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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Promising Oscar News

Posted by on January 5 at 14:05 PM

Heroic lefty funnyman Jon Stewart has been announced as the host of this year’s Oscars ceremony.

Here’s hoping the March 5 ceremony will be full-blown culture riot, with Stewart dissing the government from the stage and Academy voters hucking the majority of the gold at the gayest Hollywood film of all time.

Speaking of Brokeback Mountain: I finally saw it, totally loved it, but didn’t tear up until the final credits, over which Willie Nelson sang one of my all-time favorite Bob Dylan songs, “He Was A Friend of Mine,” which turned me into a puddle.

And while I somewhat agree with the Stranger forum writer who took exception to the wispy guitar interludes of the soundtrack—it’s true, these piddling acoustic texture-washes turned the guys’ summer of hard work and isolation into a bucolic romantic wonderland—there are two reasons I don’t agree.

First, the pair’s summer of hard work and isolation was a bucolic romantic wonderland, one that haunted each of the men for the rest of their lives. And while it may have been a richer artistic choice to show the guys’ love flourish against a harsh natural background unsoftened by soundtrack elements, there have been a million and one richly artistic movies made about gay lives, but exactly zero mainstream, crowd-pleasing films that present same-sex love as romantically ravishing as other-sex love, with all the lingering mist and overdone underscoring that entails, until now.

Hurrah, now throw some Oscars at Heath Ledger, Ang Lee, Michelle Williams, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, and whoever the hell the cinematographer is. (But mostly Heath Ledger, who’s fucking amazing. Sorry, Philip Seymour Hoffman, you must remain a bridesmaid for another year…)

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Oscars all around for the Brokeback Gang! How can it not happen? Those Academy voters love to make themselves feel better by recognizing "Other" roles (Tom Hanks-gay, Daniel Day-Lewis-disabled, Hillary Swank-gay, Charlize Theron-gay, insane AND fat [for Hollywood], Jamie Foxx- blind AND black, etc, etc).

I agree with Mr. Schmader about the music. Brokeback Mountain is Eden, Paradise, Ideal for Jack and Ennis. The music is appropriate.

The cinematographer for BBM was Rodrigo Prieto, probably best known for working with Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros), as well as working on 25th Hour and 8 Mile. He's pretty fantastic, IMO.

Whenever there is a movie with as much critical praise as "Brokeback Mountain," there is always a backlash: It wasn't as good as the hype. It was boring and long.

But that's what film is. It's an exhibition and everyone gets to have their own reaction to it. I, too, wept and not until the movie's end, more so on the ride home. It moved me in the best way a film can - when one realizes this is what film can be! This is what film can do!

And little Heath Ledger, who was being groomed as another film boy toy du jour, turns in a performance that is so multi-layered and classy (we saw a bit of that in "Monster's Ball") as to put him in the strata of film acting deity.

Others may disagree but I don't care. I know what I like and I know what's good.

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