Arts and Entertainment
HAVING SUFFERED THE humiliating blow of being upstaged by world events of 2001, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences displayed a touch of modesty at this year's Oscars. Opening speech given by a man wearing braces. Universal lack-of-hygiene statement of stubble-and-beard on the white males. Breasts of our biggest female stars, Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow, drooping almost to a kneel. The man of the moment, it seemed, was Thoth, who, following the best fashion advice available, ascended the stage like a firefly sent from heaven, a vision of red and gold, jewels and muscle, silent strings and twirling braids until he nearly tripped over Diaz on his way backstage.
After shedding our tears of joy, recovering from Thoth's tumble toward infinity, and getting a few good nights' rest, we've now landed back on post-Oscars earth, strung out. Moved as we were by the historic moments of Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier, and Robert Redford, much as we appreciated Errol Morris's contributions Browns Jerry and Willie, Alice Waters, Savion Glover, Susan Sontag, Rev. Al Sharpton, Gorby, Iggy, Wavy, and Jello, all talking movies and pleasantly surprised as we were to see a documentary reel by Penelope Spheeris on display, we still haven't recovered from a certain amount of shock. Was Tom Cruise really reassuring us that, yes, in times of American war fever, rampant fear, and governmental madness, Hollywood's movies even its unapologetic war-mongerments inducing the mass to further dementia matter more than ever? Did Sharon Stone let us see her butt crack in that dress, and, with John Travolta, did they laugh at the idea that movies actually do emerge from countries other than the U.S. of A.? Perhaps she was off her Mensa cycle. If you're over it already, please ignore the rest of these Oscar memories, 2002.
• As punishment for chilly pompousness, Glenn Close and Donald Sutherland are barricaded behind a walled display of Oscars.
• An apparently sedated Jennifer Connelly takes to the podium for an emotionless, read-off-a-piece-of-notebook-paper acceptance speech that's about as exciting as her dull-ass beige dress. If she's such a great actress, why can't she act excited?
• Errol Morris's glowing white "favorite movie moments" short reveals that Laura Bush loves Giant. Someone should screen Written on the Wind for her.
• Unexpected camera darling Josh "I'll do any war movie" Hartnett is all over the place, serving as an all-purpose reaction-shot guy whenever Pearl Harbor or Black Hawk Down collects a statue.
• Best suit: Will Smith.
• Waif-tastic Kirsten Dunst looks fabulous in her back-baring gown, which of course doesn't stop Joan Rivers from asking her, "Do you diet?"
• Oscar camp contingent The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings.
• Faith Hill's nasty pastel rainbow dress is almost as startling as the sight of hubby Tim McGraw without his ever-present cowboy hat.
• Joan Rivers on Liza: "Don't marry a man who knows more show tunes than you and who has a Shirley Temple room."
• How much money, approximately, will Led Zeppelin make for the 10,000 times Cadillac plays those ads set to "Rock and Roll"?
• Deneuve loves Marilyn in The Misfits; Britney loves ... Julia in Pretty Woman.
• Trying to fill dead air, Channel 4 watches E!'s Joan Rivers talk to Maggie Smith.
• It's official: Halle Berry rules. But how could the Academy have overlooked hubby Eric Benet's stunning turn in Glitter?
• Jada Pinkett Smith criticizes Will Smith four times in less than a minute as they're interviewed on the red carpet.
• After that costume-design sketch, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson should really be asked to host the whole damn ceremony next year.
• Samuel Jackson: "I'm rooting for Halle, Denzel, and Helen Mirren."
• Sure, she looks like hell on the red carpet. But the burning question is, why is Sally Kirkland even at the Oscars in the first place?
• Roger Ebert's foot-in-mouth sidekick: "Helen Mirren is hugging Jennifer Connelly; that's how it works here."
• With an opening monologue and a slot on the postshow Barbara Walters special, there's an awful lot of Tom Cruise going on in this Year of Kidman. But let's not forget, even Paul McCartney can't win an Oscar for Vanilla Sky.
• J-Lo in Versace: very Valley of the Dolls.
• Roger Ebert: "Naomi Watts just told me in fact that she was playing between three and six characters in Mulholland Drive." David Lynch: "How ya doin', Roger?"
• Most wonderfully vacuous preshow commentator: Caprice.
• The healthiest long hair of the night belongs to Ian McKellen's twentysomething boyfriend, shown holding McKellen's hand.
• Memo to Julia Roberts: Denzel Washington's Oscar isn't about you.
Cheryl Eddy, Susan Gerhard, and Johnny Ray Huston