Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 43 - 13 Things I Love About Oscar Night

1 - The celebration of achievement in film. Here's a lovely explanation of my view of film as an art form by David Bordwell, co-author of one of my university textbooks, Film Art:

"Rather than denounce mass-audience filmmaking as mindless or manipulative, we have to be alert for those moments and those films that are subtly altering received forms and formulas. These changes aren’t 'deviations' from norms but revisions or transformations of them, sometimes wholesale alternatives to them. Once a student called me perverse: 'You look for the innovative parts of conventional films and the conventional parts of innovative films.' Not the complete truth, but a good part of it, I must admit."

I feel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does this very thing in selecting its nominees each year. Art is always subjective, and every year people gripe about who was left off the nominee list and who got on. But the Academy has its criteria, and it's not always obvious as to why, especially when the film or performance is a step or two ahead of its time.

2 - The red carpet. I love the whole red carpet event. Especially for the union of two creative mediums - film and fashion.

I don't understand the people who are jaded and think of the whole affair as a parasitic use of one for the other. Let's replace that word with symbiotic. Then it becomes a win-win situation.

Charlize Theron

3 - Best-dressed women - for someone who rarely gets dressed up myself, I love haute couture fashion. This is where design is at its most creative and I find that exciting. I 'ooo' and 'ahh' and really enjoy seeing Hollywood's most beautiful women presenting themselves at their most luscious.

Jodi Foster

Liv Tyler

Kate Winslet

Jessica Alba

Scarlett Johansson

4 - Best-dressed men - These fashions tend to be more traditional, but men in formal tuxedoes just look knee-weakening-hot.

Hugh Jackman

Mark Wahlberg

Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman

Peter Jackson, Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg

George Clooney

5 - The Billy Crystal opening songs. The first year he did it - truly inspired. And every other year, still inspired. I miss those.

"It's a wonderful night for Oscar - Oscar, Oscar - who will win?"

6 - Film montages, especially last year's Tribute to Foreign Language Film Winners. Just check out the segues between the films in this montage.

7 - The film clips they show when they announce the nominees for the acting and directing awards. I love watching what has been chosen to represent the performance as a whole. We get dropped right into the most dramatic and stressful moment. I love that!

8 - Oh, how my family loves the Oscars. Some families are hockey families. Some families are political families. My family is a film and tv family, and we never miss an Oscar broadcast.

One year we had our monthly family dinner on Oscar day, and my mom and I went all-out. She made a red carpet (which we didn't tell anyone about until they were on it.) We had all agreed to wear blingy red-carpet wear, though, so as soon as someone arrived, we surrounded them with a camera and a microphone and said, "Who are you wearing?" This is my cousin's daughter showing off her evening gown.

This is my other cousin Charlie arriving, armed with shades to ward off the paparazzi.

There's the paparazzi now. I'm all decked out in vintage flapper style.

This is my cousin's husband, my sister and me playing an Oscars trivia game (my husband Brad is the quiz master, reflected in the mirror.)

9 - My mom tries to see all the best actor/actress nominees before the Oscars, but I usually can't swing it. Leading up to the Oscars, I can figure out what I need to about their performances from previews and clips, anyway. I always have favorites whom I hope will win, but I also have a likely-to-win list as well. I seriously feel that every performance nominated in each year is a winner.

10 - I love the clips from both the animated and live-action short subjects, because it's not likely I'll ever get to see them, and I enjoy that brief glimpse into those films.

11 - This might sound weird - probably is - but I find it fascinating to watch the degree of fear present in the nominees. These people go through a lot in their creative lives, pushing past their comfort zones all the time. And yet the Oscars reduces them all to states of intense anxiety. What I find fascinating is watching how they rise above it all - mostly with grace and poise - when I would be a basket case in their shoes.

12 - The Post-Oscar Governor's Ball and the Vanity Fair Party. I love thinking of all the awards show attendees finally relaxing after so much stress at these parties. Here Helen Mirren and Jamie Foxx chill with a friend at the Vanity Fair party, with Francis Ford Coppola one table over.

How I would love to go to one of those parties. And eat a gold-covered chocolate Oscar by Wolfgang Puck.

13 - Local events with an Oscars theme. These often raise money for different causes, while regular folk get to be celebrities for a night. My best friend Connie and I attended one of these soirees last Saturday night here in Halifax. It's called Haliwood and was held at the Lord Nelson Hotel.

Photo - James Ingram

This is me with the guy who appears on the print ads for the event.

Connie had put her name in for a pair of tickets and won them (otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to go.) It was a fundraiser for Kids Help Phone.

I'd never been to the Lord Nelson, which was fun in itself. What a gorgeous older hotel. We dined on an endless parade of hors d'oeuvres.

We had fun watching the live golden models break their poses to chat with guests.

We saw my friend Jen perform with the Pink Velvet Burlesque and listened to an 8-piece band who were awesome.

And we got our pictures taken with practise Oscars - so we'll be ready for the real thing.


Addicted to crafting said...

That's such a great TT Julia. :)

I love to see your pictures. You always shine and look happy. :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I am SO envious. I'd love to do those Oscar parties and the red carpet and the couture (yes, I'm a closet fashionista, too).

I only want to do the party if I can be an A-lister, though. Yeah, I'm a snob. I know.

Jersey - The Furry Diva said...

YAY! Your T13 list rocks - and so do you! I ♥ the Oscar Night!

Please visit my My 1st Thursday 13 if you find time. Thank you!

Rob Windstrel Watson said...

Wonderful post :-)

I wonder why women react so strongly to men in formal dress?

I suppose it is a uniform and women universally do seem to love firemen.

Perhaps it is the aura of power and control that reaches right down into womens' psyche.

Now where's my old suit ... I wonder if I can get patches on the elbows?

Mia Celeste said...

What a fun experience and TT! Thanks for sharing!

Darla said...

Oh, how fun! I enjoy the Oscars a lot more when we're in the States... and have been able to see more of the nominated films. Here, it's so hit and miss, and half the films I've never even heard of. *sniff*

Not to mention that they're on Sunday at midnight here.

Annette Gallant said...

Great TT, Julia!! LOL Can I be in your family? Maybe as an honorary member or something? What a cool idea! Love all the pics.

Every year, I "watch" the Oscars with one of my best friends. Since he lives in another province, we call each other up and watch it together. Not for the whole thing (because that would seriously cripple our pocketbooks) but definitely for the opening and closing parts.

Kelly Boyce said...

I love the Oscars, especially the red carpet. I love seeing all the gowns and everyone dressed up. There's still something magical about the event that I doubt will ever fade. Every year I say I'm not going to stay up until well past midnight to see who won best picture, but every year there I am, glued to the tube with bated breath.

Anonymous said...

Awesome TT! I love the Oscars and will be perched on the couch with a bag of nachos watching it!

Toni said...

I love love love Oscar Night! Wouldn't THINK of missing the red carpet. Call me weird, but Oscar Night gets me in the mood for SPRING. I think it's all the sleeveless gowns of glamour. Or maybe the glimpses of CA sunshine. I don't know. But I totally love the glitz and glamour, not to mention the awards ceremony itself. You can bet I'll be watching with you, Oscar snacks right by my side. ;)

Karina said...

I too love awards shows in general, and though I'm partial to the music ones, the Oscars hold a glamour like no other, so I always look forward to them, especially the red carpet.

I think its so cool that your family has "Oscar Viewing Parties"...I've always wanted to host one, but none of my friends are as into this stuff as I am. Oh well!

Great list (and thanks for the Mark Wahlberg in a tux photo...I just love him).

Olga said...

Man!! Your family sounds like a hoot! Wish I could be part of that! I'd so get into the reinactment of 'The' big night!

Robin said...

Oh those gowns...

I wish I had an excuse to wear a formal gown.

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

How much fun is that? I love it. I love the clothes and the joy on your face when you're holding your practice Oscars and I love that you watch them with the delight of an un-jaded soul. I bet you'd be a hoot at a tea party! I have a thing for tea parties. Too bad I don't have girls.

Shelley Munro said...

Julia - what a great post. I loved the idea of a family dinner with the Oscar theme. Too cool! And I have to agree. Men in tuxes look so handsome!

Joy Renee said...

what a sense of fun your family has! and such respect and honor for the spirit of creativity.

SandyCarlson said...

You know how to live! That's the right attitude. I too love the fashions, particularly when they are classical and flattering, as they are in the images here.

Anonymous said...

I'm strange I know, but I love the day after the Oscars where you get the shots of all the highlights. Perhaps the anticipation is just too much for me. :)

I love that you have Oscar parties, I could see that changing my view on watching them. *Grin*

Thanks for coming by and for all the effort put into your TT this week. :)

Happy Thursday


Anonymous said...

What a fun T13, Julia! Your Oscar Night looks like so much fun, and you have a delightful family. :)

I'm one of those gals who seldom glams up, but looking at your pictures makes me think hey, it is fun once in a while! :)

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

Awesome! Oscar night growing up in my house was very serious. We had our picks and our reasons and we had to discuss everything! lol
Great pics and great list!

Unknown said...

The Haliwood party looks like a blast. Lucky you

Tempest Knight said...

Hmm... I wonder how the new presenter will do.

Akelamalu said...

Great TT Julia - I love the photographs of you and your friends.

Doesn't George Clooney look divine in a Tux?