The grandeur of the Oscar ceremony is well predicted, as well as an Oscar earned or an Oscar managed celebrity-chic that can be a great illusion of our time. Extravagant gowns, expensive jewelry, fantastic makeup, and all teeth smiles – this year’s glamorously floating celebrities lightly touch the red carpet with their expensive footwear, later to worship, with all Academy voters, “Slumdog”, a tear shedding rags-to-riches saga that squeezed eight Oscars, including best director and best picture. The Oscar ceremony is endangered by commercialization. In the past it used to reward talent and art. Now, it is a well established tradition, a show of its own right. Yet, repeated over eighty times, this ceremony is unlikely to turn into a routine event. It sticks to the rules of the game with all the fever of a hot entertaining event. I have watched the TV version of the ceremony, so the following are my first-hand impressions.
I would like to admit that nothing special was noticeable during the ceremony. Standout moments were Sean Penn’s calling the academy a bunch of “commie homo-loving sons of guns” and Dustin Lance Black’s address to the gay audience. Kate Winslet had proved that patience (five previous nominations) would bear fruit. Her “Titanic” never sank. Woody Allen had prepared the fifth supporting acting Oscar, this time it was Penelope whose surname means in Spanish “Saint”. The evening’s screw up was an innovative technique used while handling an annual favorite. It was a recognized failure.
The ceremony was reviewed from different angles. A big fashion trend glorified red, white, and black one-shouldered gowns. Marisa Tomei’s pale gray Versace, Kate Winslet’s Yves Saint Laurent one-shoulder slate blue and black gown, Anne Hathaway’s strapless silver beaded Armani Prove gown or Penelope Cruz’ fairy-tale white gown from Pierre Balmain were in contrast with the slum scenes from the best picture.
The Oscar ceremony, almost perfect, is over. Everything is glamorous, gorgeous, and traditionally well staged. The reporters doubt that all fuss about the best picture opened new horizons in cinematography. The Oscar ceremony is still a great event, pompous and costly. It is about fashion and success, good fun and commercialized entertainment. I wish it were more about the art of cinematography.