The red carpet has been rolled up, the dust has settled, the mud has stopped flying, and the 74th Academy Awards are now in the books, so its time to analyze, criticize, comment and such about the ceremony which will no doubt go down in history, but the reasons why may not be the ones that most people think.
The night belonged to Halle Berry, far and away hers was the most memorable of the night, besides the fact that I think her speech is still going on as we speak. Ms Berry deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as the frustrated mother and wife in Monster’s Ball. Her reaction was human, heartfelt and real, but along with Denzel’s victory, Poitier’s poignant and deserved Honorary Oscar, and the fact that Goldberg was the host, these facts may be tainted by the pre-show accusations, and post-show commentaries regarding the African-American aspect of things. First off, don’t get me wrong, I am half African American myself, so these comments come straight from me as a person, not as a black person. There was talk about failure to recognize, reward, nominate etc the African Americans in the awards. The truth of the matter is two-pronged. First, if there was a worthy performance, it was nominated, or at least mentioned. Second, the African Americans are not the only ones who have been neglected. There are White actors, Hispanic actors, Oriental actors, British and European actors, actors of every race, color, and ethnic origin who have not been deservedly recognized and rewarded. To make it an issue this year, frankly, is to taint the victories of two wonderful actors. The reason Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won this year, has absolutely nothing to do with their skin color, it is because they gave amazing and wonderful performances in their given films. I still feel that Crowe was just a little better than Washington, but that has nothing to do with ethnicity. They won, because their peers felt they were better, or at least I hope that is why they all voted for them. The truth is, this year, to my surprise, the deserving movies won, in most every category. The glaring exception was Amelie not winning anything, not even the foreign film category (it was one of the best movies of the year, foreign or not) Lord of the Rings came in with a bang, and left with a technical whimper, while Moulin Rouge and Beautiful Mind won the same amount of awards, making this a balanced ceremony, in a cinematically balanced year. The tributes to the Sept 11th tragedy were expected, but are starting to become, in my eyes, a bit shameless. Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the most patriotic people you would ever meet, but there comes a point where we pay our respects, and we move on, the longer and more we dwell, the more the perpetrators win. Spacey’s moment of silence, and Allen’s NY tribute were enough for me
Other shining moments:
The touching tribute to Poitier, and his reaction and speech thanking the pioneers before him
The individual films, discussing and showing what movies mean to us, starting with, and lead by, documentarian Errol Morris montage, and including films by Woody Allen, Nora Ephron, Kasi Lemmons and Penelope Spheeris. These remind us that film making is a passion, and an art form that sometimes gets lost.
Randy Newman finally winning after 16 previous nominations
The glamorous and classy fashion statements by: Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Halle Berry and Reese Witherspoon
Whoopi Goldberg continually beating the race card into the ground, trying too hard to be funny
Fashion mistakes by Gwyneth “someone find me a bra” Paltrow, and Cameron ‘someone find me a hairbrush and a Geisha house”