The 80th annual Academy Awards seemed strained this year, perhaps because it was hastily assembled due to the late resolution of the writers’ strike.
Writers’ strike or not, some of the joy was missing. There were no real unforgettable moments. No Cuba Goodings jumping, leaping, madly for joy. No Louise Fletchers signing an acceptance speech in honor of her deaf parents. No Halle Berrys breaking down in tears to acknowledge women of color.
Daniel Day-Lewis graciously accepted his award for best actor but it’s not clear that he cares about such things. The Coen Brothers could have been signing for a FedEx package for their haul - a sweep of best director, best pic and adapted screenplay.
Naturally, the orchestra favored some award winners over others, leading to the evening’s biggest faux pas.
A fine oportunity for genuine drama was wasted when the orchestra suddenly cut short actor/muscian/songwriters Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová after they won for best original song - "Falling Slowly" from the film Once. (Hansard and Irglová also starred in the film.)
Stunned, in tears, Hansard spoke first:
"We made this film two years ago. We shot it on two handy-cams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for 100 Grand and we never thought we’d come into a room like this and be in front of you people… this is amazing…"
As Irglová stepped up to the mic, the orchestra shooed her away before she had a chance to speak.
Host Jon Stewart seemed anxious to correct the oversight. "Don’t you just feel wonderful?" said Stewart as the camera cut back to him, "that’s just such a beautiful song. That really is a wonderful moment for them."
After the commercial break, Stewart called Irglová back on stage.
"Markéta Irglová didn’t get a change to say her thank you," Stewart told the audience. "And I just want to bring her out real quick."
Even though the dramatic moment was unfortunately lost I gave a little prayer of thanks to Stewart and the directors for having the good manners to correct the slight.
Two other lovely moments of note: 98 year-old production designer Robert Boyle, who has worked in the industry for seven decades, received an honorary Oscar. The spry Boyle still teaches at AFI and he was a wonder.
And lastly, the best actress statuette went to Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose. Her voice shaking, Cotillard exclaimed, "it is true there are some angels in this city."
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