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(They're not supposed to say that any more. They're supposed to say "The Oscar goes to." As one of the past hosts said, "We'd hate to think this had anything to do with competition!")

Here's the link to the NYTimes coverage, the complete winners list.


No one would have won money betting on "Chicago;" that was a sure thing. But I was surprised (and pleased) that Brody got it -- much longer odds, and well-deserved, IMO.

Anyone have an opinion on Polanski? Sympathy vote? "Come back home, all is forgiven?" Lifetime achievement award? Or just that "The Pianist" is a good film?

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I was glad for Brody, he had the most entertaining and poignant speech (and I'm glad he told the orchestra to let him finish)

And Polanski, I finally saw The Pianist and I thought it was a great film. I think he's a great filmaker and he deserved it, but still is considered to be a fugitive.

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I liked Brody, too - his speech had as much spontaneous class as Peter O'Toole's had studied class, given that the latter had time to prepare his remarks. Michael Moore takes the "no class at all" Oscar for this year.

I think losing the red carpet is a good idea, too. People, by and large, didn't look like they were playing "dress-up" with their mothers' clothes, and presenters and most of the recipients looked subdued and dignified. There was some glitter, sure, but not wretched excess. The ladies, in particular took on additional beauty by letting their own looks speak most clearly and not being manikins for various designers and Harry Winston. And the gentlemen looked like gentlemen, without going over into next-generation proposed semi-formal wear. Hollywood looked truly glamourous in the classic sense.

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Andrien Brody getting the Oscar in the face of competition from four established Oscar winners is the stuff Hollywood legends are made of! I was so delighted, especially because he earned it with a charismatic portrayal in a noble movie. I thought it was so neat that his fellow nominees seemed so happy for him - but I suppose they are not world class actors for nothing. And Brody giving Halle Berry an eye-popping kiss was amazing. It must have been spontaneous but it looked so beautiful I almost expected the words "The End" to be superimposed on that smooch!

There was something so poignant about O'Toole's appearance, especially after the clips of his youthful roles in which he was so beautiful.

I thought Steve Martin was exemplary as host. He does not bring the frantic silliness that Billy Crystal uses, but his lines about the Teamsters and about thanking Steven Spielberg were classics.

I haven't enjoyed the Oscars this much in years -

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Actually, I watch the Oscars primarily for the wretched excess, and I regard the ceremony as incomplete without Cher, but I agree that glitz overload would have been most inappropriate this year, to say the least. The Division of the Spoils was interesting. It was as if the Academy wanted to give the big kahuna to Chicago and but realized that, hey, it's not really that good, so they spread the goodies around, which is fine. Last night was a little short on star power, understandably so. And after last night, I think Steve Martin can regard himself as Oscar Host for Life, if he wishes. By the category:

Best Cinematography: A posthumous nod to the late lamented Conrad Hall, for the otherwise unwatchable Road to Perdition. This filmgoer will miss him.

Best Actress: No surprises here, alas. I was rooting for Diane Lane in "Unfaithful," but I guess it's not good to give the female performance of the year in an Adrian Lyne summer bodice-ripper. She was great, though. However, Kidman wasn't a bad choice, although judging from the movie and last night her forehead looks distinctly Botoxed. (So did others, I'm sorry to say. I mention this not only for reasons of cattiness. This policy of not allowing women to age in a way even approximating natural is having actual aesthetic repercussions.) I wasn't greatly impressed by her We're-Here-for-the-Art-of-It-All stance, either.

Best Actor: I'm happy for Brody – there's a man who richly deserves his goodie bag. I have been keeping an eye on him since Liberty Heights some years ago so I'm pleased at having my taste confirmed. Nor can I feel sorry for Jack (who turned out to be just fine in "About Schmidt," incidentally) or Nick, who sat together and after the ceremony doubtless repaired to their respective hot tubs for some R&R with a starlet or two. However, I'd like to put in a word for Michael Caine. He wasn't quite at his best and was about twenty years too old for the part, but at some points in his performance he reached a kind of transparency in his emotions one rarely sees. (You don't catch this man acting.) He looked crushed, incidentally. Anyway, congrats to Brody, who brought his mom, and I'm sorry Halle Berry seemed less than enthusiastic about your Big Smooch. (I thought I saw her take an opportunity to wipe her mouth, in fact (like, "Ewww, gross!").

Further thoughts re the Kiss -- is it more acceptable for men to be aggressive in this way? I recall that people made fun of Julia Roberts last year for her, uh, attentions to Denzel Washington. When men do it, it's cute -- women just seem desperate? Just asking.

Best Director: Difficult. Pleased that Marshall did not win, but the Polanski Issue is, in my view, a serious one and not to be brushed aside without discussion. Under any other circumstances I would have been jumping up and down for him, but here are the problems as I see them:

He is a fugitive from American justice for a very serious crime, and not one who was unjustly accused or received an unfair trial, or was convicted on a trumped-up charge. If he'd Paid His Debt to Society, it'd be different, but he left the country to evade what seems from all reports to be his just deserts. If Britain and France want to give him the award, fine. It's their choice to make. But I question whether he should have been up for nomination here at all. It doesn't give me a whole lot of pleasure to get judgmental about someone who was victimized by Hitler and then by a lesser light, Charles Manson. But there it is.

Secondly, he wasn't the overwhelming choice in this category. The award could have gone with equal justice to Almodovar or Scorsese, for various reasons. I admired The Pianist greatly and think it deserving of Best Picture regardless of whether Polanski had been disqualified or not (if "Talk to Her" had gotten a nomination here as well, my feelings would be more divided, however, and I wouldn't have cried if "Gangs of New York" had won, either. It's a very flawed movie but I can make an argument for it), but if the Academy had said, "We're sorry, Roman, you did a fine job, but there are some things for which we have to call off prize day, and evading a rape conviction is one of them" they would have been justified, IMO.

However, I can also argue the other way – if you think he was the best, he was the best, and the other guys would just be getting a Mr. Nice Guy Award, and who in Hollywood wants one of those? However, it's just an entertainment award, not the Nobel Prize. Not really that big a deal either way, in other words.

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If Brody hadn't shoved his tongue down Berry's throat, he would have been able to finish his speech in time. The expression on her face said it all: disgusting. Thank goodness for Peter O'Toole--and Steve Martin, who kept things moving and was funny without being crass.

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I agree, sandik. There's a definite difference between directors like Almodovar, and Woody Allen in this country, who write, direct, and otherwise control every aspect of their films in the classic auteur sense. (And I miss the early Almodovar.) Polanski and Scorsese are powerful and individual directors, and Scorsese is a great one – I don't know if I'd call Polanski great -- whose influence dominates their productions, but it's not quite the same thing.

You do have a point, Hans. If Brody hadn't been so obviously stunned and if he hadn't won for a movie set in wartime, I suspect his conduct and speech wouldn't have been quite so well received. (I actually don't think much of stars who bully the orchestra conductor, who's doing his job as instructed. But I'm willing to cut Brody more slack than Julia Roberts in this respect, who really embarrassed herself the year she won for Erin Brockovich.)

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Additional thoughts on the Smooch. Since what is good for the gander is good for the goose, and this year's Best Actor has to present the award to the Best Actress next year, I suggest that a way to be found for Renee Asherson, who played the ancient medium in The Others, to win the Oscar next time around. She charges the stage and deposits a big long wet kiss on Brody, with the post-awards explanation that, "I've always had a thing for skinny gawky guys from Queens, so I went for it."

(By suggesting the foregoing, I mean no disrespect to the still-striking Miss Asherson, who was a ravishing Princess Katherine of France to Olivier's Henry V.)

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Originally posted by dirac

Additional thoughts on the Smooch.  

My initial thought on this (I haven't had any more) is that Brody would be slapping 'high fives' with his buddies at the next keg party, being congratulated for his good fortune for getting the best of Hale Berry.

He acted like a jerk.

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For all of a few seconds I was happy that Brody won the Oscar. Then came "the kiss". I am so glad to see so many of my fellow Ballet Alertniks were disgusted by his behavior as was I.

Berry's look certainly DID say it all.

I say she has a good sexual harrassment case.

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oh my.

I thought "the kiss" was fine.

We're talking about people who "kiss" strange people on a daily basis. I don't think he shoved his tongue down her throat, and they asked him at the press interviews after, he and she both said no.

I feel like I'm reliving the Angelina Jolie, I'm in love with my brother moment, which so many people blew out of proportion to.

What's next, Nicole Kidman doesn't get along with her father, because she didn't thank him?

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I dunno, I kinda miss Zero Mostel, who would go to a restaurant, and greet the maitre d' (or a waiter, or a busboy) by smothering him in an effusive embrace, then wrapping one leg around him. His tablemates would say, "OK, Zee, everybody's looking at us now, we can sit down.";) One can only imagine someone like him at an Academy Awards show.

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It's all in fun, Calliope. :) I saw only a brief clipping of the press conferences, so I know little of what was said, but Berry's facial expression at the Moment was pretty eloquent, I thought.

I don't know about Nicole's dad, but if I were Nicole's son, I might have said something later like,"Uh, Mom? I know I wasn't in the audience or anything, and you won for starring in a chick flick, but gee…"

Mel, from what I've heard, Mostel used to do things like that onstage, especially during the end of long runs when he was getting really bored. :)

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I thought he was going after a Major Photo Op, but I did think the "goody bag" comment was distasteful. However, I watch the Oscars in the hopes of seeing something distasteful.

I saw an interview clip with Kidman after the Oscars, all blushing and embarrassed because she'd forgotten to mention her father.

To get back to Sandik's and dirac's posts about auteurs (not unrelated to the discussion about film v. movies, I think) that's a tradition I hope never dies. It's a different approach -- the Hollywood, each section (director, set designer, editor) has its job and the producer puts it together -- rather like 19th century Russian ballet -- or the auteur, who shoots with the script preedited in his/her mind. I haven't seen all of Polanski's films, but some are in one category, some in another, I think. (I'd call "Repulsion" and "The Pianist" auteur and "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" Hollywood producer.) Or maybe it's nearly impossible to do an auteur film in Hollywood? Sorry. That's far from "...and the winner is..."

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Well, we're actually working from a definition of the auteur that's been considerably modified from the original concept, which was pretty extreme. Polanski can't really be said to have acted as an auteur in the sense sandik was using the term on "The Pianist" – for one thing, the script is not his (and I think it's a major weak point, Oscar notwithstanding – this is one category where I might have favored The Hours, for structural reasons).

However, he doubtless controlled the production and the choice of and approach to the material is closely related to his previous work, (and I'd include"Chinatown" ). And I think a case could even be made for "Chinatown" as superior to "The Pianist," although I don't know that I would necessarily agree with it in the end. The only auteur in the modern European sense in Hollywood has been Woody Allen. I can think of no precedent offhand in the U.S. for the amount of independence he has had. Maybe Chaplin.

Elvis Mitchell, chief critic for The New York Times, thought "The Two Towers" should have gotten the top prize. I don't agree, but I do see what he means. (He'll have to wait until next year, when, barring some act of God, the LOTR cycle will likely receive the acknowledgment the Academy knows it owes it.)

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You're right on "The Pianist" -- I'd forgotten he hadn't written the script. (I have to say, I didn't see what was so great about that script, and the things I'll remember about "The Pianist" had nothing to do with the words. I do think there was a good sense of time, though -- you knew he had been locked in that room, with no food and a useless piano, for eons. But I'd say that was script, more than acting or direction.)

I also agree on the script for "The Hours" -- and editing, as well.

As for giving the awards when they're deserved, was anyone else struck by that parade of the living dead -- former Oscar winners, many who could be walking reminders of why face lifts are not a good idea (and others, younger and/or much better, and more naturally preserved)? I'm not remotely an expert on film, but I did live thorugh many of those movies, and I was shocked to remember that Caine didn't get it for "Alfie," nor O'Toole for "Lawrence of Arabia." And Meryl Street, who can have 2500 Oscars, as far as I'm concerned, got it for "Kramer v. Kramer"?????

The LOTR team will undoubtedly get an Oscar, but it will be decades hence, and for something else.

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I confess I did not much care for LOTR, but this is a case where I thought my own personal taste might be the issue – Just Not My Thing, in other words. Of its kind, I think it's a first-rate example. I meant by the Academy having to acknowledge it that a cycle of films on this scale with the degree of success it has had is the kind of thing that the Oscars haven't ignored in the past. I suspect the next segment will have a much higher profile next year. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who thought, like Mitchell, that it ought to have won this time around.

The segment Alexandra mentions was indeed ghoulish. (I changed the channel intermittently.) From the winners' point if view, I suppose it's nice in a way – no matter if Kidman, et al., eventually fade into obscurity, because they won they'll be exhumed from time to time to appear. Not fun viewing for the rest of us, however. It reminded me of "Sunset Boulevard," where William Holden refers to Gloria Swanson's bridge guests as "the waxworks."

Very often people will win in the "wrong" year (or not at all). Sometimes it's a "body of work" award, other times the Academy is saying, We should have given it to you last time, so here it is this time. If I remember correctly, Caine's Alfie lost to Paul Scofield's Thomas More. Scofield was admirable but I do think Caine was better. Oh, well --

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I didn't expect anything from this year's LotR installment, because it's the middle of a very long movie. Bridges seldom have their own awards in writing, only in architecture. That it pulled the two technical awards it did was well-deserved, but I think that the Academy is waiting to see how the movie ends! Then, depending on what else is out there, it should clean up, if Peter Jackson and the WETA team have done as good a job as they've done so far.

When an artist wins in the "wrong" year, it is always instructive to consider Julie Andrews, who was awarded Best Actress for

Mary Poppins, and everybody knew she was being awarded it for originating the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, which was also up that year, except that Audrey Hepburn played the role.

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And though Vanessa Redgrave did a great job with the movie "Camelot", I would do just about anything to see a complete film of Julie on stage in in the play.

Did anyone see the Broadway production of "Camelot" with Julie Andrews and Richard Burton?

Sorry if this is off topic.

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Or someone will get an Oscar the year following their deserved performance (Dame Judi Dench who lost for Mrs. Brown, but won for her 12 minute performance in Shakespeare in Love)

Mel, we were typing at the same time!

This year, I think it was Julianne Moore who didn't get it for the performance. No fake nose or voice editing was needed for her marvelous performance in Far From Heaven.

I think LOTR will fall the way of Star Wars. A place in film history, with no recognition, other than special effects. Which, while the acting is good, the films would not survive on acting alone. It's the perfect 3 act movies. Plus, I think, unless the change the book endings, people will find the ending somewhat anti-climatic.

Now, since Brody gets to present next year's Best Actress, pending any conflicts, will she lay one on him?!

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I think LOTR is much better than Star Wars, which I thought was kind of cartooonish and cheesy at the time. Time will tell, of course. I think Mel is right -- if the next one is a whopper, and nothing overwhelming shows up in October, Jackson and company should go home happy next year.

Alexandra, which "goody bag" comment was in poor taste?

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Brody's post-smooch comment that "I bet you didn't know that was part of the goody bag' [paraphrase]. Implication being that Berry should be grateful.

I have to say I missed his speech, which I now regret. He started babbling and I thought this would be one of those endless thank yous and oh gosh what am I doing heres, and I've seen enough of those, so I left. Then I read it got a standing ovation and was the most moving of the night.

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