Monday, March 06, 2006

Quick After Oscar Thoughts

  • Loved the opening sequence - the part where they had images from famous movies interacting with each other on what looked to be a Hollywood back lot.

  • The opening piece introducing the Oscar host was hilarious, worthy of some of the material Billy Crystal did - Billy & Chris Rock in a tent as a reference to Brokeback Mountain, Steve Martin staying home with his "kids" so they don't turn out weird (and Dave Letterman staying home with Steve Martins kids so they don't turn out weird) and so on culminating with John Stewart in bed with George Clooney.

  • Stewart's opening monologue was one of the best in years, but Billy Crystal is still the gold standard on this count. Still if you wanted to alternate, how about Crystal one year and Stewart the nex?t

  • There were some nice brief sketches. The bit with Tom Hanks being attacked by the orchestra for talking too long was great. The election style campaign ads for Best Actress was funny and even when they went to the same well again for the Sound Editting category it was funny for an entirely different reason. It is a sign that the show was running in acceptable time that these pieces even ran. They're the sor tof thing that usually gets dumped when they're running long.

  • Someone in the control room (Does the Kodak Theater have its own TV control room? Does anyone know?) should be put out of his misery. There were incidents where they cut away during acceptance speeches - notably once when they suddenly expressed a sudden interest in Morgan Freeman who was standing in the wings and several times when they suddenly cut to the marquee like structure they had above the stage so that the person speaking looked like a stick figure on the stage far below. When someone is giving a speech keep the bloody camera on them!

  • George Clooney gave one of the best speeches in quite some time because he basically didn't thank anyone and struck a note of humility when he said that any of the nominees could have won the award. I'm sure the Raging Right will hate him for his comments on Hollywood being ahead of society at large on things, but they hate him anyway. Too bad more nominees couldn't follow his lead in terms of thanking entire phone books of people.

  • I don't know what the problem with Lauren Bacall was but she seemed totally disoriented when she read the introduction to the Film Noir montage. Admittedly she's 81 years old so maybe there's some cognitive problems, but I think the big thing was simply that she couldn't read the teleprompter very well. At least I hope that's the answer.

  • The Raging Right has been talking up just how "little" the major nominated pictures made. However consider what the movies that won Oscars in the major categories cost as opposed to what they grossed with Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith added for comparison (these are US grosses and do not include international results):

    • Crash Budget: $6,500,000; Gross: $55,382,847 US as of September 11, 2005, 17 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $9,107,071 (1,864 Screens - $4,886 per screen)

    • Capote Budget: $7,000,000; Gross: $22,051,207 as of February 19, 2006, 20 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $324,857 (12 Screens - $27,071 per screen)

    • Walk The Line Budget: $29,000,000; Gross: $116,344,305 as of February 19, 2006, 13 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $22,347,341 (2,961 Screens - $7,547 per screen)

    • Brokeback Mountain Budget: $14,000,000; Gross: $72,089,234 as of February 19, 2006, 10 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $547,425 (5 Screens - $105,485 per screen)

    • Syriana Budget: $50,000,000; Gross: $49,118,764 as of February 19, 2006, 12 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $374,502 (no data on number of screens)

    • Constant Gardner Budget: $25,000,000; Gross: $33,565,375 as of November 27, 2005, 12 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $10,961,311 (1,346 Screens - $8,144 per screen)

    • Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith Budget: $115,000,000; Gross: $380,262,555 as of October 16, 2005, 20 weeks in release; Opening Weekend: $108,435,841 (3,661 Screens - $29,619 per screen)

    In other words Crash grossed over eight times its cost in 17 weeks, and Brokeback Mountain grossed over five times its budget in ten weeks, while Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith grossed just over three times its budget in 20 weeks. Now tell me which film returned a greater perentage of profit for its investors.

  • Did you happen to notice that music was playing during everyone's acceptance speech? I'm reminded of the stories of Roman generals who were allowed to ride in triumph through the streets of Rome. Standing behind him on the chariot was a slave whose job it was to constantly whisper to the general "Remember thou art mortal." Here it's saying "Talk fast, your time is almost up."

  • The show was shorter than I was expecting. It ran just a couple of minutes over three and a half hours. I was expecting something closer to four. This is a good thing except for one aspect. The producers seemed to be very rigourous when it came to the "speech timer". In most cases this is fine but when it comes to about eight of the major categories this can be a bad thing. There were a couple of cases when a winner in a major category wasn't able to speak because his (or her) co-recipient spoke too long. Here's a suggestion for the Academy: for the eight major categories - Best Picture, Best Director, the two Screenplay categories (Original and Adapted) and the four Acting categories - double the amount of time they have for their speech. If the normal allowable time is a minute, allow them as much as two. With an addition of a minute for these eight categories you add eight minutes to the broadcast but it's eight minutes coming for the winners that people want to hear from most (well maybe not the writers, but they're usually entertaining) so I think the public will stand for it.

6 comments:

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