Monday, March 06, 2006


UPDATE 3/7/06 9:30 a.m. I finally got around to checking in with some of my own thoughts on Sunday's Oscar show late last night (early this morning). They are posted below in the Comments section, but in case your scrolling finger hasn't yet loosened up today, here's just a sample:

"What a surprise, eh, that when (Jon) Stewart delivers exactly the kind of humor he's well known for, and he turns out not to be a gently ribbing industry suck-up like Billy Crystal, these writers (who dubbed the host's performance a failure), undoubtedly reflecting the attitudes of members of the Hollywood establishment who may have felt their toes getting stepped on by Stewart's refusal to buy into the Academy's inflated sense of itself, should step up and defend the poor, defenseless, yet still august institution against such crass bullying."

There's more below, plus plenty of room for you to check in and leave more of your own thoughts, before the heady sensation of Oscar Night drifts away entirely, as it always does. I loook forward to hearing more of what you have to say!


Well, the sun has risen. The world did not end. Brokeback Mountain and Crash and Good Night, and Good Luck and Munich and Capote and every other nominee are exactly the same movies they were when they were released-- and two seconds before the winners were announced-- as they are right now, in the afterglow (or in the smoking ruins, depending on your perspective) of Oscar Night 2005. Since I’m not able to sit down and write anything until later this evening, I’d just like to turn SLIFR into an Open Oscar Forum today and let you check in with your thoughts on the evening’s proceedings? Did you think Jon Stewart did a good job? What was the best thing about the awards? The worst? How about those fake political ads? Who looked the most embarrassed? Would Lauren Bacall be justified in kicking the TelePrompter operator in the balls? Were you as surprised by Crash’s win as the woman in the orange dress seated next to Paul Haggis? And speaking of dresses, was there anyone who looked as good as Jennifer Garner or Salma Hayek or Keira Knightley did last night? Did anyone look as overly bronzed and from another planet as Jennifer Lopez? Should we just concede now that George Clooney is as close to an old-fashioned movie star as this generation is ever likely to see? Finally, do you feel, as Blaaagh exclaimed when he called me immediately after Robert Altman’s speech, that the director’s moment, complete with introduction by the brilliantly overlapping collision between Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep, was perhaps the finest moment in Oscar history? (I do.) Let’s hear it.

(I’ve transferred a couple of comments that were left under another post to kind of kick-start the proceedings.)


Anonymous said...

Dennis please console me, I'm mortified.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm in need of consoling, too...CRASH? You were right! It's funny to read the news reports this morning about how "everyone" was astonished at the best picture upset, when everyone knew BROKEBACK was going to win; by the time the awards were actually on, I'd pretty much figured The Great Dennis's prediction was going to come true. Still, it's a drag.

Then again, The Chronicle ran a story this morning about parties in SF where people were dressed in glittery cowboy hats, and were outraged and crying that BROKEBACK didn't win--which makes it all seem pretty silly. You don't see me crying because THE NEW WORLD was utterly overlooked, do you?!

Edward Copeland said...

I thought Jon Stewart did well. He started out shaky, but he gained as the night wore on. I think all the media bashing of his performance is just their inclination to tear down someone they built up.

As for the winners, I don't carry the bile that so many do toward Crash, but I really didn't have much of a rooting interest this year in anything, so I didn't react much one way or the other.

The 'Stache said...

Dennis — The whole Altman blog-a-thon left me in a surprisingly sanguine, upbeat mood. I basically came to this year's Oscars caring more about Altman and not giving a damn who won or who lost. The Tomlin-Streep intro was brilliant and Bob was gracious, which, when you come to think of it, may be the most perverse Altmanesque touch of all, considering how so many of us were expecting him to breath dragon's fire at the Academy. (And how about that heart transplant bomb? Wasn't expecting that. But I did sense that he got a real meaningful ovation from the crowd, it lasted longer than just the polite, rote ones. Maybe they looked at his montage, thought of theirs, and had a flickering moment of self-awareness.)

It's too early to tell if the Best Picture outcome was a debacle or not, because it's too soon to tell if anybody will remember any of these movies in 5-10 years. Does anybody even talk about last year's winner, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, anymore? I suspect GOOD NIGHT, CAPOTE and MUNICH will fare the best, but that's just my opinion.

I thought Jon Stewart was a little stiff at first, but loosened up and the film clips were marvelous. I'd invite him back, but the gossip around my office is he won't make a second trip. Who knows?

More than anything, the entire night was an insufferble reminder of Hollywood's bloated sense of self-importance. Do these people have any idea how they come off? Tossing about words like 'brave,' 'courageous,' and a bunch of hammer and mirror metaphors. Lordy. Thank God for Larry McMurtry, sagacious and a hell of a lot smarter than Diana Ossana (who had the ego line of the night calling McMurtry just her "writing partner?" Please, he's the only reason you're anybody! I was glad to see her lose the big prize). Rachel Weisz also had the good sense to know that her character's job was a lot more important than hers. Also, during the pre-show, I was struck by the poise of Keira Knightley. Why are British actors so much more refined than their boorish American counterparts? With the exception of the person I'm about to mention, you get the sense that most of these actors are, in George Clooney's inimitable phrase from O BROTHER, dumber than a bag of hammers. They can't even give a simple speech without tears or histrionics or nerves. Aren't these people paid to perform for a living? Clearly, without scripted dialogue and a director, they're basket cases.

Clooney is the exception. I continue to admire his off-the-cuff wittiness, for knowing how to keep it short and sweet and for having some sense of what to say. And for having some sense of proportion. And for defending his ground. He's a pro, and may be the new Warren Beatty, if we're lucky. And I actually felt a brief moment of sorrow for Russell Crowe. He's the best actor in mainstream movies today, probably, and clearly smart and serious. Too bad he can't get his personal act together. But who knows, if I had to hang around with most of those people, I might throw a phone, too.

Stewart had the most telling line of the night with the joke about Scorsese and Three 6 Mafia. Or the idea that none of our country's social ills were solved by a Hollywood movie. He cut so close to the hypocrisy of Hollywood and the Oscars that he may never be invited back.

Anonymous said...

I thought Jon Stewart was just right as host: witty and slightly mocking, but competent and presentable. I guess he was a little awkward at first, but that kind of made me like him better. And yeah, the thing about "And none of those issues were ever a problem again" after the montage of "issue" films was brilliant.

Clooney's speech put me in a good mood at the beginning, starting with his "so I'm not winning director", stating exactly what I was thinking, to his smart and eloquent conclusion about why he's proud to be part of the Academy (a topic almost anybody else would've earned groans with).

Salma can she be so impossibly beautiful? Jennifer Garner's mighty cute, too...Jessica Alba looked a little too scrawny, and she's usually just right...I thought Jennifer Lopez looked awesome, until I noticed how severe her hair was...and was it her own mispronunciation of the name "Kathleen" that turned it into "Kath-a-leen"? Whatever...I didn't mind the giant flower blooming off Charlize Theron's shoulder, as everyone else seems to have. I dunno, maybe I was just undiscriminating: I thought Meryl Streep looked kind of hot in her dress, too...I did draw the line at Lauren Bacall, at least, though I did feel sorry for her for her Teleprompter woes, and I can imagine the tongue lashing (or ball kicking) she gave somebody afterward. Oh, and how could I forget Naomi Watts?! And her charming comment about always having admired Dolly Parton.

I think they should stop playing music under everyone's speeches--it's annoying! And why can't people who win an award as a group decide in advance how much time each of them get? I hate seeing one winner hog the small amount of speech time, while his colleagues wait to say a few words, and usually get cut off!

I thought Jake Gyllenhall looked pouty when he had to give an award after losing the Best Supporting Actor award. Probably just my imagination.

I couldn't agree more with TLRHB about British actors knowing how to behave. I don't really mind when American actors get teary-eyed during a speech, though--as long as they don't bring a folded-up piece of paper, like scrawny Jennifer Connelly did a few years ago. And that's enough out of me.

Anonymous said...

With Oscars to Eminem and Three 6 Mafia, I guess hip hop and rap are now the official song formats for Hollywood. Too bad the squares were in charge when there was some pretty good original rock music in films of the Sixties and early Seventies. The Scorsese joke was a variation of one that I saw in "Entertainment Weekly" when Slim Shady won, by the way.

I ran out of the room when Dolly Parton appeared. Great voice, but she looked like a wax dummy.

David Lowery said...

The Altman award was the reason I tuned in (and I'm glad I did - it was a landmark moment) but I really enjoyed the show, for the most part. Mainly because of Stewart, who I thought acquitted himself quite well (I missed the first half hour, and with it, I suppose, all that awkwardness).

The quality of songs this year was so underwhelming that 3 6 Mafia was guaranteed a win - and theirs certainly were the best of the bunch. Eminem's win a few years ago was deserved, as well, in comparison to what he was up against. It's like the Oscars are setting themselves up for street cred; once people stop batting an eye at the inclusion of hip hop, we'll know the Academy has made some progress.

Anonymous said...

Last night’s Academy Awards will go down as one in which history the Academy made some of the worst choices ever -- Crash for Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain for Best Original Score and It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp for Best Song. While I was not surprised by the wins for Crash and Pimp, the aforementioned Brokeback win marked the only time in the evening when I found myself screaming at the television in disgust. What the F*** where they thinking? When you compare the incomplete and minimalist guitar chords that masquerade as a score to the lush orchestrations and intricate melodies of the other nominated scores, one has to wonder yet again what the Academy members were smoking when they completed their ballots. Truly a travesty.

On the other hand, while I don’t like the song, I get why Pimp won. It was the only song of the three that were nominated that was truly a part of the film. The scene in which they’re recording it is really entertaining. So in the context of the film, it’s kind of a no brainer. But outside the film, not so much. I really thought (and hoped ) that “In the Deep” from Crash would take home the little gold guy.

What to say about Crash’s win? For me, it was the least worthy of all five of the Best Picture nominees. I can think of a number of films -- The Constant Gardener, Pride & Prejudice, Syriana and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire among them – that deserved a place on that list before Crash. I know that in years to come this win will be a viewed as a real head-scratcher.

I loved Jon Stewart last night. That said, I don’t think I’ll soon be able to forgive him for being in bed with George Clooney before me!  Loved the parody ads, loved his one-liners, just loved him.

Finally, words cannot describe how happy I am that my guy George took home an Oscar last night (he should have won all three for which he was nominated, but I digress). His speech was excellent – speech of the night, IMO. Well done, George! And for once last night, the Academy got something right.

Roscoe said...

I have to disagree with Sharon and Brokeback's score. I dont know about the music technically but its been a while since the music in a movie has so completely set me in the mood of the movie.

I think Paul Haggis said it best about his movie, he said something along the lines that art is not a mirror for society, it is a hammer in which you use to carve it out with. Its the very thing that is wrong with his movie because art is not a hammer, it is indeed a mirror.

Haggis ignores what is real and only see's what he wants to see.

It really is a travesty not only that Brokeback didnt win but the fact that Crash did because i feel its further evidence that this country still carries its commitment to ignorance philosophy.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Okay, first: Kevin Roderick at L.A. Observed reported Monday morning that the first reviews of the Oscars and Jon Stewart were not good. What a surprise, eh, that when Stewart delivers exactly the kind of humor he's well known for, and who turns out not to be a gently ribbing industry suck-up like Billy Crystal, these writers, undoubtedly reflecting the attitudes of members of the Hollywood establishment who may have felt their toes getting stepped on by Stewart's refusal to buy into the Academy's inflated sense of itself, should step up and defend the poor, defenseless, yet still august institution against such crass bullying.

Roderick points to Tom Shales, who bemoans Stewart's "smug humorlessness" (Whaaaaat?); Nikki Finke, who claims that Stewart bombed (maybe with the nervous crowd inside the Kodak Theater-- Academy Award attendees have never taken to having their balloons of self-seriousness pricked, no matter who does the pricking-- but the general word around our house and my office today was that Stewart was perhaps a little nervous at first, but eventually built up a nice head of steam); and Defamer who, not without a bit of the kind of overstatement Oscar so obviously loves, claims simply "Worst Oscars Ever!" (Roderick provides the links to these columns and more, should you care to follow them.)

I agree with you, Edward. My feeling is that Stewart found a nice balance between gentle irreverence and more pointed commentary. Could the Crash upset have been more clearly telegraphed by that montage of clips highlighting Hollywood's social conscience? Yet Stewart found a way to deflate the self-importance of the moment without resorting to making the very attempt to create such work seem naive or misguided: "And none of those issues were ever a problem again!"

Did anyone else feel like Oscar winner Diana Ossana, who referred to Larry McMurtry simply as "my writing partner," was barely able to keep her condescension for the whole affair in check, even as she clutched her little gold man in a death grip? She was literally looking down her nose at just about everybody I saw her talk to. But maybe she's just got bad eyes. She's certainly taller than most, which would account for some of her actual stooping (and that bit of flashing she did while bending down toward a misadjusted microphone while accepting her award). At any rate, maybe I'm a clod and a philistine, but I never heard of Diana Ossana before Brokeback Mountain, yet I seem to remember a few projects that had Larry McMurtry's name stamped on them.

This obsession with bringing the show in at three hours--- which has never happened, to my knowledge-- is getting out of hand too. Why is it that those accepting an Oscar, supposedly an acknowledgment from the motion picture industry of excellence, are not allowed to reasonably relish their moment, perhaps the only one like it they'll ever get? Is this not a perversity on the part of AMPAS Clock Nazi Gilbert Cates? It's absolutely maddening to see Ben Stiller come out and waste four minutes on an irredeemably lame bit dressed in a green leotard (a close-up of Steven Spielberg during Stiller's moment revealed his none-too-warm feelings for it), and then a few minutes later watch the second in a duo or trio of Oscar winners accepting in one of the lowly categories step up to a dead microphone as Bill Conti's pit fanfare none-too-subtly boots them in the ass.

Is it not true that if the show goes long, the network would still be able to sell ad time? They have no control over whether the movies nominated in any given year are going to be popular enough to guarantee exceptionally huge ratings anyway, so why not just stop pretending to be so damn concerned about the pace of the show? No matter what anyone does, the Oscar show is going to be perceived as a galumphing elephant-- it's absolutely too late in the storied history of the Academy Awards for that perception to change without some radical readjustment that Cates and company are probably far from willing to make.

Mr. Cates (or whoever), ditch the painful and uninspired comedy from the likes of Ben Stiller and Chicken Little (let your heavily hyped host take care of these matters) and use the time you save to allow the winners that aren't George Clooney or Reese Witherspoon to have their moment without fear of the guillotine coming down on them. No, they're probably not going to be as eloquent as either of those two stars, but in all honesty, was anyone impressed by Philip Seymour Hoffman's meandering thoughts, which were given full leeway with no concern for an orchestra bearing him away? And if you remember Nicole Kidman's acceptance speech, you'll remember just how flummoxed some Hollywood royalty can get without a script. And while we're at it, that piped-in Muzak underneath every winner's acceptance speech-- just what was the point of that? All it did for me, as a viewer at home, was make me feel uncomfortable, as if the poor schlumps with Oscar in hand were being played off from the first second they arrived at the podium.

My favorite wins: Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-rabbit, Reese Witherspoon, anything and everything for King Kong, and George Clooney-- I haven't seen Syriana, but I'm a real fan of his in general, and I like the connection he represents between modern Hollywood and the kind of movie star, like Cary Grant, that no longer exists. And he defended the Hollywood tradition of being "out of touch" with American values with an economy and elegance than made that Chuck Workman social conscience montage seem even more pompous. David, TLRHB, thanks for stopping by. I agree that the Altman Blog-a-Thon kept me in a pretty fizzy mood (albeit pretty exhausted too!) and provided a great context in which to view the show. And I really do think Blaaagh is right-- that the Tomlin-Streep introduction, coupled with Altman's gracious acceptance, added up to just about the most soaring, wonderful 15 minutes in Oscar history. And was it just me, or did it seem like the audience in the Kodak Theater took an awfully long time to pick up on exactly what Tomlin and Streep were doing? Not that there's really much of an awareness of what Robert Altman is truly about amongst the general populace of the academy, beyond M*A*S*H and Nashville, but still-- the room just seemed a little slow, once again a step or two behind the 81-year-old master who ambled out on stage and the legacy of brilliant, innovative cinema that he has created.

My least favorite win: I don't recall a year when a winning movie was talked about so heatedly in terms of how much it didn't deserve to take the Best Picture prize, but I'm certainly in line with those who think that Crash is the lamest recipient of that award in perhaps 40 years. Braveheart was a bad choice, particularly since it beat Babe, and Gandhi winning over E.T. continues to amaze and amuse even 25 years later. There was no E.T. or Babe amongst Crash's competitors this year, in terms of sheer quality, but I would have welcomed any of them, even given the relatively cool enthusiasm I felt for Capote, if they could have kept Paul Haggis and his art hammer from breaking down the door to the Academy and forcefully battering its way inside.

Crash is in the grand tradition of Gandhi and other good-for-you winners that the Academy spotlights in the name of political correctness, at the expense, of course, of actual political dexterity, subtlety or intelligence. It's a movie that's supposed to make you feel like you're better for having seen it. And what better way is there into the heart of an Academy voter than appealing to his/her self-image as a promoter of social justice and harmony? Roscoe, Blaaagh, I'm not sure there's much consolation in that, but at least there's some precedent for Oscar overlooking worthy candidates in the quest to honor movies that promote laudable points of view in the most aesthetically uninspired and unobjectionable manner.

Sharon, I didn't mind the Brokeback Mountain score or the fact that it won, but I would have been much happier had John Williams taken it home for Munich. And Peter, speaking of music, I stayed in the room when she came out, and I'll admit to wanting to cringe a little bit (more over the utter mediocrity of the song than anything), but as plastic as Dolly Parton looked I remain basically a fan of her exuberance, and even her voice, which has seen better days. But at least she had stage presence and she didn't rely on the kind of ridiculous production number that seemed to want to turn Crash, with its deadly earnest song nominee in accompaniment, into a Broadway-friendly version of Night of the Living Dead. Even the performance of the winning tune, "It's Hard to Be a Pimp," looked as though it was being staged for a revival of The Electric Company. But, Sharon, your point about it being most deserving because it was the only song nominated that was an integral part of the film, as opposed to being just an attachment to the end credits, is very well taken, whatever you think of the quality of any of the three songs. At least there's some logic attendant to its win.

Oh, yeah, and Ziyi Zhang, and Keira Knightley, and Jennifer Garner, and Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams, and Salma Hayek. Yikes! I gotta go to sleep! Who else wants to check in?

Anonymous said...

Right on about the staging of the musical numbers! As for Dolly, I think it's kind of scary what she's done with the plastic surgery, to be sure, but I too have such affection and appreciation for her that I'm still hanging in there as a fan. And yeah, her voice has lost some of its power, but it didn't sound to me like she used a backing track, and despite her unreal appearance, she still seems like good ol' Dolly. Song was pretty blah, though.

Yes, I still stand by my enthusiastic response to the Lily Tomlin/Meryl Streep act as Best Presenters EVER!--and the Altman speech as one of my favorite moments on the Oscars. Heck, even the clips were well-chosen...I think you're right, Dennis, about the general crowd at the awards not really "getting" the Streep/Tomlin act, at least right away. Still, I'm sure anybody who's pretty familiar with Altman's stuff recognized its brilliance. If I teared up at Altman's mention of his heart donor, I don't feel wrongly manipulated: it's hard to dispute the value of his giving her credit, and we all know he's no mushy sentimentalist.

Thanks, Dennis, for shedding some light for me on the press's portrayal of Stewart as a failed host; Mrs. Blaaagh and I thought he struck the perfect tone, and most people I've talked to seemed really pleased with him, too.

Oh, and I also have to respectfully submit that, though the BROKEBACK score is simple, for me it's still haunting and powerful. Then again, I'm no expert on music.

Thom McGregor said...

Having not seen most of the nominated films, I guess my favorite wins would be Rachel Weisz for Constant Gardener and Wallace and Gromit, two movies I did see. I thought John Stewart was fine. It's not his fault the entire audience seemed to be zombified by a cloud of anti-anxiety meds and stiff clothes. Judging from most of the presenters and winners, the "stars" were too plasticized and tense to make fun of themselves, much less chance busting a seam on a too-tight dress by laughing. That's why the rap group was refreshing. Just happiness and incoherent shout-outs. Kind of a relief after all that came before. And "Pimp" did deserve to win, not because it's a great song, but because it's the only one of the nominees that was an actual song. Dolly Parton may have her fans on this blog, but to me she's frightening to look at, shrill to listen to, and her song couldn't find a melody to save itself. And though Eminem's competition a few years ago may have been sort of lame (this coming from a U2 fan, who was also nominated that year), I couldn't believe it won then because it was so good and so deserving and so non-Academy-friendly. (This coming from someone NOT a fan of Eminem, rap or hip-hop). Mobb 6 or whatever they're called won't end up on my iPod, that's for sure. I haven't seen either Crash or Brokeback Mountain, but I still have a theory on why Crash won! I think the older members of the Academy got last-minute nerves about the idea of gay cowboys. I also believe the Academy Awards are built to be boring, unless something really wild happens like streaking or a winner making a strong political statement. I've always felt that you can either laugh AT the Oscars or die of boredom. At least without Billy Crystal or Whoopie Goldberg, I spent less time cringing in horror. I did think the Altman tribute was nice. I was very happy to see him look as well as he did. I'm happy for you, Dennis. And Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep did do a nice job. Not the perfect Oscar moment for me. Maybe if Altman had turned it down, questioning why the Academy never found it in themselves to give him an Oscar for his movies when they came out, that would have made it perfect.

Anonymous said...

That's the spirit, Thom! I especially like your comment about not "cringing in horror" as much due to the absence of Crystal and Goldberg. You may be right about the Brokeback upset--which by the way made the FRONT PAGE of the SF Chronicle today: an analysis of what happened! Surprisingly, it's a pretty interesting article:

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Blaaagh: Your Web address for that Chronicle article got cut off. I reduced it to a shorter version that will fit in my scrawny comments column:

I saw the headline on Green Cine Daily this morning. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, pal. Another example of my sterling computer skills! Even the little kid in YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE WE KNOW is better at cut-and-paste than I am, evidently.

Heh heh...the secret word I have to type in below is "vegee".

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thom: I thought at one point that it might be cool if Altman came on stage and let fly a blast or two at the crowd, most of whom may not really know his films, some of whom may have been active in the various troubles he's had along the way in his long and brilliant career. But the more I think about it, the more I think that would have just come off like sour grapes. The way it turned out, with Altman acknowledging the award as one for his entire career, the good (M*A*S*H), the great (Nashville, The Long Goodbye), the ignored (Brewster McCloud, Secret Honor) and the despised (Quintet, O.C. and Stiggs), was really the most inclusive, Altmanesque response, especially when he revealed that he sees his career as one long film anyway.

I'm with you on Wallace and Gromit and even Rachel Weisz, though I would have preferred to see Michelle Williams win, I think. And it was neat that Morgan Freeman got to give Weisz the award, as he costarred, along with Keanu Reeves, in her first high-profile movie, the forgettable thriller Chain Reaction, directed by Andrew (The Fugitive Davis).

And here's something I overheard at Denny's tonight that you'll think is pretty funny. An elderly couple in the booth directly behind me were discussing the Oscars:

He: I can't believe that "Pimp" song won an Academy Award. What the hell?

She: Well, what about Dolly Parton? That song was all about Jesus, you know. And transsexuals.

He: That's better than pimps!

And if Dolly Parton's song really is about Jesus and transsexuals, suddenly I'm not so sure the Academy got it right after all...

Anonymous said...,,1727312,00.html

Annie Proulx, the writer of the short story, Brokeback Mountain, absolutely bludgeons the Oscars. I don't know if I agree with everything she says, but when she talks about how Jon Stewart was too witty and too smart for the dim crowd I smiled. I agree with the SF Chronicle, Brokeback got robbed because people thought of it as the "gay love story" and not a movie about the high costs of being in the closet. I guess the fact that this movie didn't wear its theme on its sleeve, tagline, hook, naration and everywhere in between was its downfall.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Benaiah! You're back! We missed you!

And thanks for the link. I read about that yesterday and was thinking about posting something, but I've just been too busy. Yeah, I was really amazed how much Proulx let fly on the Academy and Crash. It's very unusual to hear someone in a high-profile position say what they really think. I thought Brokeback Mountain was a very good film, and I'd say I held it in roughly the same regard as I did Munich and Good Night, and Good Luck-- respect and acknowledgment of good work, but none of them were movies I felt especially passionate about. I would however, have gladly seen any of them win over Crash, even, I suppose, Capote, which I liked, but felt even less passion for. It's kind of funny seeing the headlines in the Chronicle about Brokeback vs. Crash, but it kinda shows you where people's passions really lie. I doubt there would have been a similar outcry had Crash lost to Brokeback, except maybe from Ralph Reed and James Dobson and the rest of the media watchdogs of the extreme right.

Hey, I'm finally getting the answers to the Christmas Quiz cobbled together, and there's another professor with another quiz just waiting in the wings, so I hope you're back for a while (Of course, the last thing you probably want to hear about right now are more quizzes from more professors!)

Great to hear from you!