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Blogging the Oscars - 2013 Edition

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by Kilian Melloy
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Former Bond Girl Halle Berry gives us a tour of James Bond’s 50 years of cinema history, set to the throbbing guitar score that has served as the Bond signature for 22 movies and still sounds swaggery and stylish, if a little dated. Make that retro. Bond will never be "dated."

Dame Shirley Bassey appears, stuffed into a gold lamee gown to deliver a rendition of "Goldfinger." There’s MacFarlane again, giving props to a trio of people who, he claims, have made this year’s awards "great." Well, let’s call it better than average.

Short Film, Documentary Awards
Something called "Curfew" wins short film. Again, just where would we ever see any of the short subjects celebrated here? YouTube, I look to you. Meantime, the guy’s list of people he wants to thank grows longer than his movie. Well, it’s his moment to shine, let him take it.

Something called "Inocente" wins documentary short. The filmmakers evidently were nominated before, for a film called "War Dance."

Now can we talk about Best Actor? Best Actress? Best Supporting Actor and Actress? Director? Score? Original and Adapted Screenplays? The stuff we’ll be talking about for next few days?

God in Heaven, Liam Neeson tells us the premise of "Argo." He none too successfully tries to tie this into "Lincoln" and then woodenly segues into comments about "Zero Dark Thirty." The clips speak so much more eloquently about the nominees for Best Picture, as do their scores, played over the clips.

Holy shit, MacFarlane shocks the audience with a crass joke about John Wilkes Booth being the actor "who really got into Lincoln’s head." He shies not before the disapproving groan that greets him. "Really? A hundred and fifty years and it’s still too soon?" Grudgingly, I have to say, that was smooth, almost a recovery.

Ben Affleck introduces the nominees for Best Documentary Feature, which include "How to Survive A Plague," "The Gatekeepers," "Searching for Sugarman," "5 Broken Cameras," and "The Invisible War." Naturally, I am rooting for "How to Survive a Plague." What wins? "Searching for Sugarman." Dare I say it? On a night characterized by MacFarlane’s brand of tastelessness, it’s not even going to matter.

After the commercial break, MacFarlane makes a real joke when he observes that, "It’s Sunday; everyone’s dressed up. It’s like church, only more people are praying."

Best Foreign Language Film
Oh, we know "Amour" is gonna take it. "Kon Tiki?" "A Royal Affair?" "War Witch?" "No?" No. Not a chance, though Mads Mikkelson should have been a contender for Best Actor.

"Amour" wins it. Okay, with that suspense over and done with... a real surprise! John Travolta strides out, clad all in black, to talk about movie musicals. (Oh! John! No, really?) Clips of "Chicago" usher in a musical number, "All That Jazz," delivered by Catherine Zeta-Jones. It’s lavish, slick, and steamy. It’s definitely better than the "interpretive dance" thing of a few years ago.

Clips of "Dreamgirls" preface the next number, a scorcher belted out by Jennifer Hudson. It all feels like a prelude to the cast of "Les Miserables" fetching up for a medley that more or less recaps all the fllm’s story lines. Too bad the film couldn’t have been so economical.

More Star Trek actors -- Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana -- introducing the yearly recap of the much less glamorous technical awards, which have already taken place. The orchestra plays the Jerry Goldsmith fanfare from the original Trek films, rather than the Michael Giacchino score from the 2009 reboot. Some things, I guess, are just classic and remain that way.

Mark Wahlberg and Ted the CGI teddy bear present for the next award...

Sound
"Argo" "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," and "Skyfall" are all up. "Les Miserables" snags the award for sound mixing. Poor "Skyfall." First Roger Deakins loses for cinematography, then this.

Now the CGI teddy bear and his sidekick go on to announce Best Sound Editing. "Argo." "Django Unchained." "Life of Pi." "Skyfall." "Zero Dark Thirty." We’re gonna be hearing these same names all night long! In this case, the recurring titles result in -- gasp! -- a tie, with "Zero Dark Thirty" taking the award, then "Skyfall" taking the award, also.

Christopher Plummer emerges after a middling joke riffing on "The Sound of Music." I sense a trend continuing: Plummer starred as a Klingon baddie in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."


Next page: Ann Hathaway, Not Miserable



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