Monday, March 06, 2006

The Hollywood Prom 2006

I’m going to say something right now that those of you who know me may find more shocking than two gay cowboys reading “In Cold Blood” in a burning car headed for the CBS studios to avenge the deaths of nine Israeli athletes. Are you sitting down? I, Rebecca Lynn Leffler, did not watch the Oscars last night. I know, next thing you know I’ll be telling you that I love chocolate and loathe tall, handsome men. But this travesty was no fault of my own, I must add. The telecast in France was limited to a midnight showing on Canal+, the “HBO of France” if you will, of which I, clearly not thinking ahead (or rather just trying to save 18 euros per month in cable fees) am not a subscriber. Thus, my transatlantic Oscar experience was limited to the five and a half hour e! Oscar pre-show. As if watching Isaac Mizrahi make a mockery of fashion on the red carpet or hearing Giuliana Depandi embarrasingly confess her love for George Clooney yet again wasn’t bad enough, I was forced to endure the broadcast in poorly translated French juxtaposed with the original English telecast, making for a cacophony of sounds that resembled Ozzy Osborne-speak and was barely comprehensible, but then again, who the hell cares because who really listens to what anyone is saying anyway, right? While the e! channel has been satiating my appetite for American popular culture abroad, their awards ceremony coverage is lacking both in language – why the dubbing? Contrary to popular belief, the French are indeed capable of reading subtitles – and substance – Ryan Seacrest has proven himself to be an idiot in any language.
However, I was pleased with the results of the Awards Ceremony itself. I’m thrilled that Crash won for best picture – it was a wonderful ensemble comedy that has unfortunately been overshadowed by the cowboy craze this season. An important film which deals with real issues without trying too hard to be political, Crash’s different storylines neatly come together to create a coherent, entertaining cinematic experience. I’m also quite pleased with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s win for Capote, not only because of our “moment” just a few weeks ago in Berlin, but also because he is one of America’s greatest contemporary actors and gave a perfect performance in a role ostensibly created just for him. I’m also happy about Reese Witherspoon winning for Walk the Line – she was able to shed her Legally Blonde image and become a very believable June Carter. What is it with this girl? Could her life be more perfect? She just won an Oscar, she’s officially the highest paid actress in Hollywood (she’s reportedly getting $29 million for her next film, more than Julia Roberts receives), she’s married to Ryan Philippe and has two of the most beautiful, angelic children I’ve ever seen, not to mention the fact that she’s a natural blond. In fact, I’ll take Ryan and the paycheck, you can have the rest dear. I’m glad Clooney won, mostly because he’s been overlooked at pretty much every other awards ceremony this season and has made cinema history by re-introducing political films to mainstream audiences. While he was terrific in Syriana (I had nightmares about the fingernail removing scene for weeks), I think Paul Giamatti’s performance in Cinderella Man has not been given nearly enough praise, not to mention that the film was pretty much forgotten this awards season though it remains, in my opinion, one of the top films of the year. Again, happy about Rachel Weisz’ win for The Constant Gardener, another one of my favorite films of the year. Though I’m not at all surprised that, in this, the year of the Gay Cowboy, Ang Lee walked away with the award for Best Director, though I must say I am disappointed. I think Munich was an incredible feat, and Spielberg’s work has gone virtually unrecognized this year both at the US box office and by the Academy. The fact that Eric Bana wasn’t nominated for Best Actor is outrageous. I’m pleased with Crash for Best Original Screenplay and Brokeback Mountain for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. And, bien sur, props to those crazy penguins for giving France something to celebrate as The March of the Penguins picked up Best Documentary.
As for the fashion, in sum, I think that Michelle Williams looked like she got attacked by a canary, Charlize Theron clearly forgot to change out of her Aeon Flux costume, Rachel Weisz was tastefully stunning, Jennifer Aniston looked sullen as usual in a boring black number, Diane Kruger, beautiful enough to have worn a paper bag and still have been stunning, was wearing my pick for favorite dress at the ceremony, Felicity Huffman was audacious, but still classy (unlike Teri Hatcher’s attempt to be 25 again at the SAG awards), Reese Witherspoon not only found her dress in Paris, but she actually bought it – yes, paid money for it and now owns it, what an unfamiliar concept in Hollywood these days – so I am, in turn, a fan, Kiera Knightley looked like a mermaid, a pretty mermaid, but still, I vaguely recall the Oscars being presented on land this year, Dolly Parton looked like – well, what really can I say here? I think the woman answers for herself, I loved Uma Thurman’s dress (and her performance in Prime by the way, which I just saw yesterday, what an underrated film), I thought Nicole Kidman looked a little stiff, but still divine, and Naomi Watts looked like she got attacked by King Kong’s less aggressive cousin on the way over, and I loved both Jessica Alba’s gold number and Salma Hayek’s striking teal dress.

Word of the Day: tar·ra·did·dle also tar·a·did·dle (tr-ddl)
1. A petty falsehood; a fib.
2. Silly pretentious speech or writing; twaddle.

Quote of the Day: "The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."
Alfred Hitchcock.

Pastry of the Day: Baba au Rhum

“According to many sources, Polish Prince Stanislas Leczinski, King Louis XV's father-in-law, introduced this cake while he was in exile and living in Nancy. Popular legend says that the Prince found the cake too dry and so he doused it with some of the rum he had been drinking. It was so good, he gave the command that he would only have his cake this way and he christened it Ali-Baba, in honor of his favorite hero from the Arabian Nights. The baba was introduced in Paris in the 1800's by a pastry cook, named Sthorer. He developed the practice of making his babas in advance and then brushing them with rum as they were sold. They quickly became the rage in Paris and Sthorer's fortune was made. He later developed the method of immersing the babas in a rum syrup.” The Baba au Rhum at Allard is particularly delicious, resembling a large French doughnut doused in rum – can you imagine anything more healthy?


bostonjane said...

Do you know of any english-speaking parisian estheticians who are seasoned in the profession and would be willing to allow me to shadow/apprentice with them this summer while I am in the city in late July? I would appreciate any connection that you could make!

Clare Gupta said...

Ah-hem, Leff while I agree almost 100% with your oscar comments, you have forgotten one very important award! That being Best Animated film, which rightfully went again to the makers of "Wallace and Grommit--the Curse of the Were-Rabbit", an absolutely amazing and delightfully funny feat of claymation. Cracking toast, grommit!

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, you seem to have a very well put together blog here!

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