What I wanted to see at the Oscars

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

Do you think there is cause for the other songs nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song to bring up a complaint against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? I mean this about the way they were treated at the 85th Oscar Awards.

The ceremonies, held last Sunday, aired live locally by the Velvet channel on Monday morning, had pop star Adele performing her nominated song Skyfall live. She looked and sounded great and the song was named winner shortly after. Skyfall became the first theme from a James Bond film to win an Oscar.

Now, the live performance of the Best Song nominees is traditionally one of the highlights of the Oscar show. But nobody performed Before My Time from Chasing Ice by Scarlett and Joshua Bell and Pi’s Lullaby by Bombay Jayshee from Life of Pi. Everybody Needs A Friend from Ted had Norah Jones but knowing Nora’s style, hers was no powerhouse turn compared to Adele’s.

Adele , Hugh Jackman

Another nominated song was Suddenly, Hugh Jackman’s new song from Les Miserables. I don’t think Les Miz should join in the complaint though because the film’s cast got to perform a long, medley of stirring songs from the show in the big tribute to the musical number. The sensational Catherine Zeta-Jones sang and kicked up her heels to All That Jazz from Chicago in that one, too. And so did Jennifer Hudson, lovelier and many pounds lighter with her memorable You’re Gonna Love Me from Dream Girls.

Come to think of it, there is also cause for the other Best Picture nominees to complain about Les Miz getting preferential treatment in the show. The evening was touted as a tribute to the musical and unfortunately for them, Les Miz was the only musical in the running. Of course, I do not think that anybody should blame the producers or anybody about that.

Having lots of songs at one’s disposal makes for a great show. Besides, Hollywood has always loved musicals and has made no secret of wanting to bring the genre back to the top of the box-office and the awards derby again. So there is always big rejoicing whenever a musical becomes a box-office hit like what happened with Les Miz or with Chicago some years ago.

I think I should complain though, because if you say you are honoring musicals then I expect a lot more than that. An American In Paris, Gigi, My Fair Lady, The Sound Of Music, West Side Story, Oliver were all Oscar Best Picture winners. I wanted those memories, but the tribute that the audience got came across as how shall I say it, half-hearted.

Well, they got Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum to dance like Fred and Ginger. Nice. Barbra Streisand came to sing the 1973 winner The Way We Were live in honor of the departed composer Marvin Hamlisch. And it was beautiful. So was Shirley Bassey, the British pop diva singing her iconic recording of Goldfinger from the 1964 James Bond flick. And this brings me to another half-hearted or tentative moment.

The Oscars also commemorated 50 years of James Bond. Introduced by Academy Award-winning Bond Girl Halle Berry was a montage of clips from the films set mostly to the tune of the James Bond theme. The highlight of the number was Bassey’s rendition of Goldfinger. Great. But maybe they could have also included Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker both also by Bassey. She was the only artist in history who got to do three songs for Bond.

Still thinking like or dreaming I am the show’s producer. Don’t you think it would have been even better if they also got Sheena Easton to do For Your Eyes Only or Carly Simon for Nobody Does It Better or the dreamiest of all, Paul McCartney for Live And Let Die.

Still on the James Bond tribute and because there was earlier in the show this line-up of superheroes from The Avengers movie. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Samuel L. Jackson were there to present an award together. It would have been nice if all of the movie Bonds had been present. Just think even if only standing on stage, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and George Lazenby would have brought the house down.

I still have a lot of what if’s in my head but the Oscars still made for an entertaining show. I like it that there were surprises like Argo for Best Picture and Ang Lee for Life of Pi. The stage was beautiful. So was Michelle Obama joining in from the White House. And I am beginning to finally like Ben Affleck. That was a quite a heartfelt acceptance speech.










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