You know it’s going to be a strange year at the Academy Awards when Jessica Alba is on your best-dressed list and Gary Busey is the first person you spot on the red carpet. Seriously, not a good sign.
This year’s Oscars was full of surprises: favored "Brokeback Mountain" did not win Best Picture, a rap group took home the Best Song prize for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” and Steve Carell looked gorgeous in fake eyelashes. (Who knew?)
Here’s a rundown of some of the best and worst moments:
- Best skit: The opening montage that showed how show host Jon Stewart was chosen. Billy Crystal and Chris Rock poked their heads out of a tent, a la “Brokeback Mountain”, saying they were “too busy” to host. Then, Steve Martin and David Letterman gave child rearing as their excuses for not having time. Whoopi Goldberg answered with a simple “Oh, Hell no.” Mel Gibson responded, “Not me.” Even the voice of Mr. Moviefone turned down the gig, before the offer was pitched to Jon Stewart. Hmmm…somehow I don’t think this was entirely fiction.
- Worst skit: Ben Stiller meandering around the stage in a green leotard presenting the award for visual effects. Need I say more?
- Worst snub: Cutting off the microphones on Best Picture winner Paul Haggis, during his acceptance speech for “Crash” at the end of the show. Um, hello? The Best Picture category is the reason we watch this show for 12 endless hours, and to miss the payoff is insulting to the winner and the audience. Oh, but that’s right, they couldn’t save time elsewhere because they needed 10 minutes for the Academy president to ramble on about the evil of DVDs.
- Best joke of the night: Jon Stewart for this gem: “I do have some sad news to report. Bjork couldn’t be here tonight. She was trying on her Oscar dress and Dick Cheney shot her!” (For those of you who don’t get this joke, do a Google image search for Bjork’s swan dress from the Oscars a few years ago.)
- Jon Stewart rules: I don’t care that MSNBC and other media pundits reported him an Oscar-host failure akin to David Letterman. Clearly, those folks are out of touch with mainstream America. True, many of those in attendance didn’t seem to appreciate his humor. Still, how can you not love a guy who jokingly accused violinist Itzhak Perlman of “finger synching” and summed up “Walk the Line” as “Ray” with white people.
- Best ad-lib: Actress Jennifer Garner tripped on her dress and almost fell on her way to the podium to present an award. Recovering, she quipped, “Thank you. I do my own stunts.”
- Scene I never thought I’d see at the Oscars: Dancers dressed as pimps and hookers acting out a street hustle during Three 6 Mafia’s performance of the nominated song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” After the rap group claimed the win for Best Song, a shocked Stewart quipped, “I think it just got a little easier out here for a pimp.”
- I wish I could quit you: During Best Supporting Actor George Clooney’s acceptance speech, the camera panned to fellow Best Supporting Actor nominee Jake Gyllenhaal who looked disappointed at his loss. My husband Chad offered this explanation: “Yeah, he kissed a man and didn’t win. I’d be upset too.”
- Kidman confusion: Nicole Kidman’s dialogue, when presenting Best Supporting Actor, had me confused from the get go. She started her speech with, “And the first Oscar of the night goes to a man who first came to prominence in a television show playing an emergency room doctor, or to…” It made me think she just forgot to announce the nominees and went straight for the winner. As it turned out, the award went to Clooney, who “first came to prominence in a television show playing an emergency room doctor.” The conspiracy theorist in me says that Kidman’s beginning dialogue was a heads up to her pal Clooney that he was the winner. But the reality is that it was probably just poor speech writing.
- Mind if I look at your Winchester?: I’m still spinning from the sarcastic montage of classic westerns that Jon Stewart introduced when questioning the sexuality of the classic cowboys. The montage featured legendary cowboys such as John Wayne, Paul Newman, and others inspecting each other’s guns and one other. I’ll never be able to watch an old western the same way again. Hilarious.
- DVD backlash: First the Academy president took a swipe at moviegoers, or the lack thereof, by saying that the only way to truly enjoy a movie is at the theater with a big screen, a room full of strangers, and sound blaring at us from all sides. Then, Jake Gyllenhaal wished us good luck in trying to enjoy "Ben-Hur" on a TV or portable DVD player. Dare I call them movie snobs? Note to Hollywood: Sure movies are better on the big screen. But, Smalltown, USA rarely gets the selection of films that you do, as they open in “limited release.” And not everyone has $40 to spend on an evening out for two movie tickets, popcorn and sodas. So, we pick and choose which ones to drop our cash on and which ones to wait for the DVD. By the way, I’m still waiting for my refund for “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
- Dawson’s Creek alert: Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) and Joey Potter’s roommate, Audrey (Busy Philipps) who is now brunette, were seated in the front row for the ceremony. Did they forget to call Dawson?
- Everybody loves George: The best running joke of the night was the fact that apparently everyone loves George Clooney. Several winners paid tribute to him. Three 6 Mafia gave him a shout out during their acceptance speech. Winner Corine Marrinan thanked the Academy for seating her next to Clooney at the luncheon, and makeup winner Howard Berger joked, “I’m just glad Clooney doesn’t do makeup.” Even host Stewart got in on the gag after Clooney won an Oscar, “Doesn’t he have ENOUGH?”
- Cutest skit: Chicken Little and his friend Abby Mallard, the duck, presenting an award for animation. Abby, upset that she has no pants in her costume and that Disney consistently refuses to give the duck characters pants, went on a political rant that even Mickey Mouse and Pinocchio have pants. In an effort of protest, Chicken Little ripped off his pants, only to realize he was naked in front of a billion viewers. Horrified, he quickly crafted a makeshift pair of pants out of the winner envelope. Too cute. Disney, you have been warned.
- Red carpet arrivals, not: The arrival interviews are usually one of my favorite parts of the show. Not this year. E!’s coverage with host Isaac Mizrahi was atrocious. He interviewed only a few celebrities, and when he did, the questions were silly and predictable. Ryan Seacrest was the best part. Why isn’t he down on the red carpet? Oh how I miss Kathy Griffin and Joan and Melissa. Hence, I clicked over to my TiVo’d TV- Guide-Channel arrivals with Joan. She didn’t fare much better. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see her interview Reese, Joaquin, Charlize and the other big-name nominees. Did the stars decide to boycott the interviews this year, or am I just watching the wrong channels?
- Fashion Smashion: The theme this year was Return to Glamour. Too bad the ladies didn’t get the memo. These were the least glamorous Oscar fashions I’ve seen in years. Several dresses were boring colors: beige, ecru and off white. Others were black, boring and safe. My best-dressed list includes Salma Hayek in a gorgeous teal number, Jennifer Lopez in olive green, and Jessica Alba in a beige number with a small train. My worst dressed list is a shock, even to me. Michelle Williams’s bright yellow frock was painful, despite that her face and hair were beautiful and flawless. And Charlize Theron, who can never look bad, missed the mark with her dress featuring a hideous, gigantic bow on one shoulder. Where are Halle and Renee when you need them?
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