Thursday, February 28, 2008
part 2-80th academy awards

Let's talk about The Host! I like Jon Stewart, a lot! I think he is smart and funny and is a very good host for The Oscars.....I must say I felt the lack of time due to the Writer's Strike, because this being the 80th Oscars, very little was made of that.....And I can truly understand that, and forgive them a lot, for that. Without knowing if there would be a "show" with the 'usual suspects', many of the possible "stars" that might have been included, that is, but who would have refused to cross the picket line if the strike had continued----well, their hands were kind of tied there. So, the many "clips" showing past Oscars became the focus, even after the strike was over. But I thought Jon Stewart did better than 'fine', under these difficult circumstances. The highlight of his tenure? When he brought out, Marketa Irglova after the station break. (half of the writing/composing team that won for Best Original Song)...because she did not get a chance to speak and say her 'thank you's'....That was incredibly moving and very very classy! And as far as I know, a first, in Oscar history.....Oscar winners are played offin this century by the Orchestra after 45 seconds or so, never to be heard of again.....At least in every the Oscar broadcasts I've have ever seen since the Winning Speeches became less important than the flat jokey unfunny banter betwen presenters....So this was an amazingly wonderful thing to have happened....The name of the song is "Falling Slowly" from the film "ONCE".....a film made for under $100,000, I believe...This is unheard of, in the incredibly inflated costs of 2008, when producing a film for $60 million, is considered very difficult to do! (I attempted to raise $250,000. to produce a very wonderful film, back in 1967-68, and that amount of money was considered a rather large sum, back then......!)An aside here: (Crotchety "lives"....!) In my humble opinion, the caliber of the Nominated Songs in this 21st Century has been pretty much abysmal. In fact, the only song I can actually think of right off hand is, "Oh It's Hard Out There For A Pimp", and I am not sure that this song will be considered a 'standard', in anyone's lifetime....But, take any year in the Golden Age Of Movies....and see what songs won Oscars.....To refresh your memory: 1935: The Lullaby Of Broadway; 1936: The Way You Look Tonight; 1938: Thanks For The Memory; 1939: Over The Rainbow; 1940: When You Wish Upon A Star; 1941: The Last Time I Saw Paris; 1942: White Christmas; 1943: You'll Never Know....and let's skip to 1949: Baby, It's Cold Outside; 1950: Mona Lisa; 1956: Que Sara Sara..Whatever Will Be, Will Be; 1961: Moon River; 1965: The Shadow Of Your Smile; 1969: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head; 1973: The Way We Were....Okay. I'll stop. I hope you got the idea here. ALL these songs are considered 'standards', now. They have stood 'the test of time'. I don't even want to think about what will become of all the songs we heard on Sunday night....(And Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz are really talented good writers.....OY!)

Moving right along: Can we talk about the two Screenplays, please? Adapted and Original? Okay. Let's start with 'Adapted'. The Coen Brothers won for their Screenplay of "No Country For Old Men".....(Incidentally, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the meaning of that title has to do with how dangerous it all is in that metaphoric country...So violent and dangerous that no one there lives long enough to ever grow old.....) This screenplay was adapted from the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Frankly, I found this screenplay very flawed. I already mentioned how it all didn't track for me and also how I did not understand the ending, at all---Tommy Lee Jones' last 'monologue? What was that about and how did it relate to this film...AND, what was the point of this film, anyway?? Well I have no idea.

What should have won? In my opinion,
Sarah Polley's adapted screenplay based on a short story by Alive Munro called "The Bear Came Over The Mountain" for "Away From Her".This is a beautiful script about something really important: Love. Yes,
L-O-V-E, love. That would have been my choice. (I have not seen "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly", but I hear that it is a BEAUTIFUL Screenplay and a very beautiful film.....and inspirational, too...Heavens, How Revolutionary.....two films that give us all some hope, as apposed to something about serial killers and greed and murderers who just get up and walk away into the sunset.....!)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Before many of you go balistic....these are my opinions, and since it is my blog, I can be as crotchety as I want. And everything is subjective...everything! Even reviews are the subjective opinion of the writers.....So...... The Original Screenplay that won the Oscar was by Daiblo Cody, for "Juno". A very nice film, to be sure. A sweet film. Best Original Screenplay? I don't think so. I did love what she said in her speech....She thanked her parents for letting her be exactly who she is....a great great gift, to be sure.

For me, there were two other Screenplays that were in my humble opinion, much more deserving and both for different reasons.....! "Michael Clayton", a wonderful entertaining old-fashioned-in-the-best-sense-of-that expression--film, and a completely enjoyable film it was, too. Tony Gilroy, wrote and directed this fine fine film. (And his father, Frank Gliroy, is a very fine writer too. He wrote the play, "The Subject Was Roses" which received the Tony Award, back in the day, and he also wrote the Screenplay for the film as well, among his many other credits....This is a very talented family---Both of Tony Gilroys brothers are involved in films, too---One is a writer, and the other a fine Editor, having Edited 'Michael Clayton'....)

And the second picture was "The Savages" Written and Directed by Tamara Jenkins, and beautifully, I might add. This film is about family; 'family' being two siblings and a father who is sinking into dementia, and, believe it or not, this film had a lot of humor in it, and, in my opinion, Philip Seymour Hoffman's BEST Performance, ever....yes, yes, for me----even better than "Capote". If either one of these films had won Best Original Screenplay, I would have been very very happy. I was really kind of shocked that "Juno" won. But why I should have been shocked when so many other Awards went a very different way than I wanted---I don't know....One clings to hope wherever one can.....

And then, the last two Big Awards.....Both, taken by "No Country"....The Coen brothers for Direction, and The Best Film Oscar, picked up by one of the Producers, Scott Rudin for the very same film. I just do not understand this film recieving all these Awards....I find it very depressing that a movie that has the following images, and very little else, except more of the same....gets this kind of approval and attention from The Academy members.


One other thing I want to say....the 'Red Carpet' is fun and all that, but for me, this evening is about The Awards, and it always has been....Maybe it's because I started being completely addicted to the movies when The Oscars were broadcast on the radio....before there was television.....yes, there was a time when we did not have television, and there was no 'Red Carpet', nor all the emphasis on "Who are you wearing?" So, I have nothing to say about The Red Carpet, except it has very little to do with The Academy Awards......

I'm done with the Oscars for this year....Well, at least I think I am, anyway....(There may be some after-thoughts....)

More To Come, Less Crotchety, I hope.....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

If that's crotchety, then so be it! I think it's just telling it like it is. I have yet to see "The Savages" but have been primed to believe it's excellent, and you have confirmed same. I certainly do agree with you about all the movie music.

I expect Diving Bell will have a more limited exposure here since it's French with Eng. subtitles, but after writing in Nov. on my blog about some of my concerns before seeing it, I was truly impressed with how well-done the adaptation was.

I strongly reitterate my agreement with you on "Away From Her."

I think the decision to bring Marketa Irglova back on stage was classy, too, but wonder if it wasn't made up in the control booth as tightly run as they have that show. If not, multi-kudos to Jon Stewart.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 3:39:00 AM PST 

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Naomi - be as crochety as you like! I think what you have to say is very valid. I also question where the 'standards' are. Who is going to remember this music, these songs, let alone play them for decades to come??!!!

I enjoy reading about the Oscars. I am still wanting to catch up with so many of these films; it's hard when you have a little one but maybe I will try and sneak on in here and there!

Thanks for a great post!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

good post Naomi. I agree with you on Jon Stewart, he did a good job and came across well. I actually preferred him to Billy Crystal hands down.Overall, I thought so many of this year's films were so heavy. I like more variety, but that's what was out there. There wasn't a "Chicago" to get everyone up off their feet. all in all a good show.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:46:00 AM PST 

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Naomi, We are of the same mind-set - you and I! Guess that's cause I'm a crochety old lady too...but, I thought most of the stuff that won was a big "SHAM" -

I like to be entertained at the movies...I want the damn thing to make sense...have a decent story line...and understand the ending! Do I like violent films - well, that depends...

I just watched THE BRAVE ONE with Jodie Foster and most will say it is a violent film - but, it makes sense! There is a reason behind the is is part of the story...and one understands the ending.

I like "Gentle" movies too - I know I would just love the one with Julie Christie and the other with Laura Linney. I've always pretty much liked everything the latter was in.

I agree that JUNO is probably a very good movie...and I'll probably watch it...but, I don't know that it was "deserving" of the award.

And, don't even get me started on the MUSIC...No standards in the last few years that I can think of!!!

Oh, dear, I've ranted enough...(backing off my soapbox)

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:14:00 AM PST 

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For the first time since I can remember I missed the Academy Awards. We were on the Gulf Coast attending a huge gathering that extended far beyond the appropriate time. I'm seeing the Awards through your eyes this time. Crotchety? No, I don't think so.

"No Country" is an unsettling film that, in my opinion, was a lot of violence leading nowhere. Yuck is my total evaluation of this film. The common word "Yuck" fits the film.

I agree with 'joared' that it was a classy move to bring Irglova back to stage.

I don't have the background to make educated decisions as to who should or should not win, but I do have my own opinions. The results this year were a bit disappointing to me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 8:25:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

A really interesting two-part post. Thank you. Its good to get other perspectives on the event too.

One thing for me is the relative scheduling of some of the films which still generally come out later in the UK, so whilst they may be ready for cable/DVD in NA, they are still on screens in some cases here in EMEA.

I'm quite interested this year to see a few more of the ones that I've so far missed. And naturally you can forgive me a little partizan support for some of the European ones [wink].

La vie en rose and Diving Bell are subtitled, but very oddly, I watched Stardust a few days ago in a UK hotel, but oddly it didn't have an English soundtrack! I ended up watching it in German! But I also watched the classic 'la dolce vita' a few days ago when it was free with the Sunday newspaper. It may have been in Italian, but still a classic.

So to your point, whilst there's always a place for a few good car chase shoot-em-ups (Bourne etc) its a shame if the more original or edgy films don't also get some recognition.

So I shall read your opinions and recommendations with continued interest, whether for classics, relatively specialized or latest leading edge!

Best, as always!


Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Managed to totally avoid "No Country" this year ... The critics seemed to be liking it which usually guarantees that I'll sleep through it or be disappointed by it.

We were so impressed with the Oscars in Crazieland a few years ago that we ran our own ... CQ hosted them on her work's public folder, I looked after the voting and things.

Maybe we should run a Blog Hosted Oscars equivalent next year ?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:16:00 AM PST 

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And just a quick comment about 'Once' - it was, indeed shot for very little money and if you hear the Irish filmmakers being interviewed you can spot that they seem to be genuinely modest people and somewhat overwhelmed by what started out as an almost home movie project.

I've got no idea what the takings would be , but to be able to make a file for $160k, including the filmmakers witholding their own salaries to help others stay solvent and making parts of it in their own house.

There's almost another movie in the 'making of'.

Refreshing to get some pioneering spirit in what is sometimes a very big business.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:23:00 AM PST 

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Juno is probably good but it's been hyped so much I know I'll be disappointed when I see it because it can't live up to the hype. I have Michael Clayton on my list and I DID see Away From Her, after reading your review and I loved it. I am still thinking about it a week later and my friends and I are still talking about it. It really got under my skin in a human way. I will not ever see No Country for Old Men. I'd rather get th flu again. I'm not keen to see Daniel Day Lewis screaming either. I want films that have some kind of gift in them. And it doesn't have to be a rosy one.

Thanks for sharing your insights, Naomi. I came over once looking for them but you hadn't posted yet.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 9:50:00 AM PST 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

I am sure Bardem's film " No country...." will be soon in every Spanish cinema...this is one film I am not going to see...

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 10:53:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi: Once again, a fine critique of the Oscars!

I've seen so much hype for JUNO that I don't care if I ever see it. But because of your comments about Michael Clayton, I will make sure I see that one.

I agree with you that there wasn't much to holler about in the nominations this year....nothing of great note. I didn't hear any of our friends championing any one movie or cheering any one movie on.

An aside: There's not too many ladies of your calibre that blog and if they call you crotchety, they just don't understand you!

A job well done.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi! The 80th academy awards program is also shown here. I confess I prefer the movies of the 50s which are heartwarming and fun, especially those musicals. I watched these for entertainment.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Well Naomi, I didn't see a lot of the movies that were nominated so I really can't say much BUT I agree that Away from Her deserved more. I am not a fan of "shoot em up" movies. I remember when Fargo came out and got so much attention, I did not like the movie at all.

TF and I watched a movie last week called "Fracture" with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling and it was superb. We have watched it four more times this week. Terrific acting and boy what a plot. I like movies with a plot.

You are allowed to be crotchrty any time you want.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:54:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I didn't see a single one of the movies this year not a one. Not even Enchanted which normally I would have taken Miss Rebecca to see but we never got around to it. I still watched the Oscars though even though I had no opinion as such lol.
I was yelling at the TV when they bought Marketa back on stage," that HAS to be a first !" Mark had no idea why I got so excited lol.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:21:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love your take on the Oscars, and you saw a lot of the films that were nominated, so you know what you're talking about. I, on the other hand, haven' this year they weren't as entertaining for me. Your posts, however, are always entertaining. ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:30:00 PM PST 

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I know what you mean Naomi. I think the turning point for me was way back in 1985 when The Color Purple was nominated for (I think) 11 Oscars (no director), and didn't win one. At that point, I realized, the Oscars are *almost* always an inscrutable popularity contest or measure of the current zeitgeist. Your comments seem very logical to me!
~S :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 2:18:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I cannot disagree with anything you say, since I have not seen a single one of those films, and probably will not. I might see Juno, but the violent ones have no appeal for me at all.

I also wonder where all the good songwriters have gone. Very few songs written in the last 10 years are worth any award.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 3:39:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Nothing crotchety about your opinion Naomi! I don't like films that have any violence at all. I also don't understand why they think that we need to hear all the cursing that goes on in some films. I just don't see the point of that. Ha! Maybe that makes me crotchety then!!!

I agree that they don't let the people who win talk long enough. I do like to watch the country music awards (but don't do it as often as I used to), and they never let them talk long enough. I like to tape anything like that and then watch it later so I can speed forward through all the MANY LONG commercials or anyone that is singing that I don't like!! Makes it much quicker!! Gosh, the more I talk I think the more crotchety I am!!! LOL

I enjoyed both of these posts about the awards. As usual you did a fine job of picking the winners. Now if they had only listened to you!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 6:26:00 PM PST 

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WEll, thank the stars for your post! What Jon did by bringing that wonderful woman back was indeed a CLASS ACT. I usuallyy see the nominated films when they come out on DVD, but I heard "Falling Slowly," and I FELL. Saw the music video and immediately bought the song, he sings as if his soul (I acually posted about the song right after I heard it.)were about to pop out of his body. I watched the show to see THEM, to hear THEM; they open now for Bob Dylan! A widow saw him playing Falling Slowly with his beat-up guitar and contacted him to come take one of her husband's collection, which he did. The lady's husband was Irish w/red hair. Talk about fate. I hope it is true that they in fact fell in love during filming and are a couple for real. You are dead-on about forgettable songs. What has happened? I adore EVERYTHING Sarah Polley does.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:19:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Nice to get your perspective as an insider :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 7:28:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I agree with you Naomi, and it is refreshing to have an account of the Oscars without all the red carpet, after dhow party and 'what are they wearing' palava! Surely the event is about the films and not the celebrities or fashion?!

I really cannot understand the win by Juno. I haven't seen the film but from the trailer and reviews it doesn't seem to be special at all. I'm afraid I always want the winners of Oscars adn BAFTAs to have that 'je ne sais pas' quality that puts them above the rest and sometimes they just don't seem to have that.

Totally agree about the music side of things as well. You just have to look at the ttile of the songs to see the difference between the ones you cite!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 2:36:00 AM PST 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Let me just say that your crochety is sweetness and light compared with my bile:)
I didn't realise that was the meaning of the 'No country for old men'.
Now I feel as if I have as good as seen this year's Oscars. I have to admit that I do love the seeing the gowns but always want the camera to stay on longer - so it's frustrating in the end. Maybe they should have a separate programme for the fashion.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 2:50:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for being my third commenter Naomi!! That means that you will receive a gift from me sometime during the next 365 days. It'll be when I want to send it!! Okay?? That way it'll just be a pleasant surprise, so don't expect it real soon!!

I will put a note to myself so I DON'T forget!!!! LOL I need all the help I can get to remember things!!!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:


It's refreshing to read your thoughts about the Oscars and life.

Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:15:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Another great post and witty critique of the Oscar! You make me wish to see almost all those movies! Thank you for sharing!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 7:41:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Best critics I ever read regarding the Academy Award.

Two things what me worry:

The Presenter: Really so depending of a written script? I can not with my best will understand there is nobody that can, just having the agenda - what prize next, perform better than a written script.

Best Music: You said it between lines: I'm not able to recall what tunes had won for the past ten years.

btw. This time I dropped in from your blogger friend Rain (first time reading her blog)

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 8:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

do you have your hooking equipment ready? It's Leap year day. LOL.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 8:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Reading this makes me realize that I need to catch up on my movie watching because I haven't seen any of these yet but want to!

Come check out my video!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for your nice comment on my sky's photos! The creator of "Sky Watch Friday" was Dot, from
Strolling Through Georgia. I agree with you, it's a fun idea! And I also agree with you about the "obligation" to post on a specific day each week... So, I will not participate on it every week, only when I have the mood to. (LOL). I have been participating on my blog Only Photos, and on Leaves of Grass it was for the first time.

PS: Sorry my delay to answer to you about the mango's. I will ask to Fernando how long does it take from the time it blooms to the Mango's being ready to pick off the tree to eat.

Many hugs! Have a nice weekend!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 9:50:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

An excellent post. Jon Stewart was a good MC, and kept things moving. The Oscar event suffered a little due to the writers' strike and had the effect of been quickly puit together. That said, there were some good speeches and good look backs on to previous winners.

Michele sent me.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 10:51:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I only saw 2 of the nominated films... Juno and There Will Be Blood, 2 very different films but I enjoyed them both. I haven't seen Away From Her but I intend to.
I agree, it was a very classy moment when Jon Stewart brought Marketa the songwriting lady back to make her speech. Good for him. And I liked Diablo Cody's speech too, she's certainly a different kind of gal!
But on the whole, I don't watch many movies and I'm not familiar with many of todays stars.... so The Oscars are not a "must watch" for me.
PS more pics of my gorgeous new grandson on my blog! You can tell I'm a doting Nana can't you?

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:17:00 AM PST 

had this to say:


I haven't seen No Country . . . yet, but the novel is one of my favorites. From what I've read/heard the movie is a decent (but not perfect) adaptation, but the problem is, I don't think the novel and its underlying stories (Moss and Sheriff Bell) translate well to the screen. It is not a "happy" novel with "happy" themes or even an affirmation of hope at the end.

The title conveys not the fact that men die young, but rather that old men no longer recognize the world in which they grew up. Bell notes seeing old people who face the modern absence of morality with "crazy eyes like they're lost or something."

It's a very powerful read and I would recommend it. I'll probably watch the movie on DVD, but I worry it will diminish the power of the book in my eyes.


Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

No arguments from me on anything you said. If it helps, I think No Country won for best adapted screenplay because Cormac McCarthy is hard to read. This is according to my husband who reads EVERYTHING. So I guess that they were able to get a working screenplay from a tough read was considered an accomplishment.

I was also VERY impressed when Jon brought that lady back to the stage for her speech.

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:53:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for stopping by my place. When I was here, I forgot to mention that Into The Wild is another one I have to see. (I, too, am a Hal Holbrook fan.) The movie is based on a book by Jon Krakauer which is another excellent read, exploring Man's relationship with Nature. Again, I hope the movie does it justice. (My review of the book here, sort of.)


Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 10:42:00 AM PST 

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I love, love, LOVED "No Country". I thought it was so thought provoking... and it ended the way it did to keep the audience guessing as to exactly what had occurred:

Did Tommy Lee Jones' character make a deal with the devil, in order to retire? Did Javier Bardem's character get the money at all? Did he actually kill Brolin's wife? After all, he had no weapon when he was talking to her.

I cannot wait to see it again... so many compelling moments and I thought the writing and directing were amazing. Then again, I am partial to the Coen brothers...

I loved Juno as well, but can see why some don't think the screenplay was meaty enough to win an Oscar. Still, I thought Ellen Page made it sing, and it was surprisingly good for me.

I have not seen "Away from Her" or "The Savages", but both are on my Netflix queue.

That said.... please avoid Vantage Point. What a stupid, stupid movie!

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 7:07:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I agree that The Red Carpet is not the point of The Oscars. The awards are the point.
I was glad that Jon brought that young lady back to give her thank you speech. I thought her little speech was wonderful. I think their award was my favorite of all the ones I saw because they were virtually unknowns who made a very inexpensive film and then ended up winning an Oscar. What a dream come true!! My daughter and her boyfriend watched the movie Once just a few nights before Oscar night.
They were both thrilled to see them win because it gives hope to young filmmakers and song writers.
Great, great songs are few and VERY far between these days. It's a shame. The last song that I can remember from a movie that I really, really liked was I Will Go On from Titanic and sung by Celine Dion. Other than that, most movie songs don't make much of an impact on me.

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 1:16:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I usually avoid violent movies but I make an exception for the Coen brothers. I don't know if their latest will be too much for me though. I'm waiting for the DVD as I do for almost everything.

Some of their movies I enjoyed very much; others left me cold but I always check them out. I did like Fargo in spite of the blood and gore. It's in my top ten list. And I play O Brother, Where Art Thou over and over.

If they ran the show 30 minutes longer, the red carpet 30 minutes shorter, and cut some of the extras (no matter how good Jon Stewart is), they'd have time to extend the remarks from the winners. It's their moment of glory and often they're cut far too short.

And I too was impressed by bringing the woman back on stage.

You're right about the songs too. I sure can't remember what won last year and 2 months from now I probably won't remember Falling Slowly (even though I thought it was lovely and I was impressed with those 2 people who made the film).

Sorry I've been gone. Huge computer crash again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 3:59:00 PM PST 

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