Phony bologna . . .Like many of you, I sat down on Sunday evening to watch the seventy-eighth annual Academy Awards. I was really disappointed. The big moments were few and far between, Jon Stewart didn’t find his comedic groove until after the 3-6 Mafia won the award for best song and loosened everyone up, and the dearth of meaningful social commentary (where are you now, Shasheen Littlefeather?) which we come to rely on Hollywood’s liberal elite to provide was noticeably absent, despite George Clooney’s thinly veiled Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech.
What was up with Charlize Theron’s dress? She was wearing some big hat on her left shoulder strap? Horrible.
Salma Hayek and Nicole Kidman (please eat something Nicole, please) looked less than comfy in their gowns, and I usually count on them to be styling.
Jennifer Aniston looked nervous and tight-mouthed, clearly uncomfortable with Stewart’s Angelina Jolie references in the monologue, but she gets my award for best performance. Showing up was classy, and she looked AMAZING. Second best performance was Rachel Weisz’s speech, which was charming and warm. And she deserved her award for The Constant Gardener, a killer performance in a great movie.
My wife pointed out how easy it is for guys to look good at these things, a tux is a tux after all . . .but some wear it better than others. Clooney looked awesome, as did Jake Gyllenhall, but someone needs to get the guys to drop the combo tux and long tie look. Travolta looked like a clown, Stewart’s jacket didn’t fit, and Morgan Freeman’s ascot and velveteen blazer was horribly inappropriate.
If Dolly Parton has one more face lift it will have to be caesarian. She was the scariest thing I have seen on TV since Creature Features went off the air! Second scariest was uber-actress Frances McDormand . . .I get it, you are the anti-Hollywood star, but sitting next to your hubby, when the camera panned over as your name was read from the podium, you looked like you hadn’t showered in a week! And if you combed your hair, we could even excuse the no-makeup look. But do something!!!
Finally, by 9:30 when the 3-6 Mafia won for their song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from the phenomenal movie Hustle and Flow, followed by Tsotsi winning Best Foreign Language Film, and then Philip Seymour Hoffman’s touching speech after winning Best Actor, it looked like things were headed in the right direction. The tempo quickened, the feelings seemed genuine, and the emotion was erupting from the TV. But then Reese Witherspoon's buzz killed it with a saccharine acceptance speech and I lost all interest and was in bed faster than you can say Crash. A disappointing night of meteoric proportions. Where was the outrage, the candor, the funny jokes? Ugh. Aside from the montage (and there were way too many of those) of the old cowboy movies with the homoerotic sub-references, there was nearly nothing to laugh out loud at all night, unless you count Theron’s dress, McDormand, Parton, etc., etc.
And by the way, Jordan Smith, Anoush Ansari, and Hadi Akbar’s chef and partner at Mission American Kitchen has left the company. Smith told me that the job demands changed on him recently, that the money partners requested he work more shifts and longer hours, something he had a handshake agreement on when he took the job. Smith, a longtime industry vet, will be missed—he’s a class act. E-mails to Mission’s publicist have not been returned as of this writing. More on this later. I think Smith’s leaving is indicative of how hard it is to make a go of it downtown despite Mission’s large numbers of patrons at lunchtime. If you’re not packing them in at dinner five nights a week you are toast.