How it’s New York: we here in the Empire State like to take a glance at the annual LA-LA Land fête.
|Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter at the 28th Academy Awards, 1956|
How it’s Irish: Oorlagh George, the Irish producer of The Shore, sporting traditional Celtic braids, showed more class than most of the others onstage that night – and all without losing her youthful exuberance or clothing. And her dad, Irish director/writer Terry George, was rightly proud of her! Don O’Neill, Irish clothing designer and dressed both Oprah Winfrey and six-months pregnant Eimear O’Kane, the producer of the Oscar-nominated Irish short film Pentecost.
Where was the glamour, the charm, and the genuine wit. Where were the glittering stars in the front row?
There were appropriately nostalgic leanings: stage performances were mostly replaced by entertaining black-and-white movie shorts (even that awful disclaimer was a film using written words and a voice over), older actors both winning (Best Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer) and simply seated in the audience were honored. Presenters Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis successfully (They practiced! See below.) enacted the silly old dropping-the-cymbls routine; two movies about silent movies ran off with most of the awards (The Artist and Hugo), and even the long career of seat-filler Carl Swaybo got honorable mention by Tom Hanks.
|By Antoine Taveneaux (Own work)|
And there were modern touches: Cirque du Soleil turned the house into a huge circus tent by flying from trapeze to catcher and back again over the heads of the astonished glitterati, there was a send-up of documentary making (Note to Downey: no amount of badgering will make Gwyneth Paltrow – or us viewers – understand your disjointed parody.), and Chris Rock delivered funny observations and barbed jokes with a laughing, deceptively nonchalant attitude. However, from the beginning of the program some things became very clear:
It is vital to cut the mike feed before a jumble of men acts like X-rated-mouthed Keystone cops (the team from Best Documentary winner, Undefeated) . And I guess we all need to see the “popular” movies like Bridesmaids, whether we want to or not, or else the bits and jokes just look weird.
Christopher Plummer and Chris Rock were genuinely funny in their own different ways. When a film made at an earlier date of Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, and David Smith receiving their special awards was shown, no one expected the next announcement to be that the winners were in the theater – and they were, in a balcony that acted like a wonderful frame for their august presences. The performers of Cirque du Soleil, fabulous troupe de tromp-l’oeil, wore business suits and evening gowns. (While the stunts were thrilling, they also seemed out of place at a celebration of movies.)
The vision of Terry and Oorlagh George running up to the stage to collect their Oscar when The Shore won for Best Short Film, accompanied by a voice-over intoning that a lot of the cast and crew were family members of the Georges’, was followed by a shot of Ciarán Hines in the movie.
Towards the end of the night, there was another commercial: the Titanic movie has been adapted to 3-D. The Titanic of course was built in Belfast, Ireland, its maiden voyage began in Southampton, England with a stop in Queenstown/Cohb, Ireland before setting out on the high seas.