Halle Berry's cleavage introduces Sting, singing a song called -- no, really -- "My Funny Friend and Me" from The Emperor's New Groove. The slow but certain Elton-John-ification of Sting is now complete, and my childhood of thinking he was the coolest man in show business has lost its last shred of evidence. This is the man who penned the lyrics "First you fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect/Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect" in the early eighties. I smile and think of Oscars 2025, when Fred Durst and L'il Kim duet on Randy Newman's "I Like Cutie Puppies" from Disney's newest feature, Bubblegum, Summer, and Puffy White Clouds. My. Funny. Friend. And. Me. Why not just name it "Gayer Things You're Ne'er to See" and dispense with the subtext? Sting won't win.
Annette Bening looks crazy as the orchestra vamps through "Rain On My Parade" because she's Barbra Streisand for some reason. She introduces the clip for best picture nominee Erin Brockovich. I love Julia Roberts and her vintage Valentino so much that I won't even try and describe it. I also love that Erin Brockovich and Traffic are the only two movies nominated that showed an actual clip from the film, rather than some soundtrack-drenched montage that adds up to nothing more than a glorified trailer from a movie we've all already seen. This somehow asserts Traffic's superiority over every other nominated film all over again. Soderbergh split, my ass. Traffic didn't win best picture because it was just too cool. Or maybe it did win. Still two and a half hours from finding out, really. Julia shifts in her seat. Danny DeVito wears dark sunglasses that I'm sure will prevent anyone from recognizing him. Who is that squat bald man sitting next to Rhea Pearlman? Is it…Dom DeLuise? The disguise! Perhaps it's too good.
Penelope Cruz. My roommate and I do an angry impression of Woman On Top because we're bitter we saw it, even for free. Costume design. The Slowest Walking Woman In Show Business ascends the stage several hours after the applause and music stop to accept the award for Gladiator. She speaks slowly. She leaves slowly. Dave Foley leafs though his files to make sure his Mr. Heavyfoot patent hasn't expired. It hasn't. He'll file suit first thing Monday.
The outgoing president of the Academy makes a presidential pardon joke. Booooo. We were so close.
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"And now, I'm pleased to introduce the star of the film Gladiator
and a man I like to call a close, personal friend. But he asked me not to." Heh again. He's working the crowd, that Steve Martin is. He then proceeds to run like hell as Russell Crowe, Matrix
tuxedo coat co-opted from every other man in the audience tonight but really only worked by Sam Jackson (and I suspect everybody already knows that), glowers his way out on stage. His pompadour hair makes me wonder if he hasn't just run over from the set of Gus Van Sant's shot-by-shot remake of Billy Joel's "Keeping the Faith" video. 'Cause he's got his hair in a pompadour. Like the rest of the Romeos wore. A permanent wave, yes. He's keeping the faith. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keepin' the faith. You folks like the admirable job I'm doing of keeping this recap short? Perhaps I should employ the assistance of a skilled film editor (extraneous segue alert!) much like the ones Russell Crowe intends to honor with the following award. Traffic
takes it because, I mean, come on. The comic book storeowner from The Simpsons
accepts the film editor's award in his stead.
And now, the best intro in Oscar history: "You loved him in There's Something About Mary
, you loved him in Meet the Parents
, and you were fine with him in Mystery Men
." I might have tossed in a "You made it to the end of The Cable Guy
, though barely," but I dare not breathe such words out loud and challenge the all-consuming Power Of Vilanch. Ben Stiller has spent so much time sounding out the titles of the nominees for live action short film and live action whatever-the-other-one-is that he forgot to make good on his Mach 3 endorsement deal and just shave. It. Off. That is not a good look for him. Personally, I could have taken a little less bravado in his pronunciation of Una Historia de Futebol
for a little more dispensing with the Wolfman Jack routine. Ditto Tom Hanks who, unless he's deep into filming the lead role of "Fuhrer" in an upcoming version of Mein Kampf
, can't blame his disturbing facial hair on a role ever, ever again. Ben Affleck can, though, for his current role of "sneering, coked-up, self-important Hollywood shithead," which he's been playing pretty consistently since 1997. Anyway, I arbitrarily pick Quiero Ser
because I think "Gallenberger" is a cool last name for an Oscar winner. I am correct. He should shave, too. And unbutton the bottom button of his tuxedo jacket. But he's foreign, and therefore begs forgiveness. Father and Daughter
picks up best animated short film, and some incredibly jolly circus music kicks up. I fear the imminent presence of clowns.
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