Archive for February 2009

The Goddess Watches the Oscars
(so you don’t have to)

I have several holes in my Oscar-movie viewing this year, the biggest of which is Milk, but Mr. Goddess and I have gamely filled out our ballots regardless, and are sitting here live from our perch in Goddess Attic Central — bottle of shiraz at the ready — for the 81st Academy Awards.

7:20 — I think Ryan Seacrest is wearing more make-up than Evan Rachel Wood. He’s attempting to interview the kids from Slumdog Millionaire, holds up a card listing their names because he can’t pronounce them, and slams an eight-year-old for not speaking English. Classy. Mute button, please!

8:05 — I’ve avoided the Seacrest Fest over on E! and have limited my pre-game viewing to ABC, where the absolutely lovely Tim Gunn is working the red carpet. Seacrest, I hope you’re taking notes. 

8:25 — Tim Gunn begins every question with, “I have to ask you … ” But I still love him.

8:30 – They keep saying that this Oscar telecast will be “like no other.” That the awards presentations themselves will “tell a story.” Whatever. I’m just hoping for some tight acceptance speeches and a 11:30 bedtime. 

8:40 — “From a Slumdog with nothing, I’ve Milk-ed my Button, I’ve Frost-ed my Nixon …” OK, Hugh Jackman kicks some major ass. “Color me impressed,” says the not-easily-impressed Mr. Goddess. 

8:43 –OK, so … wow! The award for Best Supporting Actress is presented by five past winners, who each make personal remarks to the nominees, in place of clips from the films. This “ceremony like no other” had me at hello. I’m loving this! 

8:48 — And the winner is Penelope Cruz. Apparently the winners only have 45 seconds for their speeches, and Cruz makes a nice one, in two languages.

8:52 — The screenplay awards are presented by Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Fantastic! The winner is Milk, and we’re now both two for two. Dustin Lance Black gives an amazing speech:

If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what everyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.

9:01 — Moving on to Best Adapted Screenplay, the award goes to Slumdog Millionaire. Mr. Goddess and I are still in lock step, now at three for three. By the way, Tina Fey for Oscar Host, 2010! 

9:02 –And here are Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black. Interesting pairing. Unfortunately, the “2008 Movie Yearbook” they’re introducing strikes the first clunker of the evening, with an old school Oscar montage. Everything until this point has been watchable; this is disposable. At least Black and Aniston go on to present the award for Best Animated Feature. The Oscar goes to Wall-E. That brings our tally to four for four.

9:10 — “Domo arrigato, Mr. Roboto!” Even the non-English speaking award winners are giving kick-ass acceptance speeches, this one for Best Animated Short. Mr. Goddess and I both went with the “vote for the only one we’ve seen” strategy on this one and picked Presto, for our first loss up in the attic. 

9:15 – Out to present the award for Art Direction are Sarah Jessica Parker and Daniel “Yummy with a Spoon” Craig. And the winner is Benjamin Button. And we’re still in lockstep, with another double win. 

9:19 – Moving on, The Duchess takes home the award for Most — I mean, Best — Costume Design. Mr. Goddess and I stay locked at six-out-of-seven. 

9:22 — For makeup, the winner is Benjamin Button. Make that seven-out-of-eight. 

9:25 — The vampire from Twilight and the young woman from Mama Mia add some youth appeal to the proceedings while introducing another boring yearbook montage about romance. Everything is awesome so far, except for these decidedly old-school clip-fests. 

9:31 — Moving on from pre-production to filming with Best Cinematography, presented by Ben Stiller and Natalie Portman. Stiller is wearing his best  Joaquin Phoenix beard and unfocused expression, which leads me to believe that the whole Phoenix “I’m retiring from acting to become a rapper” goof is some kind of elaborate Andy Kaufmann-esque performance piece. Stiller’s shenanigans aside, the winner is Slumdog, bringing our mutual tally up to eight out of nine (we do have some difference in the bigger awards, I promise). 

9:40 – Jessica Biel wore her best bath towel to the Oscars to present the technical awards. 

9:42 — The montage for comedy is actually funny, thanks to James Franco, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and Seth Rogan. The whole gang is out to present Best Live Action Short. Another double loss, since both Mr. Goddess and I couldn’t bring ourselves to vote for yet another Holocaust film. But the Holocaust will not be denied. ”I spent four years of my life on this 14-minute movie,” says the director. So any joke I may make here at his expense would be absolutely pointless. 

9:52 — Yea!  More Jackman dancing, this time in a salute to musicals. The musical is back! I love musicals!

10:03 — Time for Best Supporting Actor. Rochester’s Own Philip Seymour Hoffman is wearing a knit cap at the Oscars. He must always think it’s snowing. The Oscar goes to Heath Ledger. His parents and sister accept the award and there is not a dry eye in the house. 

10:12 — The Best Supporting Actor award brought our tied score up to  nine out of eleven, and with Best Documentary Feature, we have our first split vote of the night. Bill Maher is out to present the award, and the winner is Man on Wire! Yes, I’ve taken the lead, 10 Oscars to nine. Hey, the French high-wire artist from the film makes a coin disappear and balances the Oscar statue on his chin. Now that’s entertainment!

10:17 – On to Best Documentary Short Subject. And the upset win goes to Smile Pinki, and the director is wearing a killer dress. I love it  when the documentarians rock the fashion. (So far, my only misses have been in all three shorts categories.)

10:22 — The montage devoted to post-production is heavy on the car chases and comic book heros. 

10:26 – Will Smith, himself a visual effect, presents Best Visual Effects. The winner is Benjamin Button, for another double win (and the third win for the Button Boys). I’m still in the lead, 11 wins to 10.

10:30 – So, The Dark Knight wins Sound Editing and Slumdog wins Sound Mixing. Could someone now please tell me the difference between the two? We both get Editing and both miss Mixing, and the score now stands at 12-11.

10:35 – Will Smith is still out to present Film Editing. And the winner is Slumdog Millionaire. Make that 13-12.

10:41 – What’s Eddie Murphy doing here? Oh, he’s presenting the humanitarian award to Jerry Lewis, the man whose “Nutty Professor” character he stole.  The Jerry Lewis telethon was required viewing in my house when I was a kid, and Lewis gives a gracious — and short — acceptance speech.

10:50 — The Best Score medley is really lovely. Honestly, there is nothing I am not liking so far about this show. The winner is Slumdog, for another two-fer at 14-13.

10:55 — The guy who just won for Best Score is out singing ”O Saya,” the first on the Best Original Song medley (Springsteen was robbed!) And the Oscar goes to … that same guy, but for “Jai Ho.” He mentions love a lot, and it seems to be working for him. Make the score 15-14.

11:05 — Liam Neeson and Frida Pinto present the award for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Oscar goes to — whoa, from out of nowhere — Japan with Departure. I had gone with the French film The Class, and Mr. Goddess with the Israeli film Waltzing with Bashir.

11:09 — 20 minutes and four awards left. By george, they may just pull this off! 

11:14 – Even the Death Reel is better this year, with Queen Latifa singing a tribute to those the industry has lost. 

11:18 — Reese Witherspoon presents the award for Best Director. And the winner is Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, bringing our score to 16-15. Danny Boyle actually thanks the producer of the tonight’s telecast! I don’t think that’s ever happened before. 

11:27 – Now five former best actress winners our out to present the award for Best Actress. As the personal tributes to their greatness roll in, every nominee is reduced to a puddle before she even makes it to the stage. And the winner is Kate Winslet. Mr. Goddess informs me that Kate Winslet is what is known on the other side of the pond as “Jolly Hockeysticks.” I think that’s a good thing, but I’m not sure.

11:36 — Next up is Best Actor and this is the last split decision in the Goddess Attic. Mr. Goddess went for Sean Penn, and I went for Mickey Rourke. And the winner is … Sean Penn! Well, knock me over with a feather boa! We’re tied at 16 all. 

11:47 — Steven Speilberg presents the award for Best Picture. And the winner is Slumdog Millionaire. The entire population of Mumbai joins the overflowing producer up on the stage, and here in the Goddess Attic, we celebrate our first ever Oscars poll tie. 

11:55 – Twenty-five minutes over time, but who the hell cares?! What a great show. Goodnight, Hollywood!


Quote of the Week

Why can’t America be exactly like America, but with decent health care and maternity leave?! Then it would be, like, a normal country!

– Mr. Goddess, cogently analyzing America’s health care crisis.

Barack TV

Obama on TV networksPresident Obama was on all three broadcast channels and the cable news networks yesterday. I think I spotted him on Animal Planet discussing White House puppy options and the Food Network sharing his favorite omelette recipes.

What was supposed to be a full-throated defense of the economic stimulus package turned into a mea culpa marathon, as President Obama admitted to one network anchor after another that he “screwed up” in pushing ahead with Tom Daschle’s nomination for Health and Human Services secretary despite Daschle’s unpaid income taxes.

So by my calculations, President Obama has already used the M-word — “mistake” — five times in his two weeks as president, compared with his predecessor, who didn’t use it once in his eight. So far, I think I’ll take Obama’s mistakes over Bush’s “successes” any day.


The Goddess Watches the Superbowl
(so you don’t have to)

The neighbors down the street are Steeler fans and I’d hoped to have an intra-Pennsylvania smackdown come Superbowl Sunday. But since the Eagles were pecked to death by the Cardinals in the NFC Championship, I’m just rooting for one thing: a good game. And some funny ads. And some tasty wings. And a kick-ass halftime show. Just four things. 

6:10 — Our hosts have put on an impressive spread, if you look past the yellow and black tablecloth, balloons, napkins, plates, and plastic forks. 

6:18 — Pre-game is in full swing. Sully and the crew from the flight that landed in the Hudson River are followed by singer Jennifer Hudson. It’s a good thing they didn’t crash into a Faith Hill.

6:22 — Whoa, there’s a GI JOE movie coming out?! Starring Christopher Eccleston?!!?  Superbowl ads are fun and educational!

6:38 — Pittsburgh marches down the field for a too-easy touchdown. Please don’t let this be a blowout.

6:39 — Nope, spoke too soon. Touchdown’s called back and Steelers settle for a field goal.

6:42 – First ad after the kickoff is for Bud Light (as usual)  and (as usual) it’s not very funny. Throwing an office worker out the window for suggesting that they stop having beer at every meeting?  Is that supposed to be down with the recessionary zeitgeist?

7:10 — A sad set of downs for the Cardinals, followed by another too-easy Steelers touchdown. Someone should wake up the Cardinals defense; they’re missing a heck of a game. 

7:36 — The talking baby from eTrade now has a friend. Babies acting like adults creep me out. And if there is anything creepier than a talking baby it’s two talking babies. 

7:52 — Pittsburgh’s James Harrison intercepts the ball in the end zone and runs it back 100 yards, sliding into the endzone on his neck for the touchdown. I think he might be dead.

7:54 — Nope, he’s fine; sucking down oxygen on the sidelines. 

8:00 — There were 3-D ads? Who knew? Those of us without the special glasses just saw a whole lot of blurry. I hope the Sobe Water people feel this experience was worth the $12 million.

8:10 — Bruce Springsteen power slides across the stage and smashes his crotch into America’s living rooms. Where are the 3-D glasses when you need them?

8:11 — I lose my first $1 bet of the night. I went with “The Rising” as the first Springsteen song.

8:19 — Second half. Transitioning from wings and beer to cupcakes and wine. I haven’t had a cupcake in years.

8:25 – Greg bets $1 he can pick three black M&Ms out of the yellow and black M&M bowl with his eyes closed. He scores!

8:57 — In other news, after a field goal the Steelers are up 20-7.

8:59 — ad elicits the loudest laughter of the night from all assembled. There is just something unambiguously funny about punching a koala in the face.

9:25 — Big Ben gets sacked, Steelers punt, Warner slings a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. It’s now 20-14 Steelers, and the Cardinals have some life in them yet.

9:40 — Greg picks up another $2 for betting there would be a safety during the game. Now it’s 20-16 Steelers.

9:50 — We’ve hit the local ads, and a Rochester pizza joint airs several featuring a grown man wearing nothing but a diaper and a knit cap. I’m not sure why, but I am sure that I no longer wish to eat their pizza. 

9:58 – Whoa! Another Warner-to-Fitzgerald touchdown reception, and the Cardinals take the lead with less than three minutes to go. Our hostess, who has decorated her mantle with pictures of herself at the age of two wearing a Steelers jersey, is now swearing at the television.

10:00 — Greg wins another $1 for betting that we’d see a woman in a bra during the second half. are always there when you need them.

10:03 — With 35 seconds left, Steelers score on a tippy-toe catch from 40 yards out. 

10:10 — Two plays, two timeouts, then the Cardinals fumble the ball. It’s over. Steelers FTW!