Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2007, Episode One
There were a few surprises among the commercials, starting with a Washington Mutual spot featuring naked bankers; said spot was far too silly for even my tastes! The Academy-sanctioned arrivals show was, thankfully, hosted by boring ol' Chris Connelly, with Lisa Ling, Vogue Magazine's Andre Leon Talley and Lucky Magazine's Allyson Waterman, who was also an Oscar.com correspondent. The brief opening titles featured the penguins from Happy Feet, along with Lightning McQueen from Disney/Pixar's Cars and the crew of the Little Miss Sunshine bus.
The whole thing had more interviews than I could properly follow, mostly because the 30 minutes went incredibly super-fast, as you might expect of a show like this --- a show boasting a record 177 NOMINEES --- the most ever at a single awards show! What's more, there was the return of tag-team announcers (Huzzah!), as Gina Tottle, who had previously announced at Oscars 2001, was teamed with no less than America's Action Announcer himself, Don LaFontaine! Now how cool is that? say I! Nonetheless, following Errol Morris' opening film, wherein several of the nominees talked about about why they all were there this Oscar Night, Ellen DeGeneres made her first appearance of the evening. And she did not disappoint, her opening monologue running the gamut from "If you kids out there dream of hosting this show one day, aim lower!" to "Too many British nominees? Not here!" Then of course, there was the topper: "America did not vote for Jennifer Hudson, but she's up for an Academy Award tonight! Yet, America voted for Al Gore, and he's here tonight, too!" All of a sudden, the monologue took an unexpected turn when a gospel choir came out, testified in front of the Kodak Theatre crowd and sang of the joy of celebrating nominees!
This led to the first Oscar of the night --- Best Art Direction/Set Decoration. Eugenio Caballero thanked the Academy for making the dream of Pan's Labyrinth a reality. He dedicated his and Pilar Revuelta's Oscar to everyone who made the film, and particularly his mum and everyone in Mexico who has ever wanted to make a film. Ole! Then Maggie Gyllenhall came out to give a few shout-outs to this year's major Sci-Tech Oscar Winner, Ray Feeney, pioneer in the field of software solutions for movie visual effects, who was honored with this year's Gordon E. Sawyer Award --- one among the Sci-Tech Oscars that the telecast never has time for (of course, we do here!) --- and we'll take it (for now) as far as that Special Commendation Award to Ioan Allen, Wayne & Mary Ann Anderson, Ted Costas, Paul R. Goldberg, Shawn Jones, Thomas Kuhn, Dr. Alan Masson, Colin Mossman, Marty Richards, Frank Ricotta and Richard C. Sehlin --- all of whom have made significant contributions to the environmentally resposnsible industry conversion from silver-based to cyan dye analog soundtracks.
As for the Scientific and Engineering Plaques, and the Technical Achievement Certificates, those we'll take care of on the next exciting episode of --- Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2007!