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I Am Oscar Dot Com: Blogging the Oscars with TiVo

I've always been outspoken about my love of TiVo, that little box that sits in my entertainment console whose little red light twinkles in the evening light with the promise of fresh programming and the absence of commercials. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it's mindless commercials that interrupt the flow of the show I am watching (and yes, I am aware that's it's those very same commercials that make it possible for me to watch those shows). But thanks to TiVo, I can start Lost late and zip through commercials for Supernanny and laundry detergent and catch up with Locke and Jack that much more quickly.

It also comes in handy on nights, where awards shows like, say, the Oscars for example, can drag on endlessly for hours and viewers are forced to slog through commercial break after commercial break and acceptance speech after acceptance speech. (I don't mind moving speeches, such as George Clooney's, but if I have to hear someone thank their manager/publicist/hairstylist/psychic one more time, I will scream.)

I sat down to the Oscars an hour late (here on the West Coast they are--shock, horror--actually live, as opposed to the tape-delayed idiocy of the Golden Globes, which though only happening less than a mile from where I am typing, must travel some three hours through the space-time continuum in order to air--delayed--during primetime) and planned to watch the awards using the magic of TiVo to speed things up and watch only what I wanted to watch.

So between paying bills, doing laundry, ordering Thai food, and doing the dishes, I managed to watch what I wanted of the Oscars, TiVo-style:

0:01 This opening montage is... interesting in a sort of Hey-Ma-Aren't-I-Good-with-Final-Cut-Pro sort of way. Strike that, it's rather creepy. Do we really need to see Spider-Man interacting with James Dean and Julia Roberts strolling down the street with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz? Plus, the mix of black and white and color images against the computer-generated background just looks... odd. A definite thumbs down.

0:02 Much better is the Ghosts-of-Oscar-Presenters-Past sequence, highlighting all the others that have come before: Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman (will he ever live past the Uma-Oprah scandal?).

0:03 Jon Stewart wakes up next to Halle Berry in a dream sequence, only to then wake up next to George Clooney. Okay, that was pretty funny.

0:05 Five minutes in, we're finally getting the party started. The theme for the evening is "A Return to Glamour," a welcome change from last year which Stewart describes as "Night of 1000 Sweatpants."

0:10 Yes, a Bjork-Dick Cheney joke!

0:16 A simply gorgeous Nicole Kidman, looking absolutely stunning as always, presents the first award of the evening to Best Supporting Actor winner George Clooney, who goes on to give a beautiful and memorable acceptance speech. Could this be the year of relevant speeches?

0:26 Tom Hanks appears in a previously recorded video where he is attacked by members of the orchestra when his speech goes too long. Can we please put this old gag to bed already?

0:29 Ben Stiller in a green unitard. 'Nuff said.

0:33 Yay! Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit takes home the award for Best Animated Feature. Nick Park and Peter Lord are wearing matching bow ties and even have littler matching bow ties for their Oscars.

0:34 Oh, Naomi, you know I adore you, but there is no way I am going to watch the musical numbers tonight.

0:57 Steve Carell and Will Ferrell present the award for makeup, wearing egregious amounts of makeup themselves. While Ferrell's sunburn looked painful, Carell's fake eyelashes took the cake.

1:03 A tongue-tied Morgan Freeman announces the Best Supporting Actress category. Come on, Amy Adams! Ah, damn, no luck. But a resplendent Rachel Weisz wins instead for her amazing work in The Constant Gardener, which haunted me long after the lights came up in the theatre.

1:16 I accidentally skip over something with Lauren Bacall. Oops.

1:17 Fake campaign commercials for the Best Actress race. Okay, these are hilarious, especially comparing Keira Knightley's cheekbones to "god dust" (having sat next to her at Urth Caffe on Melrose a few months back, I concur; they are magnificent specimens).

1:21 Charlize Theron, in a rather, er, interesting dress (what up with the shoulder poof, girl?) presents the Best Documentary Feature to... March of the Penguins!!! But did they have to bring those stuffed penguins up on stage like that? (And why did the cameras suddenly cut during the acceptance speech to a startled-looking Morgan Freeman backstage?)

1:24 Almost started to fast forward when Jennifer Lopez saunters onto the stage but I love Kathleen "Bird" York's song from Crash. (How could you not love a woman who played Lindsay's mom on The OC AND written songs for such memorable shows as Jake 2.0?) But did they really need a blazing car on the stage? Isn't that, you know, overkill?

1:41 The president of the Academy is brought out and I immediately fast-forward again. Must bring out someone hot to counteract this. Ah, Salma Hayek. Just what the doctor ordered. Even if she's just introducing conductor Bill Conti, you can't take your eyes off of her.

2:03 Could Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep be the next, great comedy duo?

2:10 My God, Robert Altman has made a lot of great movies...

2:14 ... and even had a heart transplant.

2:27 Jennifer Garner nearly trips over her gown and then proceeds to trip over her words as well. "I do my own stunts," she says. Oh, Jennifer. I don't find you anywhere near as amusing and wonderful as I used to, especially since the whole, you know, Ben Affleck thing.

2:44 We finally begin hitting the major categories as Hilary Swank announces the award for Best Actor, giving it to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote. While--sacrilege--I didn't particularly care for either movie, I thought Heath Ledger's performance in Brokeback Mountain was more subtle and powerful compared to Hoffman's, which seemed more like a caricature of Truman Capote than a full-blown character.

2:54 Major upset as Memoirs of a Geisha takes the cinematography prize, over Brokeback Mountain. Perhaps Brokeback won't take home the Best Picture Oscar after all?

2:57 Jamie Foxx presents the Best Actress Oscar to Reese Witherspoon. Her dress is simply stunning and she is articulate and adorable at the same time. Plus she remembers to thank hubby Ryan (I was getting a little nervous there for a few seconds).

3:05 Surprise, surprise, we're running over. Adapted Screenplay goes to Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana for Brokeback Mountain (not really surprised). Larry in his aw-shucks way thanks all the bookshops of the world. I like that.

3:12 Best Original Screenplay goes to Bobby Moresco and Paul Haggis for Crash. I wonder... Meanwhile, Haggis thanks people who take real risks in their lives to change the world for the better.

3:18 Long-haired Tom Hanks is on hand to present the Oscar for Directing, which goes to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain. I think we can now safely say that he has repented for the travesty that was The Incredible Hulk.

3:22 Jack Nicholson, wearing sunglasses (surprise, surprise), opens the envelope for Best Picture, which goes to... Crash?!?! Okay that is truly shocking. Producer Cathy Schulman thanks all of her producers and financiers (even the litigious Bob Yari) and "everyone in every single office at Lionsgate." Isn't that sweet?

And that's it for the Oscars, 2006.

The Good: Jon Stewart as host--his patented brand of self-deprecating humor and deadpan delivery made the first half of the telecast a joy to watch; relevant and touching speeches (George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon; Ang Lee; Paul Haggis).

The Bad: Stewart seemed to vanish during the second half, only coming out every now and then to toss out a few witty remarks; montage after montage after montage (Stewart wasn't kidding when he said that they had run out of film clips; it certainly felt that way); the use of the proscenium "marquee," which felt distracting, especially when it displayed the names of the...presenters; the computer animated Chicken Little bit--I hate when they do things like that.

Overall: Not bad, but still way too long and a little slow, even with help from TiVo. But what else is new?

P.S. The presenters and nominees all received gift bags valued at $100,000. Did you know that by law, they are required to pay $40,000 on taxes for that? I'd rather the Academy keep my espresso machine and vacation vouchers. Good riddance.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: King of Queens/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); 7th Heaven (WB); Wife Swap (ABC); 24 (FOX; 8-10 pm); One on One/All of Us (UPN)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/Courting Alex (CBS); The Apprentice (NBC); Related (WB); Supernanny (ABC); Girlfriends/Half & Half (UPN)

10 pm: CSI: Miami (CBS); Medium (NBC); Miracle Workers (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

The Apprentice.

Even though this is being billed as a Carolyn-less episode, I'll still be tuning in anyway. Even though the show isn't exactly high on my priority list on my TiVo's Season Pass Manager, there just isn't anything else for me to watch on Monday evenings. As for telling me why I should watch 24, thanks, but no thanks. Real life is scary enough without watching Jack Bauer defuse a nuclear bomb or similar at the start of the work week.


Anonymous said…
"I thought Heath Ledger's performance in Brokeback Mountain was more subtle and powerful compared to Hoffman's"


Though overall I would have preferred Terrence, Joaquin or David to either of these two.
Jace Lacob said…
Poor David... will this guy ever catch a break? I thought he was AMAZING as Edward R. Murrow, but the other two performances were much more flashy and buzzed-about.
Anonymous said…
it's the subtle ones that usually impress me more. That's what I liked about Heath so much. He didn't overdo it, for the most part.

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