Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2008, Episode 3
"There have been some great Austrian filmmakers working here," declared director Stefan Ruzowitzky, in accepting the win for his nation's The Counterfeiters. "Most of them --- Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, Otto Preminger --- had to leave my country because of the Nazis, so it sort of makes sense that the first Austrian movie to win an Oscar is about the Nazis' crimes. [In] making this movie, I had a most brilliant cast, a wonderful crew, and the best of all families to support me back at home --- so, actually, it was all very easy for me."
Well, it might have been easy for you, Stefan, but you're not the one writing this chronicle down! Anyway, the next presenter was Patrick Dempsey, who introduced the last of the nominated songs, "So Close" from Enchanted! After that, Travolta took over the stage to recap the five nominees for Best Original Song. And in yet another upset, Hansard and Irglova won the night with "Falling Slowly" from Once. "We shot this film 2 years ago on two Handycams," Glen Hansard exclaimed. "It took us 3 weeks to make, and we made it for $100,000. We never thought we'd come into a room like this and be in front of all you people, so thanks for taking this film seriously, all of you." Leading into the next set of spots, the Ancient Sage --- Steven Spielberg --- reminisced on his own great Oscar triumph --- Schindler's List.
It must be noted that, in a rare gesture of nobility, our host Jon Stewart invited Marketa Irgolva back onto the stage to say the words she had wanted to say, but couldn't because she got interrupted by the commercial:
"This is such a big deal for all independent musicians and artists who spend their time struggling, and the fact that we're standing here tonight, being able to hold this, it's just to prove that no matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible. Fair play to those who dare to dream and don't give up [is a part of the reason] this song was written --- because this song was written from a perspective of hope. And hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are." A true gesture of kindness indeed, on an otherwise horrifyingly rotten Oscar Night.
Cameron Diaz next was on stage to present Best Cinematography; and when Robert Elswit accepted for There Will Be Blood, he said this: "John Toll won this a number of years ago, and he said that the production designer on his movie, that 50% of it belonged to him. Well, 80% of this one belongs to Jack Fisk and his crew: David Crank and Dylan Tichenor. But we all really know that this really, really belongs to Paul. This [is the result of] his imagination, his energy, and his extraordinary vision." Hilary Swank then took to the stage to present another really, really serious portion of the show: Oscar's 2007 Necrology, wherein those we lost to the forces of Time since our previous year's telecast were remembered.
Amy Adams returned to the podium, this time with Best Original Score. Dario Marianelli's themes from Atonement inspired these words of thanks: "I'm a very lucky man, because I was part of a fantastic group of people that made a fantastic film. It's called a movie because it's a moving film, and I'm really grateful to our director, Joe Wright, who included me in this fantastic group of gifted people."
Tom Hanks then introduced Best Documentary Short, assisted by some noble-hearted servicemen fighting for our nation! Five members of our proud troops, were stationed somewhere in Baghdad. They were assigned each of the nominees in this category to identify individually; the triumphant short was Freeheld, the true story of Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester, Ocean County, NJ Police Department, and how, in what would be the last year of her life, she struggled to transfer the remains of her pension to her same-sex partner, Stacie Andree. Freeheld will next be screened April 4th through 6th, during the Garden State Film Festival.
Cynthia Wade, the film's director, thanked Sheila Nevins and the HBO Documentary gang for giving the film a broadcast home, on Cinemax' Reel Life later this summer. Vanessa Roth, the film's co-executive producer, thanked all those who believed that even a 38-minute movie could change minds, lives, and our children who remind us about what's really important. Then, as we began our final set of commercial messages, Elton John spoke of his own Best Song memory --- the always simple Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
Harrison Ford took some time off from defending the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to share Best Original Screenplay with us. Doubtless we will NEVER forget the sexiest Best Original Screenplay Oscar winner ever! Everybody drool for Diablo Cody! (Hubba hubba!) "I worship you guys, and I'm learning from you every day," she sobbed happily, and after running through a few of her mates from Juno, Daiblo thanked her parents for loving her just as she was! (I suspect, though, that there will be those wanting to blog her blog looking to take her out on a date!)
And look where we suddenly are: 80 years of Oscar's Best Actors; then the Queen herself, Helen Mirren, didst grant Knighthood unto Javier Bardem. "I have to speak fast here, man," said he. "Thank you to the Coens for being crazy enough to think that I could do this with one of the most horrible haircuts in history over my head." And then, Espanol reared its head yet again: Mama esto es para ti. Esto es para tus abuelos 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! And that sets up the night's penultimate Oscar --- a package of 80 years of Oscar's Best Directors! And then, out came our lovable Marty!
After Scorsese gave the Brothers Coen their Best Director trophies, Joel had this to add:
"Ethan and I have been making stories with movie cameras ever since we were kids. In the late 60s, when Ethan was 11 or 12, he got a suit and a briefcase, and we went down to the Minneapolis International Airport with a Super 8 camera, and we made a movie about shuttle diplomacy called Henry Kissinger: Man on the Go! And what we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then. There are just too many people to thank for this. We're really thrilled to have received it, and we're very thankful to all of you for letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox, so thank you very much."
So No Country for Old Men won the Best Picture Oscar; all we needed now was for Denzel Washington to say so. And once he did, Scott Rudin, who had always dreamed himself of being a Best Picture Oscar winner, called it an unbelievable honor and a complete surprise! And after all that --- the shortest Oscar telecast in memory, clocking in at 3 hours, 55 minutes --- Jon Stewart wrapped it up thusly: "Thank you for joining us for the 80th Academy Awards, and thank you all for coming out, and get home safe. We'll see you next time, everybody. Good night!"
So, unfortunately, what was supposed to have been a five-parter has, alas, been reduced to a mere trilogy. Well, that's what you get for taking a couple days off. Still --- anyway, at least things'll be better, one hopes, when Blackwolf @ the Oscars 2009 reareth its ugly mug! As ever, a Dragonmaster's work is never done! Ah, me!