Feature Blogs

Oscars 2007: Arkin Upsets, Seinfeld Scores & Marty Triumphs

Created on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey

 

Without further adieu, here’s my take on the 2007 Oscars…

 

ABC Radio

 

I broke with tradition this year and followed the results on the internet (instead of avoiding the news and watching the telecast at home).

 

I had a call from 612 ABC radio asking me to provide updates on the telecast during Richard Fidler’s show. I couldn’t resist. So I spent from 1pm to 3:30pm at the studio watching the web and listening to a live radio feed.

 

It was fun talking about them on the air and I hope a few people out there got the chance to listen in.

 

The Best Picture Race

 

It was the closest best picture race that I can remember. The Departed, Babel and Little Miss Sunshine went head-to-head. There can’t have been many votes between them.

The Departed was the favourite and got home. It also won best director (as expected) for Martin Scorsese. He finally has an Oscar after 5 previously unsuccessful nominations. It falls back on the old rule that whoever wins best director, wins best picture. This rule used to be bible but had been broken several times in recent years. It held true though this year.

 

Little Miss Sunshine failed to overcome the hurdle of not having a best director and best editing nomination. Babel failed to overcome the hurdle of being predominantly in a foreign language (which no best picture winner has ever been).

 

I’m glad to see The Departed win. It was my pick of the 5 nominees and it’s not often that my preference has won this prize. Some critics didn’t like it as much and others carved it up for being an inferior remake. Of all the reviews I sent out last year, the two films which generated the most positive response were The Departed and Casino Royale. Everyone I spoke to loved them.

 

The Departed may not have a hidden message but it’s a good, old fashioned action-drama that keeps you riveted. A worthy best picture winner indeed. Thank goodness that Crash is behind us.

 

Upset Winners

 

After Pan’s Labyrinth won 3 early technical awards, it appeared a shoe-in to win best foreign language film. It stated at less than 5-1 on. It was defeated by the second favourite – Germany’s The Lives Of Others which has also been very well reviewed. I can’t wait to see it. The surprise shouldn’t have been so unexpected given that the foreign language Oscar is voted on by a smaller group of Academy members (just those who attend a special screening of the 5 nominated films).

 

The big acting upset was Alan Arkin spoiling Eddie Murphy for best supporting actor. Murphy won the two big lead up awards and was tipped by most to win. A smear campaign against Murphy which pointed out that (a) he is a schmuck, (b) he’s made plenty of bad movies, and (c) he starred in Norbit, had to work against him. Well done to Alan Arkin.

 

The other shock for me was seeing Happy Feet knock off Cars. I’m a Cars supported and thought it had it in the bag after winning the Golden Globe and the Annie Award. No Annie Award winner had previously been defeated at the Oscars. That has now changed and Australian George Miller has an Oscar. He was our only local winner on the night.

 

Other Major Winners

 

I have to admit that it’s sad to see Peter O’Toole miss out for best actor. Now aged 84, I think that’s the last we’ll see of O’Toole at the Oscars. 8 times he’s been nominated for best LEADING actor and 8 times he has been defeated. His nominations include performances in Lawrence Of Arabia, The Lion In Winter and Goodbye Mr. Chips.

 

History will show that he’s the greatest Oscar loser (in terms of acting) of all time. Sadly, he’s just come up against the wrong actors and the wrong time. He’s lost to Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird (in 1963), to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (in 1965), to John Wayne in True Grit (in 1970), to Marlon Brandon in The Godfather (in 1972), to Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull (in 1981) and to Ben Kingsley in Ghandi (in 1983). A very impressive list.

 

This year, he came off second best against Forest Whitaker in The Last King Of Scotland. I’m still not convinced that Whitaker was the leading character in Scotland but the contest has been run and won.

 

Helen Mirren, who started as a 100-1 on favourite with Centrebet, won for The Queen. Her speech was great – one of the best of the night. She’s a classy lady who comes across as herself (unlike so many others from Hollywood).

 

American Idol reject, Jennifer Hudson, won best supporting actress for Dreamgirls. It was one of only 2 wins for Dreamgirls but I think it was deserved. I wasn’t a huge fan of the film but Hudson did stand out. It will be interesting to see if she goes on to a major film career from here or sticks to singing.

 

As I alluded to earlier, Martin Scorsese won for best director. Most would agree that he’s made better films but you can’t argue with the fact that he deserves an Oscar. He received a standing ovation (I think it was the only one of the night) and was typical Marty in delivering his humble acceptance speech.

 

Al Gore was up on stage to help accept the best documentary feature award for An Inconvenient Truth. The global warming issue was mentioned on several occasions during the telecast and you can see that Hollywood is trying to get the message out to the masses.

 

The Ceremony

 

As host, Ellen DeGeneres was so-so. She had a few good jokes but some fell flat. She also looked a little nervous. Steve Martin remains the best Oscars host I’ve seen. I enjoy his edgier material and would love to see him back next year.

 

The ceremony was too long but it seems like we say that every year. Some of the musical montages were great (such as the opening one which featured almost all the nominees) but others were dull (such as Michael Mann’s tribute to America). More trimming was needed. I also couldn’t understand the point of the acrobatic silhouettes. A complete waste of time.

I’m not sure how he got the invite but my favourite presenter was Jerry Seinfeld. He introduced the best documentary award and I was left in stitches. Here’s what he had to say…

 

“I notice that in theatres now they are running this announcement trying to get you to pick up the garbage from around your seat. Oh ok. Let me bring my orange jump-suit and a wooden stick with a nail in it too. Maybe I’ll work my way down the highway after the credits roll. I’m not picking nothin’ up. I’m the one that threw it down. How many different jobs do I have to do here? There is an agreed upon deal between us and movie theatre people and it is understood by every single person in this room. The deal is that you rip us off with over-priced over-sized crap that we shouldn’t be eating to begin with. In exchange for that, when I’m done with something, I open my hand. I’m not sticking my hand down in a dark hole trying to pry out three gooblers that have been soda-welded there since The Shawshank Redemption.”

 

Jerry Seinfeld is the funniest comedian I know and I hope to see him back on TV or in a movie in the near future. Ok, so he’s not a multi-dimensional comedian but I love his style of comedy. I enjoyed seeing close friend Larry David in the audience also.

 

The Contest

 

A big thanks to everyone who entered my pick the Oscars competition. The quality of entries was excellent. I managed 3 out of 5 but didn’t stand a chance.

 

Four entrants managed 4 out of 5. Amazingly, the question they got wrong differed in each case. They were:

 

Paula Kay (who got sound mixing incorrect)

Shane Donovan (who got score incorrect)

Tim Case (who got supporting actor incorrect)

Blake Dimitrijevic (who got song incorrect)

 

It came down to a tie-breaker. Both Jack Nicholson (age 69) and Diane Keaton (age 61) presented the best picture Oscar. Their average age was therefore 65.

 

The closest to the mark was Tim Case who predicted 66 (just one off). Blake Dimitrijevic becomes the competition’s closest ever loser. He tipped 63 years and so was off by just two years. Shane Donovan tipped 62 and Paula Kay tipped 53. It was very, very close.

 

Tim wins a double movie pass which I’ll be getting to him shortly. He is the 7th different winner of the competition since I kicked it off in 2001.

 

Oscar Gambling

 

As for my own predictions, I finished with 15 out of 24. I got a few upsets (Alan Arkin for example) but slipped on a few others. Ah well.

 

Gambling wise, it was another successful year. After my Film Pie newsletter last Monday night, I snuck on 3 late bets. They didn’t add much to the kitty however (with two of the bets losing). Here’s how I fared:

 

$200 on Alan Arkin for best supporting actor at $3.75 netted $750.

$50 on West Bank Story for best live action short at $4.25 netted $212.50.

$50 on Abigail Breslin for best supporting actress at $10.00 netted $0.

$100 on Peter O’Toole for best actor at $6.00 netted $0.

$100 on Babel for best picture at $3.75 netted $0.

 

Out of $500 worth of bets, my total return was $962.50. That’s a profit of $462.50 on top of the $1,000 I won at the Globes.

 

I take a lot of joy out of the Arkin win. Eddie Murphy won me $1,000 at the Globes and yet I bet against him with success at the Oscars.

 

My total award show winnings are now as follows. I’ve managed to win for six consecutive years and I’m definitely on a good run. My experience of following these damn awards has been a big help. Total profit for the 12 year period is now $3,912. Gotta be happy. Here’s the summary:

 

1996 – profit of $750 – won on Susan Saranadon

1997 – profit of $300 (cumulative profit $1,050) – won on Frances McDormand

1998 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $800)

1999 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $550)

2000 – profit of $620 (cumulative profit $1,170) – won on Kevin Spacey and Michael Caine

2001 – loss of $190 (cumulative profit $980) – won on director Steven Soderbergh

2002 – profit of $480 (cumulative profit $1,460) – won on Halle Berry

2003 – profit of $275 (cumulative profit $1,735) – won on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Adrian Brody

2004 – profit of $150 (cumulative profit $1,875) – won on Sean Penn

2005 – profit of $214 (cumulative profit $2,089) – won on Hilary Swank

2006 – profit of $350 (cumulative profit $2,439) – won on Reese Witherspoon

2007 – profit of $1,463 (cumulative profit $3,912) – won on Eddie Murphy at Globes, Alan Arkin & West Bank Story at Oscars

 

Summary

 

It’s getting pretty late so I’d better go. Without my sleep, I’ll be nice and cranky tomorrow.

 

A passable Oscar ceremony with the awards going where they should in most cases. I shouldn’t ask for much more given some of the debacles we’ve seen in year’s past. Plus, I’ve got some cash with which to pay off my new golf clubs.

 

We’ll do it all again in 12 months time. I’m already looking for the nominations. Good night!