Did you notice the exquistely sophisticated chartreuse eyelids of Beyonce? A beginning point, a small detail in an amazing, surprisingly exciting display of style and star power. So many beautiful women, and men!, brought to a point of absolute perfection of appearance by international wizards of fashion. This is the New Hollywood.
Never mind that it wasn't a year for great films. Watching the Academy Award broadcast, the films didn't seem to matter. It was like attending the Church of Celebrity. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church sought out the greatest artists of the day to create places of worship that uplift and inspire. Today, we have a global devotion to the fame of random living humans alongside our religious faith, and we have found that artists can create icons of equal power to the paintings on the walls and ceilings of churches.
It is impossible to single out any of the women as being the most stylish. Cate, so elegant! Rene, what a stunningly perfect miniature. Hilary, Olympian.
Chris Rock was amusing. His riff on the President disgustingly inappropriate, and followed by a half-hearted gratuitous throwaway salute to our soldiers in battle--commanded by the President he had just mocked. But I dare to say that it was a night of special import for African-Americans. Not for the reasons you think. Because everyone we saw was articulate and well-spoken. Can this be a lesson of any sort? The sort of lesson Oprah has crusaded for? Probably not, because homeys don't watch the Oscars. A shame.
A special shout-out to my so talented colleague and friend Roger Goodman for his direction of the pre-show. Hello, does Billy Bush seem to be everybody's best friend? When did he get so glib?
And to Gil Cates for brilliant producing AGAIN. Wonderful scenic design. But what happened to the theme stated in the opening sequence that the show would be about old films and new ones. I have not the slightest clue, other than the pre-commercial bumpers, which contained shots from old films, and the accompanying underscoring, from great movie scores. The show, of course, was waaaaaay too long.
I can't possibly find the words to describe the glorious performance of the Oscar-winning song Al Otro Lado Del Río from The Motorcycle Diaries performed by Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana. Transporting. Does a human being deserve to look like Banderas and sing with such passion? And as always, with such joie de vivre. Need I predict they will be in the recording studio tomorrow? One nominated song in Spanish, another in French, and another in Webberish. The winner for best score (Neverland) was a Pole, and acknowledged his orchestra in Poland. This too is the New Hollywood.
Thelma Schoonmaker won the award for film editing for The Aviator. Thelma has edited, to my recollection, all of Martin Scorsese's films, perhaps excepting his earliest. She is perhaps the greatest living film editor. When you watch a Scorsese film, be conscious of the editing. It is always brilliant. Look at Goodfellas. Ms. Schoonmaker, widow of the late brilliant British director Michael Powell, edited Goodfellas in a style so fresh and contemporary, you would think she was a 23 year old prodigy.
The show ended with Chris Rock saying "Goodnight Brooklyn!" I'll second that, and thank my mom there too.