But I was less narcotized than usual by TV, so here're my 10 points of chatter about the spectacle last night:
- Crash, a truly awful mess of a movie, beat out Brokeback Mountain and three other superior films;
- The Oscar Academy felt it did all it needed to in awarding Ang Lee the Best Director and passed over Brokeback Mountain and its actors in most of the other categories for which they were nominated;
- Because Brokeback Mountain is about THE GAY CLOSET and men who don't "despise themselves" as much as it is a "love story" with "universal themes" and appeal blah blah blah, Hollywood heteros and closeted homos were not about to reward it with the top prize;
- Host Jon Stewart was pretty funny at points, but overall the show was too subdued (bring back Whoopi Goldberg!);
- Until Rachel Weisz and Sandra Bullock appeared on stage it was the parade of the "ethereals," or ABWs (anorexic blonde women), who, if they get any thinner and their hair gets any lighter-colored, that is, grow more ethereal, are going to simply disappear into the ether altogether;
- The montage of homoerotic cowboy movie scenes was funny, well done and reminded the Academy of the closet cases and the fact that they picked Crap as the best picture;
- The first rap song by Black performers (thanks, Karsh!) to win an Oscar would have to be about, of all things, the vicissitudes of...pimps! Queen Latifah (above, Yahoo! Oscars) did make a humorous comment about the Three 6 Mafia's win, but it's still telling that of all the hiphop original songs and scores for films, this particular one won;
- Jon Stewart made a funny joke about the Three 6 Mafia ("Martin Scorcese, zero Oscar, 36 Mafia, 1");
- George Clooney, whom I've never been particularly fond of and who fashions himself as a budding liberal activist (he is a decent actor these days, and pretty talented, I'll admit) might not be congratulating Hollywood so fulsomely on its progressiveness if he were to open a film history book and actually read about portrayals of Blacks and other people of color right up to 2006;
- Terrence (Dashon? what happened to the "Dashon"?) Howard is starting to show the effects of what Dave Chappelle posited during his recent appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, which is that Hollywood can seriously mess with Black folks' minds (and that's stating what he said in mild terms).
"Well, what's beautiful is that they are realizing that there's no such thing as an African American or a white person. Fortunately I am the make-up of everybody, and I'm aware of that; so I carry your power and yours. Most people aren't aware of the power they have so they allow themselves to be categorized."
Which is why he was nominated for playing a BLACK PIMP who gets into HIPHOP, and why his other major role this year was as a humiliated upper-middle-class BLACK MAN. "No such thing," indeed.
C. thought Dolly Parton didn't look so great; I thought that for a woman climbing the upper reaches of life's ladder, she looked fantabulous. A bit Barbiesque in a sort of freakish way, but great nonetheless. But then I thought Madonna looked great on the Grammys, or whichever of the endless parade of award shows plaguing TV these days that I clicked off right after maybe 10 minutes that she appeared on. Actually, Dolly sounded better than she looked, and her song was catchy, certainly more catchy I thought than the pimp song. (The Crash song performance was like something out of a bad horror film, or maybe even a good one, like Michael Haneke's The Time of the Wolf.)
Where are the out lesbian actors in Hollywood? When will we get to see a woman thank her female partner onstage? Yes, Lily Tomlin was out there last night--one of the highlights, her appearance with Meryl Streep--and perhaps I've missed it, but I do keep wondering where the out lesbians in Hollywood are. Where's one of the most high-profile lesbians in Hollywood, Ellen DeGeneres? Are they embargoing her until we get a Democratic president again? Where are the out lesbians of color? (No comments about the woman pictured above, okay?) Every year, I'm glad to say, there's at least one gay man who openly thanks his partner or husband. But I can't remember a woman doing that--or have I just missed it? Also, when will a woman--lesbian, straight, bi, pansexual or otherwise--who's not Lauren Bacall's age eschew a gown and wear a fierce suit onstage? Ellen would certainly do it....
Okay, I have nothing more to add, except that Will Smith did not look as cute as he has in his recent movies, so I'm not sure what was up, and that Jennifer Lopez looked like she's obviously enjoying her sunny stays (life?) down in Miami.
I learned today that former Minnesota Twins star and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett (at left, SI.com) died after suffering a stroke yesterday. The Chicago native was only 45 years old. Puckett had a lifetime .318 batting average and led his team to World Series Championships in 1987 (over the St. Louis Cardinals) and in 1991 (over Atlanta, mainly through his heroics), and garnered acclaim for his swift bat and skill in the outfield. His exuberance and sustained excellence made him a favorite of fans in Minnesota and across both leagues. Puckett had to retire in 1995 after suffering from glaucoma, which blinded him in his right eye, and the forced retirement supposedly devastated him. In 2001 he became the second youngest person ever to be elected to Cooperstown. The 5'8" athlete was always stout though fit during his playing career, but had grown increasingly overweight in recent years, which may have led to further health problems. Baseball fans won't forget his marvelous play and effervescent approach to the game anytime soon.