Monday, February 26, 2007

Shadow Puppets and Tired Schtick

No one would believe me this morning when I tried to tell them about last night's Academy Award ceremony. They could buy that Ellen DeGeneres didn't come within a hundred miles of Funny; tripping over her own words and telling the same tired jokes throughout the show. They weren't incredulous when I mentioned that the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture awards were still MIA three hours after the show began. The thing that made jaws drop and heads shake in disbelief was the shadow puppet section. Worse than those Debbie Allen "musical interpretation" abominations, the shadow renditions of some of the films from the past year were questionable and embarassing.

My favorite parts of the Oscars are the montages. Even those left a lot to be desired last night, especially the one I was anticipating the most: the honorary Oscar for film composer Ennio Morricone. Rather than looking at the incredible breadth and depth of his work the montage seemed to be created under the restriction to focus almost solely on his previously nominated scores. While I love the work he did for THE UNTOUCHABLES and THE MISSION, there were quite a number of films mysteriously absent from the proceedings especially my favorite Morricone work, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (see below). And, personally, his work on LE CASSE, BATTLE FOR ALGIERS, or THE THING are much more memorable than the score for BUGSY.

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