10 HOUSTON VOICE/ MARCH 29. 1996
And the winner is. ...
Academy Awards recap and Voice Oscar Contest wrap-up
By JAVIER TAMEZ
For the record: Not only did I cough-up
$50 to the as-yet-to-be-revealed winner
of the Houston Voice Oscar Contest, I
also blew an additional $45 on bets that
The Postman ($25) and Babe ($20) would
be shut out at the 68th Annual Academy
Awards. (OK, Jon. next year we split the
critical half of the contest prize money.)
When all was said and done, more different movies than at any time in memory—
11—had finished the evening with an
Oscar. Seven different films won one
each, while four others each took two. And
the big winner of the evening with a meager (compared to previous big winners)
five awards was Braveheart. Mel Gibson's glorious Scottish independence
epic was named Best Picture in an evening
filled not only with unexpected winners
and Oscar surprises but wonderfully
full of touchy, teary-eyed moments as
Whoopi Goldberg did a great job as
emcee. She met Jesse Jackson and his
moronic protest head-on. and she also
struck a blow for lifting the awards ceremony from political gestures (fat
chance!) by saying she had received so
many ribbons to wear, for so many causes,
that she wouldn't hear of concealing her
brand new, expensive dress under them.
Whether by coincidence or design,
Goldberg's stance set the tone, as fewer
than a dozen presenters/recipients
were bedecked with red ribbons.
Goldberg congratulated Alec Baldwin for being acquitted of assault charges
against one of those intruding papar-
such is LIFE!
azzi, and she took aim at Charlie Sheen and
Hugh Grant and the things they've paid for.
Goldberg's unfettered aplomb and good-
natured humor served as a nice contrast to
the evening's heartstring-tugging
moments, and there were plenty of them.
Mira Sorvino gave a glowing salute to her
father Paul Sorvino, who wept with pride
in the audience. Kirk Douglas stood tall
and strong despite slurred speech from a
recent stroke as he accepted a Lifetime
Achievement Award. Pointing out his
four sons and his wife in the audience,
Douglas said they're "proud of the old
man." From their seats, the fours sons all
cried, while Mrs. Douglas veritably
balled (and completely ruined her makeup in the process).
But the evening most special moment
came when Christopher Reeve, appearing as resplendent and handsome as ever,
appeared center stage to introduce a
montage of clips from social impact films.
A few seconds of stunned silence was followed by a standing ovation of nearly two
minutes, as the audience, many of them
wiping away tears, acknowledged the
tremendous courage of one of their own.
It was a classic Oscar moment and years
from now, it will be recalled as one of those
special moments that makes the Oscars so
The ceremony had its flatter and lighter
moments too, of course. Jackie Chan and
Kareem Abdul-Jaabar presented the
awards for Live Action Short and Animated Short, and the two together just
stank. Their jokes were bad and made all the
worse by their delivery. It was a perfect
time to run to the restroom.
Sharon Stone, looking like a million
bucks in her basic black off-the-rack attire
(black t-shirt from The Gap, with a fitted,
long black coat and a black skirt which she
already had hanging in her closet), gets
the cool-under-pressure award. She was
presenting the awards for Original
Score-Comedy/Musical and Original
Score-Drama along with telecast producer Quincy Jones. The two got through
the award just fine, but after reading
through the nominees for Dramatic
Score, they discovered there was no
envelope. While Jones ran off backstage
to find out whose name should be
announced as winner. Stone remained at
the podium and asked the audience for a
"psychic moment," so they could all
learn the name of the winner. "It's coming to me," Stone quipped, and Jones
walked up and whispered the winner's
name in her ear.
Stone's pointed rebuff of fashion
designers yearning to have their creations showcased in front of a billion-
strong television audience did not
carry over to others at the ceremony.
Black was not as ubiquitous on the women
as it has been in recent years. Browns—
Anjelica Huston, Susan Sarandon, Sandra Bullock—were present in various
shades. And pinks—Elisabeth Shue,
Christine Lahti, Kate Winslet—made a
Tradition was the rule of thumb for the
men as well. Bow ties were back in a big way,
outnumbering the tieless collars by
two-to-one, but Jim Carrey and Jimmy
Smits low-balled the affair by wearing
neckties. Kevin Spacey looked particularly dashing in a white lux, but Gibson
had the best thematic tux: the fabric for
the vest used his family tartan, and he
wore a sword pin on his lapel. It was all very
Besides Best Picture and Best Director
accolades for Gibson, Braveheart
also garnered awards for Cinematography, Sound Effects Editing and Makeup.
Best Actor Nicholas Cage ("Leaving
Las Vegas"), Best Actress Susan Sarandon ( Dead Man Walking ) and Best Supporting Actress Mira Sorvino ( Mighty
Aphrodite ) picked up the only awards for
their respective films.
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey ( The
Usual Suspects ) was one of two award-
winners for that film, as Christopher
McQuarrie took the Original Screenplay for penning the complex crime
story. Other double winners were:
Apollo 13 for Editing and Sound; Pocahontas for Original Score-Musical/
Comedy and Original Song (Disney
sings again); and Restoration which
scooped up Art Direction and Costume
Design (does it count that I never actually
saw this one?).
Other single winners were: Sense and
Sensibility (Adapted Screenplay), The
Postman (Original Score-Drama) and
Babe (Visual Effects).
With only a 45% accuracy rate, it was the
worst year ever for my personal predictions (and I've been doing this for almost 20
years now). Not everyone was plagued by
cloudy crystal halls though. Readers
Aaron Coleman, Peter Krespan and
Tracy Nelson all correctly predicted 14
out of 20 winners. But only one of them can
claim the prize.
And the winner is Tracy Nelson !
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