Fans of classic horror movies were dancing in the streets from Karloffornia to Transylvania when THE SHAPE OF WATER won the Oscar for Best Picture last night! After 90 long years, a genre-themed film was given the Academy’s top honor. Guillermo Del Toro, a lifelong fantasy and classic film fan, also received an Oscar as Best Director (and quoted Jimmy Cagney in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY in his acceptance speech!). Coincidentally, last night was the anniversary of the birth of William Alland , producer of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, which served as an inspiration for THE SHAPE OF WATER. Somewhere in Hollywood heaven, Mr. Alland, director Jack Arnold, stars Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Nestor Paiva, and Ben Chapman are all beaming with pride! (Happily, Julie Adams and Riccou Browning are still with us to join in the celebration).
More Oscar ramblings:
*The opening sequence, mixing old & new black and white footage, was a nice touch, as were the montage segments preceding the Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting presentations, brief though they were.
*Speaking of brevity, the show ran about three hours and forty-five minutes, way too long. Much as I enjoy Jimmy Kimmel as host (who even joked about the length of the Awards), maybe if they cut out some of the comedy bits, we film fans could get some sleep before Monday arrives!.
*Classic film buffs got a treat when 1954’s Best Supporting Actress winner Eva Marie Saint appeared to give out the award for Best Costume Design. The delightful Miss Saint had the line of the night: “I just realized something… I’m older than the Academy!” (She’s 93 years young)
*Sorry, but Mark Hamill looked like shit, even in a tux. What happened, Luke Skywalker ? Sandra Bullock, on the other hand, is still a hottie far as I’m concerned!
*Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay for GET OUT, another horror film. It was a great night for my favorite genre! Bravo, Jordan!
*89-year-old James Ivory, who has been making movies since 1953, won the Best Adapted Screenplay for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Bravo, James!
*Another veteran filmmaker, cinematographer Roger Deakins, finally copped an Oscar after 14 tries for BLADE RUNNER 2049. About damn time!
*Being the 90th anniversary of Oscar, I expected more classic film tributes than I got. Which brings me to the “In Memoriam” segment. Though Eddie Vedder did a fine job singing the late Tom Petty’s “Room at the Top” over the montage, once again the Academy omitted some true giants of the field. For instance, where was Anne Jeffreys? Tobe Hooper? Not to mention Lola Albright, William Peter Blatty, Don Pedro Colley, Don Gordon, Skip Homeier, Elena Verdugo, and so many others who contributed to the history of cinema? (For a more comprehensive list, click to my post IN MEMORIAM 2017: FILM & TELEVISION )
That’s all for now. See you at next year’s Oscars!