E: In the words of an old family favorite commercial, I am bored today. I am filled with boredom.
I am bored, and the nominations haven’t even come out yet! Yes, I am easily bored. I hate it when the winners are all decided this early. I like figuring out puzzles, and this year’s acting races, my friends, are ceasing to be a puzzle.
You guessed it – last weekend’s Golden Globe winners have all won again.
Leaving aside whether Mo’Nique, Christoph Waltz, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock deserve all the accolades they’re receiving, there’s little that can freeze the fun out of an awards season like every group picking the same four people over and over again. Sigh. It’s not usually quite this static. I still cringe when I think of Renee Zellweger giving the same speech at the Golden Globes, SAG, the BAFTAs and Oscar. Her little fingers-over-the-mouth modest thing was so charming the first time, but ah, so not by the fourth. This is starting to bring me back to 2004, when a fantasy epic topped the box office and won Oscar’s biggest prize, and the four acting winners (Charlize Theron, Zellwegger, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins) remained the same at every blasted awards ceremony. If I hadn’t been emotionally invested in The Return of the King, I’d have hated that awards season. I really enjoyed Avatar, but it’s not in the same league as ROTK. On the other hand, I’ll bet that AMPAS would salivate over a repeat of 2004, the last year they got good ratings.
So, erm. The show itself. Dapper little Waltz made a studied effort not to give the same speech; last week, it was constellations, and this week it was about acting for the projectionist (or, the difference between the screen and the stage). Bridges, who seems to be tremendously popular, got a standing ovation and was genially forgettable. Thinking about him makes me want to see Star Man again – isn’t that such a good movie? Sandra Bullock was funny (“if only the show were not televized, so that I could say the appropriate words for what I’m feeling right now”) in a slim black gown with blue embellishments, and most moving (yet still funny) when she talks about her husband. She got a standing o, too. Mo’Nique was queenly, powerful and dignified, practically vibrating with righteousness. Not to mention pretty stunning in a super flattering pale gown with blinged out sleeves.
Oddly enough, the most enjoyable moment came from the lifetime achievement award – and yes, I was expecting to forward through that, too, but Betty White is a pretty funny lady. And who knew she starred in 4 different shows called The Betty White Show? What a bizarre and fascinating tidbit. And I was totally surprised to learn she could sing. I was still more surprised to like the generally useless comedy clip show, and not just because it was introduced by a resplendent Jane Lynch. They highlighted a few family favorite moments: the classic vessel with the pestle sequence, the ending of Some Like it Hot, Marisa Tomei’s biological clock, and Cher trying to slap the love out of Nicholas Cage (“snap out of it!”). Carey Mulligan did get a brief moment – as she introduced An Education – to endear herself to Academy members. The traditional “I’m an actor” opening featured some funny bits by Eddie Falco and some guy from Curb Your Enthusiasm who checked his IMDB star meter on his blackberry. Kira Sedgewick and Christina Applegate showed off some pretty stunning fashion, and Kira got to watch her husband win his first big award. Juliana Margulies continued to gather some love for The Good Wife. Diane Kruger, who clearly has no fear of color, wore mustard gold instead of hot pink. This time I know better than to mock Michael C. Hall’s cancer head wrap (though I still think a shaved head would go better with the tuxedo). And Glee won again. Nice.
Usually the SAG show airs a lot closer to the Oscar. I don’t know what they were thinking, scheduling the show this far back. I don’t really know what next month’s award show drought will do to the current line up – all we have left is the BAFTAs in terms of acting. For Best Picture, we’ll get the DGA and PGA awards, which could solidify the murky situation for Best Picture. Avatar wasn’t nominated by SAG (and unsurprisingly so, since most of its performances were motion capture), so this doesn’t say anything much its chances. It was a knock down for Up in the Air, which wasn’t nominated for best cast either despite having the most individual acting nominees, and The Hurt Locker, which was bested by Inglourious Basterds. We have favorites going on from here, but we also have a long time for Oscar either to just anoint them and forget about it, or for underdogs to launch a Marion Cotillard-style charm offensive. This is the point where the seemingly inevitable Saving Private Ryan silently gave way to Shakespeare in Love. Can it happen? There’s lots of time. This week’s Massachusetts Senate election proves just how quickly momentum can shift – but will it? Eh. In the awards season, I’m all about surprises. There’s no sign of that this morning.