Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Between a Rock and a Crystal

Jon Stewart's performance as Oscar host

Well, what about the Oscars this time, huh? Jon Stewart, the one reason I watched the Oscars for this time, was, I felt, slightly uneven and seemed unnaturally subdued. Some of his bits like the attack ads ("Dames For Truth!" Hilarious!) and his DIck Cheney - Bjork joke were killers but others like his initial intro sequence and the whole Tom-Hanks-getting-attacked-by-orchestra-for-long-speech were quite poorly done. And doling out personal attacks on movie stars (the Baldwin brothers crack and the Scientology thing) are certainly not his style. He himself appeared quite embarassed for making those jokes!

The other metric of an Oscar host's performance is his or her ability to ad-lib. In this, Stewart ranked way ahead of Chris Rock last year for keeping his on-the-spot jokes tasteful and without anything deroogatory (like Rock belitting Jude Law and Colin Farrell). In this, he was also better than Steve Martin who in 2002 (I think) kept picking on Russell Crowe for some reason. But the master of ad-libbing is certainly Billy Crystal. I still remember him in 2004 the year when "Return of the King" kept winning every award. "It's official," he intoned, "there is no one left in New Zealand to be thanked!", followed by, "People are moving to New Zealand just to be thanked!" Priceless stuff!

The award winners themselves, no surprises there except the big one, of course. Crash winning Best Picture was always on the cards I felt. Roger Ebert predicted just that and he's usually good at the guessing game (Last year, in his review for Million Dollar Baby he stated with utmost conviction that it would win the Oscar. Uncanny!) I personally thought that while Crash was an extremely powerful movie, the plot was essentially an algorithm that kept repeating over and over again. Syriana was better with its interweaving of story lines and by not being over-simplistic it played out like an adult version of Crash. Pity it didn't even get nominated! Anyway, it was worth Crash winning just to see the expression on Jack Nicholson's face when he read it out. "Whoa!" Hilarious!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Jon Stewart's performance was very subdued. He was not his usual tart-self. He was very conscious and, of course, he cannot pick on somebody in a show of such grandeur, which is what he is best at.

I think "Crash" won the Oscar just to continue the unbroken tradition of a "surprise" element. I am not putting it down as a movie, but I thought "Brokeback Mountain" was a shade better.

It was interesting to note that this year's Oscars viewership was the lowest in the past decade. Another interesting article on Jon Stewart's performance.

-- Chithi

4:15 PM  
Blogger Santosh Sankar said...

I think the reason for low viewership was the fact that none of the Best Picture nominees were big budget blockbusters like LOTR. I also think there was no one movie this year that captured the imagination of the public to drive them to root for it at the Oscars.

And what are you up to, chithi? I'll give you a call (on your new cell phone!) this weekend!

6:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home