Monday, February 28, 2005

Oscar will not be his middle name

There was talk (mostly from me) which said that if our son arrived yesterday, we might have to name him Oscar due to the Oscars. And halfway through the show, Angela turned to me and said, "Um, we've already gone through a lot of these categories. Aren't you worried?" For the uniniated: our big party of the year is an Oscar Party, where we go for lots of munchies and feature a drinking game. Before the broadcast, everyone votes for what they think will win; if you predict a category incorrectly, you drink! (And if you don't feel like drinking, there are prizes for the most correct.) But there are additional rules, establishes previously, where everyone must also drink. For example, Chuck Cox suggested drinking if Fahrenheit 9/11 or The Passion of the Christ was mentioned in a snarky context; "twice, of course, for bilateral snarkiness." Indeed, this happened with the opening monologue.

Why was Angela concerned then? Because the last rule said everyone should drink if she went into labor.

Fear not, friends and familia, she did not go into labor last night. So Oscar is not his missle name, much to everyone's relief. (Even mine.)

Despite the fact that a large number of people cancelled at the last minute from coming to the shindig (claiming such folly as the flu, homework or the oncoming blizzard that is currently hitting DC) and leaving me stranded with a ton of pinot noir, a good time was had by all (I think). Particularly kudos to 'Boom for making it down from Baltimora!

Here's the note I'd love to bring to light (and perhaps the attention of a certain Entertainment Weekly drone who occasionally reads thsi blog): as reported in Slate, an as-yet-unreported bouhaha developed over the Best Song category. And rightly so. Many of us thought it a bit unusual that the Powers That Be running the Oscars had selected Antonio Banderas to sing the nominated song from Diarios de motocicleta. This is unusual not just because, as anyone who saw the travesty that was Evita knows, Mr. Melanie Griffith is not quite the singer. It's also a bit annoying because, quite frankly, this movie is about two Argentine guys who travel across South America to discover freedom -- and Antonio is, after all, a Spaniard. Now, we all live in the Hollywood age where Néstor Serrano is playing an Arab on 24 (which is on tonight!! I can't wait!!!! sorry...) and Mexicano Gael García Bernal played Che in this very film. But still, you can't tell me that in all of Latin America, they couldn't find anyone else to sing this?

What is interesting is that Gael chose to boycott the Oscars entirely. This is particularly fascinating since, apparently, Gael was first asked to be a presenter at the Oscars -- even more so because, ironically, he was apparently supposed to present the Best Song category, which Prince eventually presented. The director, Walter Salles, was outraged at this decision as well.

The beauty of it all? The song wins -- a shoo-in, as it was the only interesting song of the bunch of losers anyway -- and, in lieu of a speech, Jorge Drexler, the Uruguayan singer-songwriter who sings the song in the actual film, sings his version. Simple, clear -- and a nice dig at the bombastic performance that was the Banderas/Santana version. To quote Dana Stevens' posting, "It was as if he were apologizing to his own song, saving it from Banderas' unctuous clutch." I wholeheartedly agree.

If you can read Spanish, and are curious, check out the article on Drexler in the Argentine journal Clarín. Personally, I had fun with the Oscars last night, as I usually do. But the changes made were admittedly questionable in taste -- and virtually all the song choices were odd. (Why not let Minnie Driver sing the song she sings in Phantom of the Opera? She is, after all, an Oscar-nominated actress, which Beyonce is not. And if we're talking quality, couldn't we have had anyone perform the gag-inducing "Accidentally in Love" besides Counting Crows? Where is U2 when you need them? Best line of the Oscar Party last night came from Sherin: "Oh my goodness, it's Robert Smith mashed up with Sideshow Bob!")

Next year's party should be quite interesting, given we'll be substituting milk for the wine for at least one attendee!


Middento said...

Admittedly, I note here that the aforementioned EW drone already knows about the debacle. I just wonder why I hadn't heard about it until after the ceremony. (Conspiracy theory!!)

J.J. said...

First off, Antonio can sing. One of the most sublime experiences I've had at the theatre was at a matinee performance of "Nine" on Broadway in August 2003. Banderas played the main character, and he certainly has the pipes and the pitch. Granted, he might not have been suitable for this song, but he can, nevertheless, sing.

And the EW drone tells me that the Drexler situation will be mentioned -- among other gaffes -- as part of the Oscar coverage in this Friday's issue...

Middento said...

Excellent! I'm so thrilled.

I forgot about Nine. Most humble apologies for maligning Mr. Banderas. But no, he wasn't right for the song, nor was the arrangement of the song itself. Of course, as Drexler says in his interview, it could have been worse. But then again, he asked for Beck.