Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Tube Talk: Make (Oscar) Love, Not War

Make (Oscar) Love, Not War: the 2003 Oscars Show reviewed

By John Forde

It’s Hollywood’s annual night of trash – a gratuitious love-in where ageing movie stars and the hottest young surgically enhanced starlets converge to worship their own inflated egos. The dresses, the awards, the losing nominees smiling through their teeth as they clap and think silently, “Why did that talentless bitch win?” – naturally, it makes for a great four hours of TV viewing.

Celebrity stylists everywhere almost lost their livelihood this year, as Oscar organisers announced the red carpet parade would be pared back out of respect to the war in Iraq. A nice thought – but who are they kidding? Asking Hollywood to be tasteful and restrained is like asking George Dubya Bush not to sleep with a rifle under his pillow.

Sure enough, the red carpet was in place –but celebrity guests chose mostly toned-down attire. No scary pictures of Gwyneth with saggy boobies and panda-eyes in Alexander McQueen this year – actresses wore mainly black (Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman), black-and-white (a gorgeous Salma Hayek) or pastels (Marcia Gay Harden in turquoise, Diane Lane and Halle Berry in gold, Hilary Swank in pink), with only redhead Julianne Moore breaking out in green.

With the exception of the fabulously busty duo Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah (singing I Move On from Chicago), cleavage was largely non-existent, or strategically engineered to give as little offence as possible.

Worst dressed was undoubtedly Renee Zellweger – wearing a red doily that accentuated her flat chested and seriously emaciated frame. Someone get that girl back on a Bridget Jones diet of hamburgers and red wine – pronto!

Host Steve Martin wasted no time in cutting through the crap – taking in the hideously tacky 80s Solid Gold set and sneering, “Well, thank God they cut down on the glitz!” Martin was a refreshingly pert and cynical presence amid a tedious first hour. “There are no losers yet in this room,” he declared, “But we’re about to change all that!”

Still, the first winners were predictable enough. Chris Cooper for Best Supporting Orchid Thief with No Front Teeth – check. Best Visual Effects for the makers of Gollum in Lord of the Rings – check. A glowing Catherine Zeta-Jones for Best Supporting Ambitious Showgirl – check. (OK, so Catherine was kinda cute – as she accepted her award from “her Scotsman” Sean Connery, she seemed genuinely moved – and more Welsh-accented than she’s sounded in years).

Things really picked up when Bowling For Columbine director Michael Moore, Best Documentary Oscar in hand, bravely slagged off President Bush for launching a “fictional” war. “Shame on you!” he bellowed, as the startled audience booed and cheered by turns. Moore may never work in Hollywood again, but he sure knows how to fire up a party!

From there, things got more and more chaotic – Barbra Streisand presenting the Best Song award to an absent Eminem, Olivia de Havilland being exhumed to introduce a line-up of fellow geriatric Oscar winners, and Meryl Streep French-kissing honorary Oscar recipient Peter O’Toole.

A teary Nicole and her prosthetic honker won Best Actress, while somewhere on location in rural New Zealand, Tom Cruise kicked himself. That’ll teach you, Tommy, you soulless homewrecker!

But shock Best Actor winner Adrien Brody was the man of the night – managing to be both sleazy (planting a kiss on Halle Berry), endearing (by bringing his mother as his date) and eloquent (by hushing up the orchestra to deliver an empassioned peace speech). Well, his agent will be having a good night!

Another surprise winner was Roman Polanski, who took the Best Director gong for The Pianist. Eight-time losing nominee Martin Scorcese, looking like Grumpy the Dwarf in a tuxedo, lead the standing ovation for Polanski, who hasn’t been in America since fleeing a rape charge in the 1970s. But that’s the charming unfairness of Hollywood – talented criminals are applauded with open arms, and talentless hos like J. Lo gets to wear apple green eyeshadow and marry Ben Affleck.

In a year of peace protests and an uncharacteristically sober, flat-chested line-up of Best Film nominees, the breezy Chicago took out top honours. Maybe The Hours was a better film, but Chicago celebrates everything that America does best – tits, teeth, escapism and getting away with murder. If it’s good enough for Bush…

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news