Unquestionably glamorous. Socially aware. Insanely dull. The 65th Academy Awards were stodgy, upscale, and a better sleeping pill than warm milk. Here’s the kind of night it was: Clint Eastwood won Best Director and thanked the film critics of France.
Okay, we’re very glad he got it; the movie’s good and Clint had it coming. But trophies are only one measure of the evening’s winners and losers.
Weirdest new trend: Dedicating your Oscar to somebody else. Last year, winners clasped their statuettes to their greedy little hearts. This year, Eastwood saluted late Time Warner CEO Steve Ross, Emma Thompson dedicated her Best Actress prize to ”the heroism and courage of women,” and Gene Hackman honored his uncle Orrin, who recently passed away.
Reason nobody scored 100 percent in the office Oscar pool: Marisa Tomei’s win in the Supporting Actress category. Xenophobia or a divided Academy?
I’ll take Manhattan: Judging from Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft’s giddy presentation of the screenwriting Oscars, the real place to be was New York’s Russian Tea Room, not the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Most heartwarming appearance by a winner’s relative: Eastwood’s mom. He thanked her in person in front of a billion viewers. Such a nice boy. Runner-up: Federico Fellini’s plea to his joyous wife, actress Giulietta Masina, to stop crying.
Sacheen Littlefeather award for making PC okay: Barbra Streisand deflated the program’s women-in-film theme by saying precisely what everyone was thinking.
Best performance by a loser: Jack Nicholson. With most of the major stars MIA, Smilin’ Jack lorded over the front row like the king of Hollywood.
We wuz robbed: Nice that Bob Hope showed, but where was Young Hollywood? Was it bowling night for Julia, Keanu, Demi, the Baldwin boys, and Tom and Nicole? Another noted no-show bunch: Middle-aged Hollywood (Arnold, Kevin, Harrison, Meryl, and D-FENS himself, Michael Douglas).
Rob Lowe/Snow White trophy for tackiness: Debbie Allen’s choreography. Granted, the production numbers are always cheesy, but fiascoes like Liza Minnelli’s ”Ladies Day” and Nell Carter’s ”Friend Like Me” make us wonder why they don’t pull the plug on these dog-and-pony shows.
Vanessa Redgrave trophy for alienating everyone: Best Documentary winner Barbara Trent, whose long-winded diatribe had us screaming for a recount.
The Borscht-Belt hook: For Billy Crystal’s off night. The flop-sweat showed from the opening medley on. By the last half hour, he had actually become Buddy Young Jr.
You know, they just didn’t get it: The program’s celebration of women in film kept getting interrupted by hubba-hubba Revlon ads. Worse still, the song played over the closing credits was ”Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”