Journal: News & Comment

Monday, March 25, 2002
# 8:44:00 AM:

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There was something slightly disturbing about the Academy Awards last night. I couldn't put my finger on it as I watched, but I think Cintra Wilson of Salon figured it out. The show was trying too hard to be Important, and instead came off as cynically self-congratulatory. I know it's always like that, but in recent years the show had been subliminally aware that it really is about trivialities in a world of much more significant things. Whoopi Goldberg didn't help much, since her attempts to be earthy and hip generally fell flat. I much preferred Steve Martin last year.

Sidney Poitier, however, blew everyone else out of the water with his command over the language in his honorary Oscar acceptance speech. He made Robert Redford's similar speech seem pedestrian, and Halle Berry's later meltdown simply embarrassing. Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller were quite funny. And after shunning the Oscars for decades, Woody Allen even showed up to tell people to make films in New York (which hardly seems necessary to suggest, even now) and to talk almost entirely about himself -- yet he was still amusing, pointed, endearing, and real. Today's digital special effects may seem like magic, but they're just amazing digital technology. What I wonder is, how does Woody do that?


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