Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2008, Episode 1
In all honesty, the suspense of this year's 80th Anniversary Academy Awards --- or, should I say, the lack thereof --- was such that your humble Dragonmaster doubts now whether it shall in fact be feasible to push ye olde envelope and go the full five episodes. But I have sworn that I would deliver; now, hear you my chronicle!
As usual, KABC/Los Angeles' An Evening @ the Academy Awards, developed for the ABC-Owned & Operated Stations, was a miserable flop, with George Pennachio, Marc Brown, Randolph Duke and Michelle Tuzee, along with Robb Hayes, Lisa Guerrero and Jane Monreal, wasting their alloted 30 minutes to such an extent that there was little use in kvetching about the damn thing. As for the presence of Richard Roeper, know that I was not fooled by the gimmick. One could, as I did, presume that Roger Ebert, despite still being physically indisposed, could still blog about the ins and outs of the telecast, as I do hither, but in all honesty, this 'guest critic' crap simply MUST go; indeed, one might as well just refer to the blarsted thing as simply The Richard Roeper Show! This is why I keep telling the twits at ABC7/L.A. to leave the 30-minute live @ 6:30 (ET) Oscar thing to OUR Eyewitness News guys; at the very least, they can be superfast when they damn well wanna be!
The TV Guide Channel's team --- Joey Fatone, Lisa Rinna, Chris Harrison, Maria Sansone, Joel Gourdin, Nikki Boyer --- simply filled their live 5 hours with annoying, minor-league banter prior to getting to the big stuff (this would, of course, be the celebrity arrivals), and as for Ryan Seacrest and his E! News Team --- Giuliana Rancic, Madison Michelle, Sal Masakela, Debbie Matenopoulous, Catt Sadler, Jason Kennedy, Ashlan Gorse, Ken Baker, Ben Lyons, Kim Kardshian, and Amanda Luttrell-Garrigus --- I simply found them guilty of similar horrifying silliness. One wonders if these competing wannabe red carpet teams were making the idioit yet necessary quest to run roughshod o'er each other, as they battled to interview celebrity after celebrity.
Anyway, following a killer opening title sequence, we went straight to work, and Jon Stewart's monologue included several major hit-or-miss one-liners --- but, for some, these were mostly miss. For example: "Tonight, welcome to the make-up sex!" and "Before we spend the next four to five hours giving out gold statues, shouldn't we start congratulating ourselves? How will we know that it's the future?" There was, I fear, barely anything worth giggling about. Fortunately, the monologue wasn't all that long, and Jennifer Garner got the party started with the Oscar for Best Costume Design. Alexandra Byrne thanked the Academy, Working Title Films, Universal Pictures, her team of costume guys and of course, Cate Blanchett who, as Elizabeth I, made Elizabeth: The Golden Age worth the time. We then threw it to a brief package of La Streisand reminiscing on her "Hello, gorgeous!" line of yore; then, tag team announcing didst return to the Oscars, with Milady Randy Thomas teamed up in the booth with newcomer Tom Kane. Why, 'twas difficult to tell which of them would be the first between them to say, "The 80th Annual Academy Awards will continue in a moment, here on ABC!"
George Clooney, whose presence was all over the damn show, introduced the next package --- a rundown of 80 years of Oscar history; then we were treated to Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell introducing Best Animated Feature; to no one's surprise, the rat (I believe we're referring to Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille) nabbed the trophy. And here's Brad Bird's take on A Brief History of Animation:
"I also wanna thank my junior high school guidance counselor for a meeting we had where he asked me: "What do you wanna do with your life?" and I said, "I wanna make movies." Then he said, "What else do you wanna do with your life?" And I said, "Make movies;" then he said: "What if you couldn't make movies?" I said, "I'd find a way that I could." He said, "What if movies didn't exist?" "I'd have to invent them" --- and it went on and on and on until we were sick of each other, and I only realized just recently that he had given me the perfect training for the movie business. So I wanna thank my wife Liz, whom I love, my sons, and thank you, all the dreamers at Pixar and Disney (wrap it up, I hate that thing), and everybody else who supported a rat who dreams. Thanks."
Next came Katherine Heigl with the Makeup Oscar --- and Didier LaVergne and Jan Archibald were among the more overwhelmed acceptance speech utterers, if you will. Didier didn't know what else to say; Jan simply called his team hard-working and that he owed much to them for their work on La Vie en Rose. We were then treated to Amy Adams crooning Enchanted!'s "Happy Working Song"; and just before Hour One came to an end, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones shared with us their memories on what it was like to win an Oscar.
Kicking off Hour Two, Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson intro'd the Visual Effects Oscar --- and fans of Captain Jack Sparrow and fans of Optimus Prime are together right now screaming "We wuz robbed!" Why? you ask. Because the winner proved to be the floperoo that was The Golden Compass, that's why! Michael Fink, Billy Westenhofer, Benny Morris and Trevor Wood, I hope you're all proud of yourselves, because you all ruined a Pirate's --- and an Autobot's --- weekend bigtime! Segue to the next segment, Master Blackwolf, I hear ye Mortals grumbling! Alright, you fools; I'm just getting warm'd up!
Cate Blanchett hosted Art Direction and Set Decoration; Dante Ferretti and Francesco Lo Schiavo weren't too cool in the English department, though I was, fortunately able to understand their words, a glimpse of which I offer here, starting with Dante: "Tim Burton, fantastic director. Thank you, Richard Zanuck. Thank you to everybody, my team, all the departments, everyone." And Francesca: "Tim Burton, great director; Johnny Depp and all the actors, everybody, for this fantastic movie." We then head for a recap of 80 years of Best Supporting Actor; then Jennifer Hudson presented that very Oscar to Javier Bardem. Here's what he told his mom, en Espanol, on his triumphant role of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men:
"Mama, esto es para ti. Esto es para tus abeulos, para tus padres, Rafael y Matilde. Esto es para los comicos de Espana que han traido la dignidad y el orgullo a nuestro oficio. Esto es para Espana! Y esto es para todos vosotros!" Next, Jon returned to the stage to set up two short packages saluting Oscar's favorite binocular and periscope moments --- and a few bad dreams to back them up.
The telecast's one truly magical moment, however, belonged to 11-year-old Jamia Semone Nash. She, and her playmates in the IMPACT Repertory Theatre, were intro'd by Keri Russell, to perform August Rush's "Raise it Up"; and my word, did they ever! I was hoping they'd actually go into the audience and coerce everyone into clapping hands and all that; alas, it never happened. Oh, well.
Next on Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2008: The Short Subjects; Sidney Poitier reflects on his Oscar memories; and the Sci-Tech Oscar winners! Be here!