogs is gather’s Los Angeles Movie Correspondent —

Digital Dogs’ column, HOLLYWOOD POV, published every Thursday to Gather Essentials: Movies is an insider’s look at the art, people, and product of Hollywood.

Digital Dogs is an opinionated writer, editor, and digital designer who lives and works in the entertainment capital of the world. DigiDogs writes critiques, opinion pieces, and news stories that focus on the business, people, and places of Hollywood. DigiDogs’ unique film reviews are usually written well before a film’s release date, and definitely worth the advance look at the films that influence the world.

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