August 30, 2010
As Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles last night witnessed the most important awards night for the television community, roughly about the same amount of viewers sat down with some popcorn to watch the event through their own TV. And much like last year’s Emmys very little was actually memorable and everyone behaved themselves.
Host Jimmy Fallon, now of late night fame, brought in members of the Glee cast to round up other TV actors to sing through an opening number. This singing humor, much like hosts before him, seem to keep Fallon calm and the rambling jokes to a minimum. Strumming a guitar through the audience before each category (Comedy, Reality, Drama, Variety & Mini-series/Movie), Fallon brought a casual element to the Emmys. An element that thankfully was well contained despite needless category video introductions.
The first category of the night was comedy. With Eric Stonestreet winning outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for Modern Family while his writers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd were honored for their work on the same show. Glee’s Jane Lynch took home the next award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy role. The show’s creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy won next for outstanding direction of a comedy series for his pilot of Glee. Reinforcing his show’s message about the importance of arts education and dedicating his award to all his teachers who taught him to sing and finger paint, Murphy was the last of the gleekers to get any recognition. The remaining comedy awards went to Jim Parsons for Big Bang Theory for lead actor in a comedy series and Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.
Next up was the only reality award of the night that got air time. Best reality competition programming went to Top Chef and the night continued right onto drama. At a quick, even pace Fallon’s Emmys awarded outstanding writing for a drama series to Mad Men‘s Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy. The outstanding supporting actor in a drama series went to Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad while outstanding supporting actress in a drama series went to Archie Panjabi for The Good Wife. Next outstanding lead actor in a drama series went to Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, proving that Sunday night surely AMC was pleased. Outstanding director for a drama series went to Steve Shill for Dexter and the night took a quick break to celebrate shoes that ended this year.
In a musical tribute to three shows we lost this year, Fallon (most definitely channeling early Hugh Laurie talent) jammed on pink piano dressed as Elton John for 24. Then a Boyz II Men song for Law & Order in an on over sized sweater and drinking forty then for LOST he sang a Green Day song. Funny and reminding audiences of his SNL fame, Fallon was able to remind people than despite the smoothness the show was still his. A nice anecdote before outstanding lead actress in a drama series went to Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer because no one can hate on Kevin Bacon’s wife!
Outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy special went to Dave Boon for the Tony Awards, which incidentally I missed this year. But at least I saw most of the Olympics whose director, Bucky Gunts won for outstanding directing for a variety, music or comedy special. Ricky Gervais, as usual, gets the best presenter award for his deadpan humor and ability to always add spice to a humdrum Hollywood experience. This was especially great as John Stewart’s team won for the seventh time for their work on The Daily Show in the outstanding variety, music or comedy special category.
Next up George Clooney was honored with as the fourth recipient of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. His usual charming self, Clooney kept it brief, but thankfully reiterated the importance of the media to do more than what others set out. He reminded us all that we fail at following up with an old cause and we must keep the spotlight burning on these sad situations even after when the camera goes away. A message all to poignant as the Emmy broadcast aired on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting the gulf coast. An event and anniversary that was, besides Clooney mentioning the gulf, completely ignored.
But onto the next category right? In the miniseries or movie category HBO’s Temple Grandin took home the majority of the awards. With Julia Ormand winning for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie and David Strathairn winning outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie. Breaking up this category was Jewel’s singing in honor of the in memoriam section of the night. Done quietly and with class, her voice certainly lent itself to
The rest of the mini series and movie category continued with outstanding writing for a mini series or movie going to Adam Mazer for You Don’t Know Jack whose lead actor, Al Pacino won as well (and the music cut him off). Both lead actress and directing in a miniseries or movie went to Claire Danes and Mick Jackson for Temple Grandin. The made for television movie was also award as the outstanding TV movie while Tom Hanks’ and Stephen Speilbergs’ The Pacific won for outstanding mini-series. At this rate Tom Hanks should be given his own award for his ability to give a well oiled acceptance speech and somehow add magnanimous validity and warmth to any subject.
The last awards of the night were given out by two television legends. Tom Selleck first gave away the outstanding drama series Emmy to Mad Men, which has racked up seventeen Emmy nominations this year. Last up was Ted Danson who gave away the outstanding comedy series award to Modern Family which had racked up fourteen Emmy nominations this year. Yet overall, there wasn’t any amazing surprises or upsets. Women, except Man Men’s January Jones, played it safe on the red carpet. Seeming to almost stay within the awful predetermined boundaries of the stigma of the TV actress. But with new shows out this fall and some good returning ones people are already on to talking about something else. And that’s the way it should be.
June 7, 2010
The MTV Movie Awards (2010). Host: Aziz Ansari.
As usual, the MTV Movie Awards over took Hollywood and television screens everywhere with its loud obnoxious humor and grand gestures of commercialism.
Right off the bat the main laughs went to Tom Cruise’s turn as his Les Grossman character from 2008′s film Tropic Thunder. Funny and silly, this turn is even better for industry insiders who know his portrait of studio producers is at times quite accurate. However, I would wonder how much humor came from what he said or from the fact that its Tom Cruise doing something that doesn’t revolve around his wife Katie Holmes or being a bit nutty. Either way, glad to see the young Eclipse stars (Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner) have good enough spirits to be part of their own gag.
Next up was host Aziz Ansari’s monologue. Much shorter than most awards show, his monologue catered to the younger MTV viewers who can’t make it through than more than two hours of a ceremony. If you can even call this one that. But, Ansari was able to tackle some hot topics in movies and keep everything light and moving throughout the night. A night whose awards were a bit random. Does anyone else remember different awards being presented through the years? I wish MTV has some consistency in its programming. *sigh
The first award for best female performance went to Kristen Stewart for New Moon. No surprise there, she was even her same awkward self, just minus actually dropping the award this year. The next award went to another Twilight cast member, Anna Kendrick, but her best breakout popcorn award was for Up in the Air. Both awards were presented by a slew of cast members of upcoming movies this summer, so if audiences didn’t know what was in theaters or coming up, they certainly do now.
Next on stage was Ed Helms and Ken Jeong (both from The Hangover) providing a tour of cinema via the piano playing Helms dressed as a cloud and Jeong in a leopard leotard. Apparently not metaphorical or entertaining enough for Cruise’s Grossman character he suddenly intervenes. And along with Ludacris and JLo a huge dance break ensues. Only on MTV.
Following the dance break, Amanda Seyfried won best ‘best scared as shit’ performance for Jennifer’s Body. Along with Amanda, everyone was surprised as few people saw the movie. But good for for her. Of course, the awards show always sports never before seen clips and premieres of new trailers. One special one was the premiere for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part one of a pair of films which will chronicle the last Harry Potter, the film certainly has difficult competition with Twilight fans. Although entirely different, it will be interesting to gauge the success of both franchises as their final installments are near.
The pop culture legend of the award for best kiss was up next. Sporting a cute moment of a kiss cam throughout the audience, this award definitely felt like the most genuine MTV moment of the night. Of course, Stewart and Pattinson took it home again, but do seem less awkward sports about it all. Next up was Katy Perry’s performance of her new hit ‘California Girls.’ Bright and poppy, her performance, as usual, seemed flat and uncomfortable. Thankfully, Ansari’s SNL like videos proved to move the night along.
This year’s MTV Generations Award, presented by Betty White, Bradley Cooper, and Scarlett Johansson was given to Sandra Bullock. Obviously, her personal struggles have recently overshadowed her achievements, but it’s nice to feel her sense of humor and happiness with what she does. And if you wondered why Johansson helped present, it was only to get a kiss from the star and stand in for husband Ryan Reynolds.
As the awards rolled by, the best wtf moment went to Ken Jeong, best bad ass star went to Rain and best villain went to Tom Felton for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. Somewhere in the middle Ansari did a tribute to Avatar as if he was R-Kelly, which out shown Mark Walberg and Will Ferrel’s attempt to promote their film by flying over the presenters. But, what of course, trumped them both was the new Eclipse sneak peek. Not out of quality, but of sheer mass of fan-dom. A fan-dom I am sure Christina Aquilera wants to tap into as she makes her return to music. Next up was her performance of songs from her new Bionic album. Unfortunately, the performance was far to overt, distasteful, and clearly limiting the display of her voice. Sadly, she has yet to realize the power of just her voice and the fine line between sexy and raunchy.
The last two awards of the night went mostly in peace. Best comedic performance went to Zach Galifianakis via Ansari, dressed up as his swagger coach. Not as memorable as Jim Carrey’s costuming in past years, but a valiant effort. Last but not least, New Moon went home with the popcorn for best movie. Proving that once again serious fan bases and popularity can win you awards, which is entirely the purpose of an event like the MTV Movie Awards. And it is nice to see that some things don’t ever change.
March 10, 2010
The Academy Awards (2010). Hosts: Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin.
This Sunday finally witnessed the 82nd annual academy awards, an award show that was more hyped up for who it had and would snub, then who it would honor.
Right off the bat the show’s producers lined up the best actress and best actor nominees on stage. And for what? A big round of applause for Oscar’s favorite award, some silly audience reaction shots and the highlighting of one of the most predictable awards that night (just shy of the supporting winners).
But starting off the party (?) though, was a jubilant Neil Patrick Harris who sauntered in as if it was the Emmys all over again and Hugh Jackman was only a distant memory. A sad knockoff from his Emmy routine, Harris’ number was no where near Jackman’s from last year and made little sense as he was not even the designated host. Obviously Oscar producers felt that the actual hosts couldn’t make an entrance or rock a sequin blazer, how sad (but true).
Even sadder is that producer’s obviously thought neither host could handle the night alone, despite Martin’s previous experience with the event. Both men stood there, throughout the night, delivering jokes (some rather great though) in standardized fashion. Oh Alec, here’s that person, jab at them, oh look Steve it’s this actor, don’t we have a funny about them? And so on and so forth. (Come on even George Clooney looked bored, and yes, a bit miffed.)
The first award of the night is always a supporting one, and for this night a shoe-in. Having already won the Golden Globe and SAG award, Christolph Waltz graciously accepted the Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for Inglorius Basterds. In another circumventing speech, Waltz was able to thank Quentin Tarantino and a film that would ultimately deserve more than it was awarded.
Amply awarded best animated feature was Pete Docter’s UP, the next award announced by Cameran Diaz and Steve Carrell. Pixar is surely happy, as we all are, that their reign continues. Another safe bet was best original song that went to Ryan Bimgham and T-Bone Burnett for ‘The Weary Hearted’ from Crazy Heart presented by Amanda Seyfriend and a slouchy Miley Cyrus. And as Ryan made sure to tell his wife, “I love you more than rainbows baby” we all breathed a sigh of relief for some actual genuine singularity in the night. (By the way, you know it’s a boring red carpet when Cameron Diaz is one of the best dressed, and the young actresses look like they came straight from prom, snooze.)
But trying to put some spark into the evening was Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. who got to present best original screenplay to Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker. Although a great screenplay I would have been happier to see the Oscar in Tarantino’s hands, for his amazing film that couldn’t just ride on being topical. And topical the night was, as Matthew Broderick and Molly Ringwald took the stage to address the death and celebrate the life and work of filmmaker John Hughes. A lovely, tender moment, this showed Oscar night in true classic form, as Hughes family stood in honor of him and reminded all audiences everywhere that influence and significance can come in any form or level.
Unfortunately, the rest of the night didn’t maintain that moment. As the tactless ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’ instrument from Gigi played Zoe Saldana (in a poorly designed purple poof of a dress) and Carey Mulligan presented the shorts awards. (I’m sorry, but didn’t pop culture decide long ago that this song was creepy?) With best animated short film going to Nicolas Shmerkin for Logorama, best documentary short to Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett for Music by Prudence, and best live action short going to Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson for The New Tenants. In the most notorious speech of the night (how silly) Music By Prudence producer Burkett stole the spotlight and speech of filmmaker Williams. Not only did she appear to hijack the speech from him, but looked as if she broke his spirit, truly a travesty in filmmaking, a collaborative industry at its core.
And at the core of Ben Stiller is still comedy and daredevil mischief. Committing to his post as presenter for best make-up, Stiller took the stage in full Avatar make-up, including tail, to present and attempt words in the Navi language. Although Avatar was not even nominated, Stiller was a nice chuckle (maybe not for James Cameron who never really smiles) and a chance to honor Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, and Joel Harlow for their work on Star Trek.
Next up was Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal to present the award for best adapted screenplay. In a bit of surprise, the award went to Jeffrey Fletcher for his adaption of Precious. Obviously a great moment for him and the Precious team, he neglected to thank Sapphire for her inspirational original content. Sorry, but is it not standard to at least acknowledge where your work is actually rooted in? Shame on you.
And shame on the Academy. Not only did you waste time later in the evening on silly horror genre montages and interpretative dances (sponsored by the Gap?), but you forced film icon Lauren Bacall to accept her Governor’s Award or Honorary Oscar (as some call it) at a lunch!?! And veteran producer Roger Corman too? Shame on the Academy, shame, shame, shame. If you are going to put on the biggest night in the business, do some research, honor your history, and have some class.
Well, at least, unlike her character. Miss Mo’nique maintained some grace while accepting the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for Precious. But it is still the same speech, from every other awards, woo-hoo. And woo-hoo for Avatar‘s first win of the evening for outstanding art direction, presented by Sigourny Weaver. Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, and Kim Sinclair received the award and provided a great example of when there is little organization and someone gets the microphone for the whole speech (oddly I don’t feel sad for them, hmm).
Next up was Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker (in that god awful Chanel mishap) who presented Sandy Powell with her third Oscar for costume design for The Young Victoria. Thanks Sandy, for reminding audiences of the little people who don’t get Oscars, and the big people who revel in their own success. Thanks.
Not even going to tackle the Baldwin/Martin Paranormal Activity spoof (is this the MTV Movie Awards now? Just checking).
Attention Academy, now it’s time for those pretty young things to present, you know, for the ratings. If you thought you got through Miley alright, well here’s Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner of Twilight and New Moon fame introducing a pointless horror movie montage of the last thirty-seven years of the genre. But why? Is anyone in the mood for a ‘guess that movie game’? I. Don’t. Think. So. And no one is in the mood for them either. Sorry kids, you still have a lot to experience.
But, of course, cue more youngsters, Zac Efron and Anna Kedrick (at least she’s relevant) to present the next award. And with a Morgan Freemon narrated segment actually explaining the sound editing category, audiences can be relived that someone somewhere knows what to their doing. Walking away with this award was Paul N.J. Ottosson for The Hurt Locker and then with his colleague. Ray Beckett, for best sound mixing. Very well deserved awards, but I’ll leave the opinions to the experts at the Sci-Tech awards who already had their ceremony with pert Elizabeth Banks.
But it’s back to Avatar again as Mauro Fiore wins for best cinematography from then-nominee Sandra Bullock. His passion is evident, as for his love of Italy, and his Avatar fever is plenty infectious to make up for stoic Cameron (strategically seated behind Kathryn Bigelow, ex-wife and director of The Hurt Locker so they could be in the same shot?).
In popular culture history the Academy Awards are revered as the highest accolade in the film industry. Therefore, as the telecast and awards show has evolved, its ‘In Memorium’ section of the night has also been equally treasured. This year, introduced by Demi Moore, the montage of names and faces, talent and fame, was shown to James Taylor singing, live, ‘All My Life’ by the Beatles. Not only did he not get to sing his own song, but Taylor became trapped in the continuing cycle of live soundtrack that is actually a distraction from the montage. But regardless of snubs or omissions, this Oscar moment is special every year and Karl Malden, honored with the last spot, will always be the Reverend Ford from Pollyanna (1960)). Standing in the grass, debating his sermon, and being shocked by a young Hayley Mills’ view of the world. Because that is what the Oscars are, they honor these treasured cinematic moments, and have and should remind us why we love the movies.
Yet, sadly, this night lost out on that overall feeling. As right after the memorium Sam Worthington and Jennifer Lopez introduced a dance segment to the soundtracks nominated for best original score. Beautiful pieces of music and beautiful dancing, but entirely mis-matched and inappropriate. Somehow the beige washed costumes enhanced the blah-factor as most audiences surely wondered why we could have this segment and not other standards. Clearly, new Oscar producer Adam Shankman (of reality show So You Think You Can Dance fame) does not understand his audience. Yes, let’s bring the young people in, but let’s also not alienate everyone else. Or, frankly, to a night celebrating cinema!
The next couple award were well predicted with Michael Giachinno winning for the best original score for UP. Gerard Butler and Bradley Copper giving best visual effects to Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andy Jones of the Avatar crew. Matt Damon was called on to deliver the best documentary feature to Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens of The Cove who were cut off due to flag waving (got to let them try). Then Tyler Perry (way to buy yourself an Academy invitation) presented best film editing to Bob Murawski and Chris Innis for The Hurt Locker. Ending the humdrum with directors Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino (being themselves!) giving best foreign language film to the Argentinian film El Secreto De Sus Ojos.
Now, finally, we get to the meat of it. The awards Oscar clearing reveres most. Similar to last year’s ceremony, fellow actors took the stage to honor the nominees. However, this time they weren’t all winners in that category, but rather actors who’d previously worked with the nominees (way to go Colin Farrell for keeping a straight face while applauding nominee Jeremy Renner, we are all sure S.W.A.T. was an amazing experience). Clearly emphasizing that the award is also about the person, as much as it is about the performance, naturally Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart was given the Oscar from Kate Winslet, last year’s best actress winner. Yes, Jeff, your parent’s love “show biz so much” and show biz loves you, a well deserving careers, but not a well deserving performance.
(I’d like to point out here that Ms. Winslet was the only one that night to say correctly, “and the Oscar goes to,” rather than “the winner is” which apparently everyone else read off the prompter. Shame on you Academy, and the presenters. Never, never through out tradition and the excuse to seem unbiased out the door. Never!)
Next up was the colleagues of the best actress nominees, with Precious executive producer Oprah Winfrey taking the stage for newcomer Gabourey Sidibe (she even sounded like she was on her show!). With last year’s best actor winner, Sean Penn handed off the Oscar to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side. Yes you wore us down Sandra, yes we like you, yes it’s great you were recognized, but please really? An Oscar? Now, go away so we can stop kicking ourselves for liking you and giving it to you for no reason.
Lastly, the icon Barbara Streisand waltzed on stage, obviously preempting this win, and seemed thrilled to hand Kathryn Bigelow her Oscar for best director for The Hurt Locker. The first woman in eighty-two years to ever receive the award, Bigelow was clearly in shock and refreshingly gracious. So that, whether or not you like the film or her vision, you at least have to like her and how she has handle herself amidst the glare of Cameron and critics.
And who better to end the night then Tom Hanks. Abandoning all frivolity or a recap of the best picture noms presented throughout the night, he ripped open the envelope to a roar of excitement for The Hurt Locker. With the three main actors swaying behind Ms. Bigelow, the scope of the project and genuine enthusiasm was at least palpable. But that is more than I would say for most of the night.
The last time there was ten nominations was in 1943 when Casablanca won and the world was at war. Now there is still war, but more choices are returned. Yet unfortunately this wasn’t the year for ten nominations as the ten selected were hardly of the same caliber. A nomination shouldn’t just be given to fill a category, but given when worth should be rewarded. Let us all hope the Academy and its show producers remember that next year. Worth and tradition, it is why Hollywood still reigns supreme. Let’s not forget it.
February 11, 2010
The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards (2010).
As the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was lit up for another big dinner party, this one was called the SAG awards, everyone in the business was sighing in relief as their wasn’t any drizzle to dampen the red carpet.
As the 16th annual event kicked off, actors such as John Krazinski, Edie Falco, Jeff Garland, Sofia Vergara, Cory Monteith, Sheri Shepard, and Jeremy Irons started the evening with the traditional introductions of themselves with their name and “I am an actor.” Depending on the person, these introductions seem rather pseudo and self-congratulatory, but no one would disagree that the whole event feels that way. But let guilds be guilds right? (Clap, clap, clap…)
As the show began to roll it did the standard award show fare with introductions for each ensemble acting nominee (with the most surprising being still how great Nine looks in its trailer). Keeping a nice pace presenters gave the SAG statue for male actor in a comedy series to Alec Baldwin for NBC’s 30 Rock. Unsurprisingly, his partner in crime, Tina Fey, then took home the statuette for female actor in a comedy series for her role on 30 Rock where she thanked NBC, claiming her show was happy to be there.
Then in an obvious excuse to let their guests eat and drink a bit, the SAG guild put up a video of the masters of comedy, the artistry of funny. Going on far too long, audiences must have been relieved and exuberant as the cast of Fox’s Glee scored the best comedy – ensemble acting award. Full of warmth and energy, the cast set a nice tone for the next couple of announcements.
Rightfully so, Christoph Waltz next took home the statuette for male actor in a supporting role for Inglorious Basterds. Once again, Waltz offered a circumvent speech comparing the stage and the screen actor and how they must use different spaces. He went on to say how actors dedicate their lives to the whole whole movie experience, yet overall was very humbling though convoluted until he got to the end and proclaimed he was indebted to all of his peers, including the projectionist.
Without a host, the awards kept rolling with outstanding female actor in a drama series going to Juliana Margulies for CBS’ The Good Wife. And as his presenters attempted a gag at drinking on stage. male actor in a drama series went to Michael C. Hall for Showtime’s Dexter cementing his first win at the SAG awards. Concluding the television section of the night was the win by AMC’s Mad Men for best ensemble cast in a drama series. Their second time winning, the cast and audience seemed please to reward such a quality show.
At the halfway point, as usual, the screen actor’s guild president, Ken Howard, address his flock of artists reminding them about the crisis in Haiti, the purpose of their guild, and the importance of the night of celebration for this year’s work. A nice segway into the presentation of Life Achievement Award to Betty White. Her presentation was actually very education, inspiration, and historical as it allowed the audience and many at home to see how much Betty has influenced and how her media role has evolved. The warm connection between Sandra Bullock (who presented) and Betty was obviously more than a few crude jokes think, and it was great to see how humbled Betty was with her rightful recognition.
The recognitions would continue, although less gracefully, with Miss Drew Barrymore stumbling through a speech while accepting the female actor in a television movie/mini-series for HBO’s Grey Gardens. Once again despite her inability to hold it together, Barrymore probably stole a couple of hearts with her genuine happiness. Like the Golden Globes, Kevin Bacon was awarded for his role in HBO’s Taking Chance in the male actor in a television movie/mini-series category.
Now was the time for the inevitable In Memorandum section of the evening. Always a reflective point of award evenings, given so many deaths in 2009 Hollywood passings seem even more noticeable in the media these days. With the last spot given to Patrick Swayze, one can just hope that 2010 won’t see as much pain as 2009.
The final awards of the evening were the most anticipated film acting choices. As expected, female actor in a supporting role went to Mo’Nique for Precious with male actor in a leading role going to Jeff Bridges for his part in Crazy Heart. Even female actor in a leading role went to Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, so no surprises here and probably none to expect on Oscar night.
Lastly, the cast of Inglorius Basterds all went home that night with statuettes for best ensemble. Thanking Quentin Tarantino, the cast was exuberant and, frankly, well deserving of the awards as it was truly an ensemble piece, with hardly anyone really being the main event. It ended the show on a positive note, although overall audiences would probably have more fun popping champagne and getting Morgan Freeman’s email than sitting at home. Just saying…
January 25, 2010
The Golden Globes Awards (2010). Host: Ricky Gervais.
The annual dinner party thrown by the Foreign Press Association, began with a steady downpour of rain that provided an entertaining red carpet experience. Working under umbrellas and limited visibility, Hollywood’s hot list dealt with the rain with a fluff of pink and an attempt at humility.
Ricky Gervais handled this 67th annual event by sipping a pint of beer throughout the show, and giving his audience, both at home and in front of him, a couple of silly laughs. Gervais started out the night summing up the true value of stardom. Declaring that “actors are loved because they are recognizable,” he actually taps into modern notions of celebrity and an age of new media that over-satiates actors importance in modern society and culture. Although, odds are this was not his attention, Gervais humorous comments highlights his insight and true talent as a comedian. And amidst the roses and the chandeliers Gervais would go on to say some rather funny jokes, but never completely look in command of his role as host.
Of course this could have been due to the immediate and constant reminders of George Clooney’s upcoming telethon ‘Hope for Haiti’ and the need for donations for the wrecked country. A somber note, but one that felt sincere, even if a bit pseudo at points.
Starting out the evening on an emotional and significant note was a win for the film Precious with Mo’nique picking up a globe for best supporting actress in a drama. A raw speech made her moment memorable and helped to start out the evening on a nice beat. Beginning the television wins was Toni Collette winning best actress for a a television series (comedy or musical) for HBO’s The United States of Tara. John Lithgow went on to win a globe for Showtime’s Dexter for best supporting actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television.
The night continued with a nice pace with Paul McCartney announcing that animated films are not just for children, but also for “adults who take drugs.” Pixar’s UP went on to take the award for best motion picture (animated). Following that was the normal speech by the president as Philip Berk, president of the Foreign Press Association ‘said some brief sentences’ about his organization.
Continuing with television, Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter) accepted his globe for best actor in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television, which marks his fourth nomination. The awards kept rolling with Juliana Margulies winning for CBS’s The Good Wife in the best actress in a television series drama category. Breaking from television, best original song (motion picture) went to The Weary Heart from Crazy Heart (Ryan Bingham & T-bone Burnett). A movie with very fine original music and score, Crazy Heart was the only in its category really worth the notice. And although best original score (motion picture) went to Michael Giachinno for UP, by the end of the night the music awards seemed one of the categories the foreign press association got right.
FPA went on with the evening to give their best mini-series or motion picture made for television golden globe to HBO’s Grey Gardens. An obvious choice given the nominees, but the next one proved to be even more obvious. Competing against herself, Meryl Streep accepted the best actress (comedy or musical) golden globe for Julie & Julia. Beginning her speech saying that she wants to change her name to T-bone, could mark the actress’ desire for anonymity or her exhaustion in competing with herself. A heart felt and wandering speech about her mother, Streep can of course do no wrong and does Julia Child justice off and on screen.
The awards switched back to television as the best actor for a mini-series or motion picture made for television was given to Kevin Bacon for HBO’s Taking Chance. Out shining him in his speech and glow was Miss Drew Barrymore who was next to win best actress for a mini-series or motion picture made for television for her role in HBO’s Grey Gardens. Flustered, sincere, and beaming Barrymore thanked everyone in the room as she grew up in the limelight of Hollywood’s 1980s scene. Reminding everyone of the luck of opportunity, Barrymore set a nice tone for a night that lacked laughter.
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner went on to win the globe for best screen play (motion picture) for their collaboration on Up in the Air. Not the choice I would make, but as their film has proved to be topical and popular, it was not a surprising win. Alec Baldwin was announced as a winner for NBC’s 30 Rock for best actor in a television series comedy. Thankfully he wasn’t present to accept and the audience could happily move on to the best foreign language film, Germany’s The White Ribbon. However, no one could escape the constant reminders of the tragic situation in Haiti and the contributions that are in dire need. Never ending through out the night, various actors took the stage and reminded audience members at home and out that night to donate.
At moments, the night was able to escape the shadow of Haiti. One moment, was the the cast of AMC’s Mad Men’s win for best television series (drama) with creator Matthew Wiener at the helm for the speech. The first series to win this award twice, no one will argue of the quality of Mad Men‘s characters, costumes and story. Following, well, ripping her dress on those footsteps was Chloe Sevigny winning the globe for best supporting actress in a series, mini-series or motion picture made for television for her role on HBO’s Big Love. Following her dress debacle was Christoph Waltz and his circumventing speech while accepting the globe for the best supporting actor in a motion picture for his part in Inglorious Basterds.
However, the most impression speech of the night was Martin Scorsese’s for his Cecil B. DeMille award. Flanked by Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro, Scorsese seemed humbled, happy, and articulate in his passion for film preservation. Although there are surely many of his predecessors, filmmakers who influenced him who deserve this award, it’s hard to deny his significance in the modern age of cinema. Yet although he was eloquent, the next director up on stage was not. James Cameron’s best director acceptance speech for Avatar was the underwhelming moment of the night. Not only did he tell millions of viewers and the people in the room that he needed to hit the men’s room, but he proceeded to somehow remind people how brilliant he is at doing things that don’t involve public speaking.
Rounding out the television awards, was a nice fresh win in the best series (comedy or musical) category. An exuberant cast and creator accepted the globe for Fox’s newest success, Glee. Missing out on it’s acting awards, Glee‘s win was joyous, well deserving, and revived the lackluster tone of the evening. Some might view the win as a surprise, but not as much of one as the win for best film (comedy or musical) that went to The Hangover. The FPA sadly looked over the delightful (500) Days of Summer, and gave the award to a crass comedy that will only receive attention tonight.
And tonight was also all about Sandra Bullock. Winning the best actress in a motion picture (drama)for The Blind Side, Bullock was emotional and grateful for the spotlight. She beat out two British actresses and two newcomers who represented independent filmmaking, whereas Bullock’s was obviously studio funded. She’s had an amazing year and one can only hope that this pushes her career in new directions and challenges.
But. sporting the most entertaining acceptance speech of the night, Robert Downey Jr. surprising ran off with the best actor in a motion picture (comedy or musical )for his role in Sherlock Holmes. It is difficult not to like Downey Jr. as he yaps about who he doesn’t want to thank, but there is no hiding that the Hollywood Foreign Press missed a beat here. Not only were the other roles far more captivating, but the films themselves of better quality.
And quality of performance was definitely on their minds as the foreign press awarded the best actor in a motion picture (drama) to Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Thanking both his entertainment business parents, Bridges was humble enough and, of course, has begun the buzz of Oscar speculation. Falling in lie with that buzz is the win for team Avatar as they also walked away with the globe for best motion picture (drama). With an equally underwhelming speech, Cameron rounded out the night on a rather blah and brisk moment that reminded audiences of the shadow over the event and the lack of palpable enjoyment and excitement.
And as the award season continues, it will be a fascinating time to watch this business be self-conscious and self-aware of it’s role in our modern society. So stay tuned…
September 21, 2009
The 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (2009). Host: Neil Patrick Harris.
It was an evening of toasting and awarding the best and brightest in primetime television, hope you tuned in, but if not here’s the rundown.
Apparently, the way to be a good host is to sing. And sing it LOUD. Whether it’s Hugh or Billy at the Oscars or anyone who hosts the Tony awards, the singing opening monologue is a sure crowd pleasure and a classy way to start the evening. That being said, Harris’ was nothing but class and smooth sailing, but wasn’t anything particularly memorable. And although being joyous and lightly clever throughout the evening, Harris was just merely enjoyable.
The Emmy’s design also took a similar approach to this past Oscars in March, by explaining the mechanics behind a part of the industry. Like the Oscars breakdown of the production process, the Emmy’s and Harris took a tour of the night’s stage, pointing out the parts of the show and the inclusion of the media/production room on stage. Even after each commercial break was over there were split screens of in the moment production shots of the evenings festivities. This marks new media’s continuous attempts to break down and reveal the mechanics behind the industry. Something the Tony’s shy away from as theater rather attempts to keep it all behind the curtain.
The evening was split up into 5 genres: comedy, reality, movie/mini-series, variety, and drama while saving the big series awards until the end. Instead of the usual flow of the evening, this division actually provided easy bookmarks for the show and allowed the night to move smoothly. These bookmarks and their introductions also gave more for Harris to do amidst his introductions of award presenters. With his gag of introducing people, mostly actors, using obscure and unknown jobs/performances they did, never getting old. What also does not get old is Ricky Gervais. Witty and wry as ever, his presentation begs the question, why hasn’t he hosted an award show yet?
The night’s winners held only a few surprises. Right out of the park Miss Kristen Chenoweth won for Pushing Daises, a show previously on the Emmy radar, but canceled by the ABC network. Also, Toni Collette’s win for HBO’s The United States of Tara, a show that was straining to be picked up, was a surprise despite her apparently being prepared with a “piece of paper.” Mostly it was also just nice to see Tina Fey not win for NBC’s 30 Rock. And although Alec Baldwin walked away with another award, it was just simply refreshing to see the awards passed around in comedy. However, both reality and variety genres stayed true to previous winners with the movie/miniseries category honoring some newbies.
It was also significant and refreshing to see some women receive awards for other than acting. However, they were predominately British or Irish women, most notably four women representing the BBC project Little Dorrit based on Charles Dickens novel of the same name. This is wonderful and illustrates how television can and should cross borders, cultures, and provide opportunities without sacrificing creativity and identity. Creativity that is more poignant each year with the “In Memorandum” section. Sarah McLaughlin lent her haunting vocals to the standard slide-show and was able to provide such atmosphere rather than distraction as everyone was reminded of the shortness of life and who has been lost both personally and creatively.
Speaking of Lost, Micheal Emerson’s supporting role win for the ABC hit was much deserved and will satiate fans like Cherry Jones’ win will for Fox’s 24. And with Glenn Close (FX’s Damages) and Bryan Cranston (AMC’s Breaking Bad) wins for best actress/actor in a drama, the evening was full of repeats. And what better repeat than 30 Rock and Mad Men for best comedy and drama, proving that good television can sustain interest and appeal. So although this didn’t make for an nail biting end of the evening for the television watchers, it certainly was a reinforcing one for those in the industry.
And as award show season officially kicks off and films start vying for nominations, be thankful that television will quietly continue for the rest of the year!