Monday, February 26, 2007

And the Oscar Goes To

Whatever happened to "And the Winner Is?"

Sometimes I wonder if we get a different version of the Academy Awards in Los Angeles than they get in the rest of the country. Then I realize we do, because here they start mid afternoon with the red carpet coverage and when they are over in Los Angeles, we still have a couple of hours of prime-time television to watch. Consequently, when the show runs over, we don't see it as any big deal. No more than if the Super Bowl went into overtime or a baseball game went on for 16 hours.

In our living room, we found last night's Oscar telecast one of the best in years. Ellen was a terrific host, we like the dance troupe, we thought Al Gore was great, and we liked most of the short production pieces celebrating the nominees, foreign films, sound effects, and passings. So I was a little surprised by Tom Shales' review in this morning's Washington Post which pretty much panned the evening. (Shales and I worked together once while I was shooting for the post, on a piece about Normal Lear and "The People for the American Way," which he had just founded. I did the pictures, he wrote the story. I think I got almost a 1/4 page photo printed on the front page of the Style section of the Washington Post that day.) Other reviews tended to denigrate Ellen's selection as host because she's a daytime television host. What is that about?

Many times, we participate in Oscar pools or make up ballots for the folks int he room. Not this year. Even my husband hadn't seen all of the major films. We only saw The Departed, The Queen, and Little Miss Sunshine last week because the screeners were sent to us. We never got around to Babel, Flight 93, Flags of Our Fathers, or the other films which were sent to us. Len had seen Dream Girls, Letters from Iwo Jima, and Pan's Labyrinth during the screening season, which I pretty much missed this year.

We didn't have a "dog in this fight" except perhaps for "Pan's Labyrinth," since it was made by an acquaintance of my husband. We do question whether someone tipped the results of Scorsese's win so that Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg could all be there to present it to him (but I suspect the DGA Award was enough for the Academy to bet on Scorsese's win and the showy presentation.)

I kept the food for the dozen-person party simple: a vegetarian chili (modified to include eggplant and mushrooms, along with the called-for zucchini, onions, beans, and bell peppers) and a turkey chili, chips and dips, taquitos, and some cheeses, and we had some excellent babaganoush, cookies, bread and champagne contributed. After the Oscars were over, we watched this week's installment of "The Amazing Race," which is, after all, what Sunday night with friends is about at our house.

Len and I managed to actually go to the movies this weekend to see "The Astronaut Farmer," a film which we really enjoyed. We had thought about catching "Music and Lyrics" but wound up at "The Bridge to Terrabithia" instead. I suggested it based on the reviews I had read, since I had never read the book and wasn't familiar with the material. Len said he would never have gone to see the film because he knew nothing about it and absolutely loved it. Go see it.

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