Oscar Wrap, 1998

Wow, what a long night!  Three hours and 39 minutes of "that sink-
ing feeling" and, yet, the expected TITANIC sweep (11 awards in 
all) didn't drown us in (total) boredom.  Those honors, instead, 
went to the show's producers, who relied on way too many stars to 
introduce way too many clip collections, *plus* a dance medley, 
*plus* performances of each of the five nominated songs, *plus* 
clips from the five Best Pictures, *plus* Billy Crystal's opening 
routine, *plus* the 70th Anniversary "Oscar Family Album," which 
reunited on stage every awarded actor (a.) still living and (b.) 
willing to appear.  (They were all there, even little Shirley Tem-
ple.)  Surprisingly, the acceptance speeches were uniformly good.  
The winners were a witty, well-spoken bunch, who never droned or 
moaned, even when pressed to keep their thank-yous to 30 seconds or 
less.  (Some shouted, some nodded, and one of 'em, Lifetime Award 
winner Stanley Donen, both broke into song *and* did a little soft-

Our trusty emcee, Billy Crystal, was his best at the beginning.  As 
was started last year, he again appeared in footage from the five 
Best Picture nominees.  (His best bits:  posing nude for a certain 
shipboard sketch-artist and dressed in drag as Kim Basinger.)  Sam-
my Davis Jr. made a swingin' surprise appearance, as did a postal-
uniform-clad Kevin Costner.  (He's a good sport.)  Billy then broke 
into song, with a medley of old tunes set to new lyrics about, 
again, the five Best Picture nominees.  (TITANIC's tale was told to 
the theme from "Gilligan's Island.")  He finished with a few more 
jokes, but not before hopping off-stage, to sit in Jack Nicholson's 
lap.  (Helen Hunt snapped his picture.)  Say what you will about 
James Brown; for one night of the year, Billy Crystal is the hard-
est working man in show business... 

Of the big-name winners, Kim Basinger, Robin Williams, Helen Hunt, 
Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon were the most happily flustered.  (Af-
fleck and Damon, however, were the only ones to incorporate the 
word "sucks" into their acceptance speech.)  And each of 'em was 
allowed to run long, as was Jack, who dared the producers to cut 
him short.  (They didn't.)  The presenters, on the other hand, were 
often surprisingly stiff.  (Tele-prompter problems seemed to be the 
chief culprit.)  On the fashion front, Francis McDormand tied with 
Madonna for Most Unkempt.  (Looking as if she'd just climbed out of 
bed, Mira Sorvino was a close second.)  Jennifer Lopez and Elisa-
beth Shue showed off some serious curves, while Drew Barrymore op-
ted for the less-sensual look of a flower child.  Well, that is, a 
flower child in a party dress.  And, of the males appearing, only 
Martin Scorsese's eyebrows were particularly frightening.

The oddest moments of the evening?  Neve Campbell saying the words 
"the exciting Michael Bolton" with a straight face?  Celine Dion 
waving for help while singing, perhaps for assistance in removing 
that giant rock that was hanging from her neck?  James Cameron ask-
ing for a moment or two of silence, and then getting it!?  Merci-
fully, the Puke Factor (PF) was low, with the five nominated songs 
performed in two blocks, instead of spread through the entire show.  
(The better to take a nap during.)  Of course, you couldn't escape 
the clips: animal actors, special effects, past Best Pictures, 
great Oscar moments, In Memorandum AKA Bring Out Your Dead-- and 
all of 'em introduced by some star who *themselves* required an 
introduction.  Oy.  There was *one* low note, though:  that brief, 
embarrassing moment when Samuel Jackson appeared as a presenter and 
the camera cut to Louis Gossett Jr. and Spike Lee.  Sigh.  

I'm going to bed now...

The Winners

Supporting Actress          Kim Basinger, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Costumes                    TITANIC
Supporting Actor            Robin Williams, GOOD WILL HUNTING
Sound                       TITANIC
Sound Effects Editing       TITANIC
Visual Effects              TITANIC
Live Action Short Film      VISAS AND VIRTUES
Animated Short Film         GERI'S GAME
Actress                     Helen Hunt, AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Score, Drama                TITANIC
Score, Musical or Comedy    THE FULL MONTY
Make-up                     MEN IN BLACK
Editing                     TITANIC
Song                        TITANIC
Documentary Short           A STORY OF HEALING
Documentary Feature         THE LONG WAY HOME
Art Direction               TITANIC
Actor                       Jack Nicholson, AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Foreign Film                CHARACTER
Screenplay, Adapted         L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Screenplay, Original        GOOD WILL HUNTING
Cinematography              TITANIC
Director                    James Cameron
Picture                     TITANIC
Lifetime Achievement        Stanley Donen

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: Oscar, Oscar, Oscar

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |  Links   |  FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to mike@legeros.com
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros