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For years, I've hated that trend of wearing a conventional looking tie with a tux. Even though the ties are made of an evening fabric, they always make the men look like they're going to a business meeting.
Photos in today's local paper provided evidence of why the traditional bow tie has lost some favor.

Daniel Day-Lewis' tie drooped alarmingly on one side. Tommy Lee Jones's had the suspicious look of a something tied at the factory. Only Clooney's was perfect and looked hand-tied.

And that's before the evening began -- right after they got out of their cars, where presumeably they had a stylist crouching in the back seat to do a final touchup. Hand-tied bow ties are like the perfect rose -- time and motion make the wilt, sag and lose their shape.

Imagine what those photos would have looked like if they had been taken after -- rather than before -- hours of fidgeting in one's seat, applauding other people's awards, chortling at the jokes, waving to friends (real and imaginary), twisting around to talk to people in the row behind you, running down the aisle and leaping up the steps to get your Oscar, etc., etc. :angel_not:

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My only concern is the Academy's penchant for handing the Best Actor/Actress awards to actors in biopics – it's always been that way, but the bias is getting pretty ridiculous.

I really don't see that; there's plenty of biopics that don't get gongs, and don't deserve to - and plenty of non-bio-pics that do get gongs but don't deserve to (Forrest Gump, anyone?).

Fact is, some biopics really stand out, and it does take - in my view - some seriously quality acting to make the character real without simply mimicking every gesture.

For example, 'Walk the line' was clearly fictionalised, and yet Cash and Carter-Cash were 'living people'; similarly, one Piaf fan I know was very disappointed at the 'bits' of her life that were chosen (and rewritten), but still felt that the film (and the star in particular), in his words, 'made her live again' :angel_not:

Good biopics are no different to any other good movie, but more weight hangs on the actors; no amount of special effects can rescue miscasting! Perhaps the judges are rewarding actors for being great despite the (often) poor scripts, weird timeline editing, and the impossibilty of a 100-minute movie doing justice to a whole life?

But I can think of half a dozen biopics that were embarassingly bad - and were long forgotten by Oscar Day!

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Like Dirac, I too was especially pleased that Hansard's song, "Falling," won the Best Song category. IBecause I had my busker years way back when, I turned on the Oscars simply to see Hansard and Irglova sing that song together. :angel_not: Their winning was the icing on the cake. I thought the finest moment in the entire show was Stewart's for bringing Irglova back out to to speak, and her thank-you was lovely.

I have a different view on the gowns: I LIKED them for their simplicity. Also thought Mirren's was by far the best.

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I thought the finest moment in the entire show was Stewart's for bringing Irglova back out to to speak, and her thank-you was lovely.

Wasn't that wonderful? Especially so since in demeanor she is so humble, so unselfconsciously unconcerned with presenting herself as a star.

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Andrew73, welcome to the thread, and you'll have to forgive me for simultaneously welcoming you and disagreeing with you. I don’t have the time to look up the stats, but leaving aside ancient Oscar history, in recent years I can recall that Jamie Foxx, Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlize Theron, Forest Whitaker, Adrien Brody, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, and Hilary Swank (her first award) all won Best Actor or Actress for playing such roles, whether or not the films were formally called biopics. I think there is a bias in favor of Stories from Real Life. I also think that a few of those pictures weren't that great -- basically made as Oscar bait for the leading actor, and successful on that level, but not as much else. Actors can be magnificent under such circumstances - I think of De Niro in 'Raging Bull' and Day-Lewis in 'In the Name of the Father' offhand - but by and large this isn't the place where I look for acting as art.

I found myself getting a little misty-eyed for the bad old days when Cher would show up in something crazy just to get everyone talking.

I miss Geena Davis, too. But I'm not talking only about missing the flamboyant bad taste of the days of yore. These days nobody takes any risks at all, and you reach the point where 'good taste' is 'no taste.' Diablo Cody's frock was not a success, to put it mildly, but at least she was in there swinging.

I am one of the few that felt the same way about Marion Cotillard's performance in La Vie en Rose, about which my conclusion was "Junkies are tedious."

:)

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Cate also screamed in "Elizabeth.."...a little

A little? :)

One trend I approve of wholeheartedly is seeing more male stars wearing the classic tuxedo. George Clooney and Patrick Dempsey looked like movie stars from the grand old days in their gorgeously fitted classic tuxes.
Only Clooney's was perfect and looked hand-tied.

I forgot to comment on this. Yes, I gazed in slack-jawed admiration at Clooney’s tie – it was just so perfect, truly the tie of ties. I was watching with my father, who normally doesn’t bother with the Oscars but he enjoyed this show, and he said, “That’s a great tie.”

Kristen Chenoweth also earned one of my dad’s infrequent accolades. He doesn’t know her from Hillary Clinton, but when she came out for her song he wanted to know “Who is that? I like her. Very nice personality.”

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I had the same thought when the nominations were announced – if Cotillard, why not Tang Wei, who was just as good? Maybe if she’d appeared in a biopic about a junkie Chinese singing star they might have noticed. I’m not sure about this but I don’t think it was disqualification, just neglect. (It was the most neglected high profile film of the year, IMO.)

I don't think she would have had much of a shot in any case, if the film were still in Mandarin. I can't think of any Asian winning an Academy award for acting since the recently departed Miyoshi Umeki, and that was still for a mainstream English-language, Hollywood studio film.

I don't think films from East Asia generally make it onto the Academy's radar as candidates for major awards. Non-English speaking Western Europe is barely there (Cotillard's win was the first for a foreign-language speaking actress since Sophia Loren), and the Middle East is somewhere behind East Asia. To tell you the truth, the only reason I think "Lust, Caution" got the attention it did is because Ang Lee has had success in English language, Hollywood films.

The only Asian actress I can think of that's made it onto the mainstream radar in the U.S. is Zhang Ziyi, and that's mainly because she's so "Western pretty."

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But now I'm confused. I always though that the awards, with the exception of the "Best Foreign Film" were supposed to go to "nationals" (meaning United States-based) as a requirement, including awards to actresses and actors. And now i see Cotillard (French) and Bardem (Spanish) competing in the same categories with the americans...Or is that they can sneak in because the films in which they participated are "national" ? (meaning being the nationality of their producers American, no matter the director's, the actors' or even the language in which is presented, as far as i know)...which lead me to ask myself the nationality of Cotillard's and Bardem's films respectively...Who are their producers...?

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But now I'm confused. I always though that the awards, with the exception of the "Best Foreign Film" were supposed to go to "nationals" (meaning United States-based) as a requirement, including awards to actresses and actors. And now i see Cotillard (French) and Bardem (Spanish) competing in the same categories with the americans...Or is that they can sneak in because the films in which they participated are "national" ? (meaning being the nationality of their producers American, no matter the director's, the actors' or even the language in which is presented, as far as i know)...which lead me to ask myself the nationality of Cotillard's and Bardem's films respectively...Who are their producers...?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104507/fullcredits

Here's the full cast and crew of 'Indochine', which won an Oscar and Deneuve was nominated for best actress, so from what I can tell, the producers were French. Other than that, I don't know the answers to your questions.

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cubanmiamiboy, I don’t know the exact wording of the Academy rules offhand but I expect they’re available on the web somewhere. However, I’m reasonably certain that to be ‘U.S. based’ or a ‘ U.S. national’ is not a requirement. And the category is for the best foreign language film, which is slightly different, although I see what you mean. Films like the Olivier Hamlet, to give only one example, have won Best Picture before.

This year, as it happens, only Marion Cotillard won for playing in a European picture. The others all gave their performances in American made films, and speaking English, obviously.

To tell you the truth, the only reason I think "Lust, Caution" got the attention it did is because Ang Lee has had success in English language, Hollywood films.

I think you’re right about that, sidwich.

The only Asian actress I can think of that's made it onto the mainstream radar in the U.S. is Zhang Ziyi

Gong Li comes to mind, too.

(Cotillard's win was the first for a foreign-language speaking actress since Sophia Loren)

I didn't realize that till you mentioned it but that's absolutely right!

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I don't think she would have had much of a shot in any case, if the film were still in Mandarin [...] I don't think films from East Asia generally make it onto the Academy's radar as candidates for major awards. Non-English speaking Western Europe is barely there (Cotillard's win was the first for a foreign-language speaking actress since Sophia Loren)

There's a first for everything. I find it remarkable that Cotillard did receive the nom and win because of her performance in a foreign film and language, but I don't see how an Asian film spoken in Mandarin could have made less of an impression, especially with the recent phenomenon of interest in Asian cinema (Crouching Tiger, Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower, etc). Cotillard simply had better press surrounding her performance. Lust Caution was panned by some prominent critics. I would have attributed Tang Wei's lack of recognition as something to do with this being her first film performance, but then there have been a number of Academy nominations for first timers and some who have won. Sometimes the Academy does like to seek out someone outside of the Hollywood mainstream and "discover" newcomers.

To tell you the truth, the only reason I think "Lust, Caution" got the attention it did is because Ang Lee has had success in English language, Hollywood films.

The miniscule attention it did receive in the US was because of its NC-17 rating, and the press probably thought it would make a shocking news bulletin because of Lee's status as a director.

The only Asian actress I can think of that's made it onto the mainstream radar in the U.S. is Zhang Ziyi, and that's mainly because she's so "Western pretty."

Or maybe because she had the opportunity to make it? There are many pretty girls from where she comes from (as there are here), and some mainstream celebrities here are only famous because they're pretty. It's the ones who have the opportunity for exposure that become famous.

Other known Asian actors are Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu, Sandra Oh, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, and to a lesser extent Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and Joan Chen (not as mainstream but still well known among the indie/foreign film buffs).

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cubanmiamiboy, I don’t know the exact wording of the Academy rules offhand but I expect they’re available on the web somewhere. However, I’m reasonably certain that to be ‘U.S. based’ or a ‘ U.S. national’ is not a requirement. And the category is for the best foreign language film, which is slightly different, although I see what you mean. Films like the Olivier Hamlet, to give only one example, have won Best Picture before.

This year, as it happens, only Marion Cotillard won for playing in a European picture. The others all gave their performances in American made films, and speaking English, obviously.

Here's the full cast and crew of 'Indochine', which won an Oscar and Deneuve was nominated for best actress, so from what I can tell, the producers were French. Other than that, I don't know the answers to your questions.

So if "Indochine" (even being a foreign language film) won for Best Pic.,(not Best Foreign Language Pic)..

and Loren and Cotillard have won, even playing in foreign language films while speaking language other than english...

1-What criteria do they take to decide that a film is "foreign" ..?

2-Is the whole thing totally international, meaning that any film from anywhere in the world can apply for the golden idol in every category...?

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[so if "Indochine" (even being a foreign language film) won for Best Pic.,(not Best Foreign Language Pic)..

and Loren and Cotillard have won, even playing in foreign language films while speaking language other than english...

1-What criteria do they take to decide that a film is "foreign" ..?

2-Is the whole thing totally international, meaning that any film from anywhere in the world can apply for the golden idol in every category...?

No, they definitely put it as 'Foreign Language Film' if it's not in English, and that, in fact is the Oscar 'Indochine' won. It's fairly sloppy the way they do it therefore, but my intuition is that even for actor and actress, it's not done routinely, but only when the film or performance has gotten some reputation during its original run. Sophia Loren would be a good example, because even though 'Two Women', her win, was in Italian, she was well-known to American audiences. And Deneuve has made a few Hollywood films and several English-language films. Everybody knows who she is. You don't, on the other hand, see Emanuelle Beart yet quite famous enough, for example, to be nominated and I don't even think Iasabelle Huppert has been, not sure. But for ALL categories, only American and Britain and Commonwealth English-speaking nations need apply...

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Good points, Old Fashioned. Thanks for commenting.

Sometimes the Academy does like to seek out someone outside of the Hollywood mainstream and "discover" newcomers.

I think that’s what they thought they were doing with Cotillard. She’s hardly a newcomer, true, but she is new to the mainstream American audience. Also, she did a good job playing the kind of role that gets notices and nominations, and she is a very pretty woman playing a woman not so much, which made her good marketing fodder.

Or maybe because she had the opportunity to make it? There are many pretty girls from where she comes from (as there are here), and some mainstream celebrities here are only famous because they're pretty. It's the ones who have the opportunity for exposure that become famous.

I think what sidwich meant was that Zhang Ziyi is attractive in a way that is immediately familiar and accessible to Westerners, which is not always true of Asian actors. It’s true that many of the performers you mention are becoming better known to US audiences – but with qualifications.

The miniscule attention it did receive in the US was because of its NC-17 rating, and the press probably thought it would make a shocking news bulletin because of Lee's status as a director.

Yes, the rating hurt.

I didn’t mention earlier that there was an inexcusable omission from the annual Montage of Dead Folks on the Oscar show. Charles Lane died this year at age 102. The name won’t necessarily ring a bell, but if you see a lot of old movies, you’ve seen Lane.

Some directors sought him out. He appeared in no fewer than nine films directed by Frank Capra, including “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

It was Mr. Capra who cast him as the income tax collector in “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938), which Mr. Lane said was his favorite role.

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But now I'm confused. I always though that the awards, with the exception of the "Best Foreign Film" were supposed to go to "nationals" (meaning United States-based) as a requirement, including awards to actresses and actors. And now i see Cotillard (French) and Bardem (Spanish) competing in the same categories with the americans...Or is that they can sneak in because the films in which they participated are "national" ? (meaning being the nationality of their producers American, no matter the director's, the actors' or even the language in which is presented, as far as i know)...which lead me to ask myself the nationality of Cotillard's and Bardem's films respectively...Who are their producers...?

I think virtually any film is theoretically eligible for the major awards. I'm not even sure that there's a requirement that the film be feature length or not. So, for example, films in a foreign language (e.g. "Il Postino") and animated films ("Beauty and the Beast") have been nominated for "Best Picture," and Marion Cotillard and Sophia Loren have won for "Best Actress" in foreign language films. Conversely, the rules for "Best Foreign Language Film" are pretty labyrinthine, involving not only % of film in a foreign language, but things like funding and producers. In the past, the rather puzzling strictures of that category have knocked out films like "Il Postino" from that race.

As a practical matter, the Academy Awards are first, last and always a marketing tool by the Hollywood studios and producers to promote their films, so it is unusual for someone completely outside of that to do well. Risk of the losing that priceless publicity was the main reason why there was such a major push to get the writer's strike settled before the awards.

Cotillard benefitted from, among other things, speaking English fairly well, and campagining hard for the award when Julie Christie, the original front-runner, didn't seem to care one way or the other. I would not be surprised if Cotillard becomes the next Penelope Cruz (beautiful and respected foreign film actress picked up by Hollywood studios to become a mainstream star).

I think what sidwich meant was that Zhang Ziyi is attractive in a way that is immediately familiar and accessible to Westerners, which is not always true of Asian actors. It’s true that many of the performers you mention are becoming better known to US audiences – but with qualifications.

Thank you for clarifying. What I mean is that Zhang Ziyi is the only Asian actress I can think of who is discussed as viable star for mainstream, big-budget studio films. And I do think that much of it is that she is considered stunningly beautiful by many Westerners, with a classic "China doll" look. Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh have made some inroads, but neither have them have nearly the profile that Zhang does. And Maggie Cheung does not seem to care to come to the West, although she speaks the best English out of any of them.

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I think virtually any film is theoretically eligible for the major awards.

Do you know if there have been any Best Director nominees for films in foreign languages? There might have been, but that was the one category I couldn't remember offhand. And the 'marketing' aspect is definitely clear when it goes into the smaller areas of supporting actors, songs, short subjects, documentaries, I think; I mean, I don't think those and several other categories get any foreign language nominees (certainy they get very few, but I'm not sure if they get none, so maybe you know.) Was interesting to hear that 'Il Postino' had been nominated for Best Picture, I hadn't known that, and it must be one of the very few. None has ever won it, though, and not likely to do so unless some really unforeseen freak circumstance emerges.

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Thank you sidwich, for those additional comments.

Julie Christie, the original front-runner, didn't seem to care one way or the other.

Yes, it's a fine line to walk – you have to show you care about winning, but not too much. Although there are exceptions. Christie has always been a bit aloof from that sort of thing, though. I’m sure she would have liked to win, but she certainly wasn’t as hungry as Cotillard. And the Coens have done well without being the most popular guys in town.

Christie won before, years ago. That can make a difference, sometimes. And in recent years, save for Helen Mirren's award, they haven't been giving Best Actress to women over forty or so.

Do you know if there have been any Best Director nominees for films in foreign languages? There might have been, but that was the one category I couldn't remember offhand.

I think offhand of Truffaut, who was nominated as Best Director for Day for Night, and he received nominations as a writer for the same movie and The 400 Blows. Day for Night did win the Oscar in the foreign language category.

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I think offhand of Truffaut, who was nominated as Best Director for Day for Night, and he received nominations as a writer for the same movie and The 400 Blows. Day for Night did win the Oscar in the foreign language category.

It does seem clumsy and unnecessary to keep the Best Foreign Language Film, then. I am quite sure it makes no sense now, and it is very obvious that it is done to favour the old base. Otherwise, if they insisted on keeping Foreign Language Film divided off, they should lengthen it, with Foreign Language Director, Actor, Actress, etc., and all other categories divided off, even if they didn't put it all in the show, like the Grammies, which have those very many more awards. If Golden Globe divides up in its little ways, with comedy and musical separated off, and the Emmies with their many divisions, then the Oscars could eventually give up this provincial way of doing it, because that's all it is. The marketing and hunger element would still be there, but it really doesn't make sense for there to be some Foreign Language categories eligible for the General Awards and one alone, for Best Picture. Including foreign films for Best Picture in all cases would be better even if they had, say, 8 nominees, which could prevent the Hollywood Establishment from feeling too threatened. But it's not a serious matter, I only point it out because I think that's why something that illogical would be kept. It will probably be left this way just like Blue Laws which nobody wants to bother pulling out and deleting.

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I hold no brief for the Oscar show producers, but they really can't win. Cavett is panning them for allowing the winners to go on for so long when others are critical of them for cracking down too much. I certainly wouldn't want to see a show where everyone marched up, said thank you, and walked off. Maybe Cavett's not interested in seeing somebody's mother getting a shout out on international television, but I bet it makes Mom feel pretty good, and it can provide some nice moments. I can remember shows from the past that were far more painful than this one.

In terms of contemporary filmmaking it would make sense for the the Best Director and Best Picture winners to coincide, but for political and other reasons it's also reasonable to split the difference; it can provide a way to recognize a director who hasn't won before, for example, while giving the big kahuna to another movie for different reasons. I'm kind of surprised Cavett doesn't already understand this.(Anomalies do pop up -- Joe Wright was nominated as director this year while his movie was not.) And it's the Best Foreign Language, not Foreign, film. There's a difference.

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I hold no brief for the Oscar show producers, but they really can't win. Cavett is panning them for allowing the winners to go on for so long when others are critical of them for cracking down too much. I certainly wouldn't want to see a show where everyone marched up, said thank you, and walked off.

This interested me more because I don't actually remember a time that they didn't thank everybody and his brother. Would be interested to know if they've stopped thanking God and their mother specifically, which was a trend in the late 80s, and one of the reasons I stopped watching, along with political pitches from Buddhists and star drunkennesses.

And it's the Best Foreign Language, not Foreign, film. There's a difference.

Well yes, but his point about that was good, as have been our own. It does not 'make any sense' logically the way they have divided for the reasons given by Cavett and the rest of us, but they are not trying to make sense, it is part honours, part pageant. It would be enlightened of them to straighten out the Foreign Language Film thing, but it might not still have the Hollywood Provincial Charm if they did. The last thing they want anybody to be thinking about is the Cannes Film Festival.

I do, except for one or two points, find this article disturbing, though--less about the Oscars than that it's barely discernibly different from things we read 40 years ago about 'how bad the Oscars were'. Slightly better-written than those were, to be sure, and if you enjoy the show, well and good; but it's not really important that they be 'a good show' (they probably never have been, and are mainly just to be serviceable.)

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The last thing they want anybody to be thinking about is the Cannes Film Festival.

I do take your point, but I actually think this was overall a very good year for American movies. No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, and Juno were all strong nominees.

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I would not be surprised if Cotillard becomes the next Penelope Cruz (beautiful and respected foreign film actress picked up by Hollywood studios to become a mainstream star).

That may depend on how long the flap lasts over this.

The comments, made in an interview first broadcast a year ago, have resurfaced on the internet since her Oscar victory.

Cotillard said that the towers were destroyed not as part of a terrorist plot, but because it would have been too expensive to rewire them. She also reheated an old conspiracy theory about the 1969 moon landing never having happened.

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