February 27, 2012 4

84th Oscar Thoughts

By in Movies, Soundtracks, TV

Oscar loves poutine

Adam & I stayed home to watch this year, just the two of us and a warm bowl of delicious, delicious poutine (thanks Rachel, for the ‘curds!). I’ve been wildly indifferent on this year’s films (and thus, Oscar nominees) overall, so my heart wasn’t in it for the flicks, for once. Here are my stray observations from this year’s pretty zippy Academy Awards telecast…

  • I don’t have any strong feelings on Billy Crystal as a host. I don’t think I was old enough when he started to be really attached to him from a nostalgic standpoint, but I felt like like his jokes were slightly harsher “digs” than I expected from him as a comedian. Also 3 guys win “Best Documentary” and their mic gets cut off, but Crystal can mug for the camera and wait for the entire room to go silent continuously without problem? That said, we did avoid last year’s tragically disappointing Franco/Hathaway train wreck, so there’s that.
  • I love Emma Stone (but only platonically, so @_WillieClark doesn’t punch me). She just seems to be having the time of her life in everything she does.
  • People I know seem (rightly so) still confused on the difference between “Sound Editing” and “Sound Mixing.” In plain English, from In ContentionSound editing […] concerns the manifestation of artificial sound effects and the overall manipulation of the sonic identity of a film. Sound mixing concerns the balance of those various elements, in addition to music and dialogue, as well as the on-the-set maintenance of production audio.”  Now you know!
  • Similarly, I’ve also seen a lot of people asking about why there are only 2 “Original Song” nominees this year. The short answer is because the music branch is stupid and continually makes the rules stricter and stricter. The longer answer is that there are a lot of criteria the songs have to meet, including a rating system. This year the branch apparently only decided 2 were worthy. (Read a slightly more detailed account of the rationale over at Forbes)
  • That said, “Man or Muppet” is my new theme song and I think it’s awesome, so I’m totally over the moon about Bret McKenzie’s win.

"Rango"

  • I’ve deeply saddened over how few of the “Animated Feature” nominees I’ve seen (that number would be 1: “Rango”)
  • Kudos to “Hugo” on its Cinematography, Art Direction, and Visual Effects wins. Just beautiful, beautiful work and possibly the best use of 3D / most worthy film of actually seeing it in 3D, in my opinion.
  • “Best Actor” winner Jean Dujardin is immensely charming. I can’t help but like him.  If you haven’t seen his “Funny or Die” skit where he auditions for all the villain roles … ever … you need to stop what you’re doing and watch it now.
  • The “Bridesmaids” ladies should hand out every award; I was worried Paltrow was gonna smack RDJ he was being so ridiculous; “Yay” Cirque du Soleil; WOW to J-Lo’s boobs and how close we were to serious nipple-age.

Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams

  • It’s tough to argue with the Score win: “The Artist” is ALL score, ALL the time. It’s very effective, reflective of the time that it’s aiming for, and catchy. I’m just, personally, not terribly passionate about it. But composer Ludovic Bource was so respectful and genuine in his love for MUSIC (his shaking hands / hugging all his fellow nominees was score-geek heart-warming) that it’s tough to be even the slightest bit annoyed at his win.
  • With Hans Zimmer having taken himself out of the running entirely this year, it was neat to hear he’d be taking over Co-Music Supervisor at the show, alongside Pharrell Williams. I was intrigued with what they’d do, and I have to say I thought it was pretty outstanding. The more traditional orchestra down in the pit (there were a couple shots of Zimmer himself on guitar), with featured musicians in an “all-star” band up in the box-seat area who rotated throughout the show (dummer Shelia E. & Williams on percussion, with DJ Junkie XL, composer A.R. Rahman, and others) I thought brought a lot of interesting character to the show. It was energetic, a fair amount of it was Zimmer original, and the rest was very reverential and accompanied the show as usual for the music.
  • I also think that the addition of music beats was one of the reasons (along with fewer “show-y” interruptions) that the show felt a little bit zippy-er, moved a little quicker this year (hell, they finished just past 11:30, which I’m curious to see how it compared to the last 5 years).
  • That said, there were several times they needed to TURN IT DOWN a notch. I love me some movie music, but if you’re drowning out the host or the presenters and I can’t hear the people on stage, we’ve got a problem.

The "In Memoriam" segment

  • The music, design, sound clips choices… everything about the In Memoriam segment was just beautifully done. (I thought I saw in the quick credits that the segment was designed by Prologue Films’ Kyle Cooper, but it went by too quickly to be sure…)
  • Speaking of the show itself & it’s production, I thought the sets were pretty awesome. Interesting projection tech, I liked the giant Easter-Island-Oscar-Busts, and thought The Mill did a nice job on the motion packages they worked on. The “Adapted Screenplay” title cards – nodding to the minimalist film poster trend – were particularly lovely.
  • And finally, on local matters: The Channel 13 “50 years” commercial was A-MAZINGLY hilarious, in all the right ways. I loved all the stock-Rochester footage (from the 70s/80s?): specifically, how much snowmobile-flying-through-the-air footage does Channel 13 have in their archives? Also, WHERE did that song come from, and to paraphrase @karaaustin: “Why have I never heard that before?” Props to them for going all the way on insane amounts of nostalgia; it was a lot of goofy fun. (Maybe @kathylaluk can shed s’more light on this?)
  • To all those who were upset by Crystal’s “Chapter 11 Theater” Kodak jab: Umm, did you think that WASN’T going to happen? I maintain that I thought his jokes were a little more dig-heavy tonight, but Kodak’s bankruptcy announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time, in terms of onscreen publicity, and their logo is on the FRONT of the BUILDING; Kodak’s been an integral part to the history of film, and this is international news. But there’s no GOOD news about it, yet, so frankly I’m a bit surprised it was only mentioned twice.

I’m not equipped to comment on the red carpet “fashion,” but is there anything else people really liked or hated?

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4 Responses to “84th Oscar Thoughts”

  1. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the shoutout, Matt! I don’t know much about said commercial, but here’s what I do know: A. I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old self was (inadvertently) in one of the shots on the monorail at Midtown, and B. the jingle was part of the old Channel 13 “Hello Rochester” campaign back in the 1980s (check out the ORIGINAL promos here: http://www.13wham.com/content/50thanniversary/default.aspx).

    The station is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, so we’re getting very nostalgic and bringing back some old features, including this. Don Alhart also put together five special pieces on each decade at Channel 13. So far, three pieces have aired (1960s, 70s & 80s) and can be found at the above link. The final two pieces air this Thursday and next Thursday during the 6 p.m. newscast.

  2. lukeMV says:

    If I knew you were going to write this, I would have just skipped the Oscars last night.

  3. Matt says:

    Kathy: AWESOME! Thanks for the links! I’ll definitely check out the decade recaps.

    Luke: *I* actually didn’t know I was going to do this until it just kinda tumbled out of me. 😛

  4. Catherine says:

    Didn’t watch last night, so this was very enlightening. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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