A few lingering Oscar curiosities

Abigail_lPoor, adorable Abigail Breslin. She was the belle of the ball on Oscar night, even though she didn’t win a trophy. So many people were rooting for her — but not her Little Miss Sunshine costar Alan Arkin, the cranky mofo. Didja hear what the Best Supporting Actor winner told Access Hollywood on the red carpet? He said he was hoping the pint-sized starlet would lose. Scandal! But, wait, wait. You know, maybe he actually had a point. Winning an Academy Award at such a young age can kill a kid’s childhood and cause all sorts of damage. Just look at Tatum O’Neal. I mean, owning one of those little gold guys isn’t as potentially problematic as, say, drug abuse, but it’s still worth considering: Maybe Abigail Breslin was better off going home empty handed.

That’s just one of the thoughts still floating through this hazy brain of mine, 37 hours after the end of the seemingly interminable big show. Here are a few more; weigh in at will:

• How does The Departed measure up against other Best Picture winners, and will it stand the test of time? I, for one, believe that it’s one of the best Best Pictures we’ve had in a while — in fact, it’s my first favorite-movie-of-the-year to win the top award since, like, The Silence of the Lambs. And this L.A. Times column makes a good case that genre flicks resonate best as the years go on.

• Ellen was great, but Jerry Seinfeld killed! Maybe he should host next year?

• Viewership for the telecast (39.9 million people) was up slightly over last year (38.9 million), probably because at least one box office hit (The Departed) was nominated this time around. Still, ratings are awfully crappy compared to several times in the past decade when 10 million or 15 million more folks tuned in (especially when blockbusters like Titanic and Return of the King were contenders). Why is this happening? Awards fatigue? The 500-channel universe? No Billy Crystal? Dare I suggest that if this weekend’s box office winner, Ghost Rider, which has already earned more dough than all but one of the Best Picture nominees, is tapped next year, then more people will watch? (It won’t happen, of course, but still.)

addCredit(“Abigail Breslin: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com”)

• Does winning an Oscar wash the stink of Caligula off Helen Mirren? How does it do for The Departed‘s screenwriter, William Monahan, who previously penned Kingdom of Heaven? Or Alan Arkin and Havana/The Rocketeer/North/The Jerky Boys?

• I know everybody loves her, but, honestly, will we ever hear fromJennifer Hudson again? Think of all the Best Supporting Actress winnerswho have all but disappeared, starting with Mercedes Ruehl.

• If you were a favorite for Best Supporting Actor and lost, would you take this awards show and shove it, like Eddie Murphy reportedly did?Actors have had unique ways of dealing with the disappointment oflosing — is it better to cry, throw a hissy fit, or just blow the wholething off?

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • Josh

    Hey watch it, I love The Rocketeer. Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t bad either (though the script was pretty bland).

  • Auriana

    What was wrong with Kingdom of Heaven? It was a well acted/done historically accurate that portrayed the Crusades well. One of my favorite movies of the past few years.
    As for The Departed. I don’t agree that it was the best movie of the year and out of those nominated I had hoped for Letters from Iwo Jima to take the win. I havn’t been happy with the last few years of Oscar winners and nominees. The last time I was excited for a winner was Return of the King. Last time I actually loved all the nominees save one (probably just because I never saw it) was 2001.

  • Marci

    Eddie Murphy’s an ass with a huge ego. I’m glad he didn’t win.

  • laura

    I think in 5 years The Departed will look silly. All the action takes place on cell phones! Those phones are going to look ancient in a few years…mark my words. BTW–how did they know EVERYTHING about Leo’s family but NOTHING about Matt Damon’s connections? Jack N. showed up at his graduation from the academy for gosh sakes! Plus, why had no one ever thought to check Matt’s cell phone for calls when they suspected a leak? Duh.

  • Noel Murray

    Last I checked, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is pretty widely respected, especially in its longer DVD version.
    No stink there.

  • paz

    You know what really bugged me about the awards? After the winners in the acting catagories finished their acceptance speeches, they practically ran off the stage leaving the presenter of the award way behind trying to catch up. What happenened to walking off together and sharing the moment? I thought it looked awkward. Maybe next year they should mention this at the nominees luncheon.

  • Sven

    1. A little of Jerry Seinfeld goes a long way. He would be no better than Ellen. If the producers want milkbone variety hosting, then go with one of them. If they want an edge (which unfortunately does not to be the case), then keep looking. John Steward did a fine job, with Chris Rock coming a close second.
    2. Hopefully Jennifer Hudson will just disappear, along with anything Dream Girls related. It was a travesty she was even nominated, let alone won.
    3. Eddie Murphy is an idiot for behaving the way did, but I expected nothing less. He has not ever been known for his maturity.
    4. I watched the whole damn show, but that does not mean I liked it. I will be back next year, but please cut it down to 3 and change.

  • Ken M

    I agree Jerry Seinfeld nailed his spot on the Oscars. I haven’t laughed out loud like that in a long time!

  • Tom

    First of all, Helen Mirren has nothing to be ashamed about with Caligula. It was almost 30 years ago. Give her a break.
    Jennifer Hudson is talented, and while i admit she’s going to have trouble finding roles as strong as Effie White, she has that incredible voice to fall back on.
    Jerry Seinfeld is too arrogant and rich for my tastes. Ditto for Eddie Murphy, one of the most joyless comedians I’ve ever seen.
    Ellen was good, but she had no bite.
    The Departed was great. Glad Babel lost.

  • Robert

    I don’t think the Departed is going to look that good after time, because when we’re talking about all time greats, then the intelligent filmgoers are going to compare it to Infernal Affairs, which is infinitely superior. The Departed doesn’t hold a candle to Infernal Affairs, but it wasn’t bad.
    It’s a shame that none of the best movies of the year, that will hold up for years from now (Children of Men, Pan’s Labryinth, The Prestige, or United 93) were nominated for Best Picture.
    Also – why rag on the Rocketeer? It was infinitely better than Babel or Dreamgirls. Plus, the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven was actually good.

  • Anonymous

    I think Eddie Murphy was upset because his buzz died as the result of voter disgust for some tasteless Norbit billboards in Hollywood. Or so I read in one or two gossipy rags. Anyway, the Oscars are a joke: if a film/actor/actress/etc. isn’t campaigning for a nomination, then it/he/she won’t get one. And voters are looking to vote for the film/actor/actress with the most buzz in most cases (“Ryan Gosling has no buzz, so what’s the point in voting for him/even watching my screener of Half Nelson?”); on rare occasions there are “upsets.” Eddie backlash gave Arkin an Oscar (Arkin probably deserved it more, yes, but Eddie didn’t deserve to be punished for Norbit).

  • Tommy G.

    If they asked me (ha! Fat chance on that one…), next year they oughta:
    1) Ask Steve Carrell to host.
    2) Get some new writers. Someone who’ll bring back the humor.
    3) No more pseudo Debbie Allen dance sequences!!!
    4) More gratuitous shots of Jack Nicholson!
    5) Start the Oscars before 8:30 PM Eastern/7:30 Central. Some of us have to get up on Monday morning, guys…

  • Sarah

    Laura,
    Didn’t you notice that Matt Damon kept changing his SIM card when he called Jack? And that Jack wasn’t actually at the graduation, he just drove around near it? I got the impression that Jack had groomed the character for a long time, to become his mole. I thought it was a fantastic genre picture, and Leonardo Dicaprio’s performance will help it age well; he was amazing and totally underrated for that movie.
    And I can only take so much Jerry Seinfeld at a time… he hasn’t changed his schtick since his show was on. Yuck. I’d love to see Conan O’Brien, but I don’t think the Academy would ‘get’ him.
    I also am skeptical about how much more we’ll hear from J-Hud. One performance does not a career make.

  • Yodlee

    She’s still young. She has plenty of chances and she really didn’t seem to mind that she didn’t win. She genuinely seemed happy to be there. Can’t wait for her next movie!

  • Stacey

    It probably wasn’t her time. Wish she had won over Jennifer Hudson, at least she has acting experience. But if she’s serious about acting, she can only get bigger and do better. She has plenty of chances. She’s still young. 10 years old is pretty young for an Oscar. So it’s not a tragedy that she didn’t win. If she has the will, she will get it one day.

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