Taste took a holiday at this year's Academy Awards. That's what really happened. I love Whoopi, but if ever there was an indication that the world has gone to hell in a hand-basket, her incessant beaver jokes proved it true.
Too bad there wasn't much of what anorexic-wanna-be-designer-hag Joan Rivers referred to as "Glama, Glama, Glama," unless you count "I am the best singer in the world" Celine Dion and her cowgal outfit. Poor old Joan, alone for an hour on her pre-show waiting for someone - anyone - to show up. She busied herself by cursing Geena Davis and yelling into her "E" walkie-talkie, "Back to you Missy-got anything up there?"
Well, she had a lot of hair. The last time I saw a pony tail like that was at The Preakness.
Watching Geena's Stepford Wives pre-show, you had to think Joan was right when she said, "So the bitch isn't talking fashion in her segment?" What's she going to talk about? Bosnia?" If only.
OK, so were lots of upsets. But everyone in the world has already gone on about that ad nauseum. Poor old Steven Spielberg is running out of world tragic events to commemorate, so how many more Best Picture Oscars can there be? Is it right to thank families of dead soldiers? Remind me why you'd "thank" them? How about "empathize," or "acknowledge." It's all about verbs, people.
The big question for me is when Oscar Campaign reform will take place, and will it mirror Political Campaign Reform? Can we modify H.R. 5685 on Political Campaign Reform, currently before The House, and apply the trusty "find and replace" feature to the document, changing all key words to reflect the film industry?
If we do, will Al Gore take credit for that too, in addition to his discovery of the Internet last year? Forget reports that the Pentagon founded the Internet in 1969, the truth is that Al, while searching his computer last year for his missing monthly status report to Bill, "found" the internet. But I digress...
Miramax has long drawn the jealousy of competing studios for its ability to rack up Oscar nominations, and their ire for spending like mad to promote its films and actors. Harvey and Bob Weinstein went nuts this year pushing "Shakespeare in Love" and "Life Is Beautiful." They spent a reported $30 million of parent company Disney's money buying ads for "Shakespeare," and suffered negative press reports that Miramax was badmouthing "Saving Private Ryan."
Everybody badmouths this excessive spending, but it worked, just like it works for our political campaigns. I think for both film and politics, we should get back to Town Hall Meetings and strictly regulated and moderated television debates.
That way, next year, we'll see Stone Phillips moderating a debate in New Hampshire between Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman. Jack Nicholson and Ben Affleck will duke it out via their podiums in conference room C ("You can't handle the truth!"). I can see Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench crustily critiquing each other's technique. And taping the debates will be Elia Kazan and his new girlfriend, Linda Tripp.
As in politics, the rest of Hollywood will have no choice but to follow the trail Harvey and Bob Weinstein blazed. It's the old "Primary Colors" theme - if we don't do what they do, we'll lose and then our winning ideas won't be presented. Look for the "For Your Consideration" ad pages in every publication from Variety to Pet Fancy go through the roof next year.
That's the 1999 lowdown. Truly.