Friday, February 23, 2007

Rolling Out The Red Carpet

The media frenzy hasn't quite reached Super Bowl proportions yet, but it feels like it's starting to get there.

The festivities kicked off Thursday night with an Oprah Winfrey Oscar special on ABC, and will continue on Sunday with the TV Guide Channel running their red-carpet special starring Joan and Melissa Rivers, in which they spend two hours criticizing who is wearing what, followed by the broadcast itself (8 p.m., ABC), three-plus hours of the most interminable television imaginable.

In Britain, they held the equivalent of the Oscars last week called the BAFTAs, and that broadcast by comparison was crisp and precise. No musical numbers, no pontificating, none of the stuff that makes the Oscars excruciating to watch.

To think, the Oscars used to actually be a lot worse, when stars saw the awards show as their two-minute platforms to criticize some aspect of the world they didn't like and felt like they had to share with the rest of us. Not to mention the terrible musical revues they would do with the show, nor the fact that the show often ran well past the time it was supposed to end.

Ellen DeGeneres is back as the host of the show, and I think she's a pretty good choice in what has to be one of the most thankless tasks in Hollywood. I thought Jon Stewart did a very respectable job last year as host, yet he got lambasted by the critics.

Anyway, it's a very long process to find out whether or not I won the office Oscar pool.

(By the way, I recant everything above if I ever sell a script that gets nominated for an Oscar.)

For more Oscar coverage, Reel Fanatic blogger Keith Demko and I talk about the Best Picture nominees via podcast on with Webmaster Ryan Gilchrest, and in Sunday's edition of The Telegraph, I give my predictions while Keith lists some of the bigger oversights and bad choices made by the Academy.

Among my personal oversights: Aaron Eckhardt for "Thank You For Smoking," Jason Reitman for Best Adapted Screenplay for the same movie, Gretchen Mol for "The Notorious Bettie Page," and Michael Sheen as Best Supporting Actor for "The Queen."

WEEKEND'S WORST BET: Notice I said "worst." TNT is re-running the 1999 movie "Payback," starring Mel Gibson. This was a mediocre effort when it came out originally, and I thought little more of it until I saw writer/director Brian Helgeland's re-cut of the movie at the Austin Film Festival, and it blew me away. It's a shame that Gibson and the studio made the changes they did. Do yourselves a favor and find the director's cut of the movie and forget the version that TNT shows.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Mostly new episodes among the usual Friday fare, so if you watch TV on Friday nights, you are in luck.

On Saturday, the conclusion to the terrific miniseries "The State Within" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) airs. If you missed the first two episodes, the network is re-running them beginning with Part I at 3 p.m. The series revolves around America and Britain's response after a terrorist act is committed in Washington, D.C.

Sunday will be pretty quiet because of the Oscars, but new episodes of "Grease: You're The One That I Want" (NBC, 8 p.m.) and "The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.) will air, as will new installments of "The Dresden Files" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) and "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci-Fi, 10 p.m.)


Zodin2008 said...

I will personally be skipping any movie ever starring Mel Gibson again, I don't care how much better the uncut version is; As far as I am concerned, Mel Gibson is an evil, foul mouthed bigot, and his movies don't register on my radar screen.

That being said, the Oscars this weekend, I agree...I HATE the red capret stuff especially half wits like Billy Bush and Ryan Seacrest; those phony plastic smiles on both of them creep me out entirely.

But Seacrest and Bush have NOTHING on the Rivers women who's very presence literally takes years off my Television's life.

My High Definition may in fact break on Sunday if asked to show the Rivers' plastic surgery in High Def. "Star Wars", NFL Football, cool Discovery programs...that's what supposed to be in High Def., not Joan and Melissa Rivers.

As for the Oscar nominated movies, first, I couldn't agree more..."Thank You for Smoking" was the best movie of the year. Aaron Eckhardt should have been nominated for Best Actor. And guess know what the second best movie of the year was? "Casino Royale" and yes, not only would I have nominated the James Bond movie for Best Picture, I would have also suggested Daniel Craig receive a Best Actor nomination.

As for the 5 films Hollywood chose, I have (so far) only seen 1 of those movies..."The Departed" and I thought it was excellent. In afct, I am stunned that DiCaprio wouldn't get a Best Actor nomination for this film, but rather for a film ("Blood Diamond") which was generally mixed from the critics and where DiCaprio's fake South African accent in the previews were so distractingly awful, I avoided the movie entirely.

Still, my wife and I have a plan set in motion this weekend where by Sunday night, we will have either rented or gone to see all 5 films.

I just stopped at the video store to rent "Babel", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Departed" for my wife, and we will likely see "Letters from Iwo Jima" at the movies Sunday.

I haven't figured out eyt how and when I am going to see "The Queen" since it's not available on Video and my wife's already seen it so I can't drag her to the movies. That will be a toughie.

Phillip Ramati said...

Hey, no one would love Oscar to notice franchise films like Bond more than me, but it's never going to happen unless the source material is classic literature (Lord of the Rings) or it's limited to the technical categories, such as effects or makeup or costume.

Good luck in trying to get all of the films in. How could you have not seen Little Miss Sunshine yet?

Phillip Ramati said...

P.S. I forgot to add that speaking of Bond, I had also hope that "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale would have been among the Best Song nominees (did we need three from Dreamgirls?) and that X-Men 3 probably could have been added to Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup.

Zodin2008 said...

I'm not saying I had any expectations that Bond films would be included, I am just saying personally, "Casino Royale" was one of the 2 or 3 best films I saw this year, plus it was highly entertaining.

And though it was 25 years ago, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was nominated in 1982. It's not unprecedented for a film to be wildly entertaining and popular at the box office AND get nominated for an Oscar.

PS--I am now at home watching "Little Miss Sunshine" on DVD. Three more films to go...

Hotspur said...

I agree with Zodin about Mel Gibson. I would not see a Gibson even for free. I agree with Phillip re BAFTA and the Oscars. Viewing Bafta was a pleasure, viewing the Oscar is like a toothache. Would not have minded the Bond movie being nominated,

Best movie definately the one that starred the best actress Helen Mirren.

Zodin2008 said...

Well, I managed to pull off the impossible this past weekend and my wife & I saw all 5 Oscar nominated films leading into the big (dull) show.

Our vote for best picture by the end was "letters from Iwo Jima" but we agreed the only movie that didn't really deserve an Oscar was "Little Miss Sunshine".

As to your anointing of "The Queen"...Helen Mirren likely deserved the best actress Oscar (though to be fair, I didn't see the other 4 performances to compare) but the movie was a glorified, really good, TV movie. A good movie but hardly great.

The movie's performances, however, were excellent between Mirren, James Cromwell as Prince Phillip and particularly, Michael Sheen who should have received an acting nomination as Tony Blair.

Like "The Pursuit of Happyness", which most say was a mediocre film (I assume "The Queen" was far better) but Will Smith was nominated because his performance was above the material.

As for the Oscar show itself, I hated it with a fiery passion and I now truloy can't stand Degeneres. I can't stand her because she's so P.C. and dull and spent the entire evening basically kissing up and not saying anything interesting. The stuffed shirts may have been 'appalled' by Jon Stewart and Chris Rock the last 2 years, but Stewart and Rock were each hysterically funny in their own ways, especially because those two comedians were unafraid to make jokes that we were ALL making at home.

I mean, I know a lot of people who were making fun of Jude Law for being in like 'every movie' in December of 2004 and ock called him on it...but stinking Sean Penn was offended and got his panties in a knot?

Or Jon Stewart last year making fun of clips or doing a joke sketch with clips about clip shows...or him waking up next tio Halle Barry and George Clooney. That was hysterical. Both comedians were fearless in their jokes and it made the shows worthwhile for once.

All the 80 year olds running Oscar would rather have Ellen, Billy Crystal or Steve Martin do the same dull routines--pathetic.

What's worse is that this show went 3 and 1/2 frakking hours and it was hardly funny the whole night with the exception of the Jack Black/Will Ferrell bit to Helen Mirren and the co-stars of "The Devil Wears Prada" playing it up with Meryl Streep. Some of teh rare cute moments of the night.

Another thing I hated on Oscar night? Jennifer Hudson in all her diva-ness.

Most critics agree that the unknown actresses in "Babel" were most deserving (I agree, especially the nanny character--heartbreaking performances) and yet here's Hudson, who none of us would even know who she was if it wasn't for "American Idol" (and since I don't watch AI, I wouldn't have known her even then) would never ever have gotten her big break in "Dreamgirls", no WAY, and she now bashes the show and refused to acknowledge them. Total diva, totally classless, and I hope her career fizzles quickly so that in 2 years, when she can't buy a role, she begs the "Idol" producers to bring her back for a special diva appearance.