Monday, February 25, 2008

Lady Oscar

I had placed my chips on There Will Be Blood so I had a late collapse in our Oscar pool yesterday, after leading most of the evening. Things like getting both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress did help, however. Weirdly Tilda Swinton seemed to be considered the dark horse and her win an upset, even though she's far from an unknown quantity and has been remarkable in pretty much everything she's ever done. And not that I wanted Juno to get anything (it is a trifle at best) but its getting Best Script particularly rankled me as the script is precisely the worst thing about the movie.

My favorite acting trend last night: Every single Oscar went to a non-American. Tilda Swinton is British; Daniel Day-Lewis is Irish; Javier Bardem is Spanish; Marion Cotillard is French. I'd like to say this is a seachange in prevailing acting styles, though it's probably just a coincidence. But what if it means a swing of the pendulum away from the Method and toward, you know, just making things up and pretending? (Though some may argue that DDL is pretty Method.)

Psyched to see Cotillard win, as I did like both her and La vie en rose, plus, you know, it's great to see a French actress up there 48 years after Simone Signoret, but at the same time I'm seriously bummed by this kneejerk rewarding of 1) the transformation of a beautiful actress into an ugly duckling through the magic of latex, 2) showy acting and 3) and biopic acting. Cotillard's performance, of course, covers all three bases. Again I enjoyed her a lot but it's frustrating to see understated or comedic performances always get the shaft. Over the past several years, way too many Oscars have gone to actors embodying real people (as far as one can say that Ray Charles, Idi Amin Dada, Truman Capote or Edith Piaf are "real" but let's not get too meta-meta here) and biopic-ing has become a surefire ticket. Pathetic.

Speaking of rocking chicks: Tina Fey came out for Hillary and pretty much nailed it on SNL's Weekend Update. Check out the video here. Her killer wrap-up: "bitch is the new black."

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