The Daily film staff picks
their 2006 winners
The history of hosts
Jon Stewart brings
youthful appeal to the Oscars.
By Andrew Bielak j Daily Arts Writer
SHOULD WIN "Brokeback
Night and Good Luck"
or all its advanced
and overly com-
plex critical discus-
sions, the Academy
itself doesn't exactly
carry its weight in
SHOULD WIN Ang Lee
will win Philip Seymour Hoffman
SHOULD WIN Philip Seymour Hoffman
SHOULD WIN Charlize Theron
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
the entertainment department. Despite the
best efforts of organizers in bringing it up
a notch on the coolness scale, the Acad-
emy Awards has consistently seemed
about as hip as Jessica Tandy attempting
Nevertheless, if there is one human
being with the potential to turn a plodding,
multi-hour extravaganza into a breezy,
fun-filled evening, it has to be the Oscar
host. Undertaking what has been called
the "toughest gig in show business," the
comedian who has been bestowed with
this blessing and curse has the responsi-
bility of creating life in the driest desert
on earth. Through their extraordinary
gifts, these high priests have the poten-
tial to work miracles and bring joy to the
millions of eager Americans hoping for
something better from their film industry.
Unfortunately, things haven't always
gone so well. With a general tendency to
fall below expectations, our Oscar hosts
have rarely had the requisite skill-set to
inject the ceremony with a concept largely
unknown among attendees: entertainment.
The quintessential Hopper is David Let-
terman, whose most memorable moment
in his 1995 stint consisted of the repetition
of the first names of Uma Thurman and
Oprah Winfrey. Apart from the age three
to seven demographic, whose advanced
intellects help them understand the humor
value of similar-sounding words, critics
and audiences alike found Letterman's
performance agonizingly inept.
Things haven't always been so bad.
Bob Hope, the paramount Oscar host,
took the stage repeatedly throughout the
'50s, '60s and '70s with interrupted suc-
cess, until audiences realized that he had
been replaced by an animatronic body-
double. Billy Crystal, the unabashed star
of the '90s Oscars, won over audiences
on numerous instances through a series of
absurdly over-the-top routines that actu-
ally made sense approximately three per-
cent of the time.
What made these comedians so popu-
lar in this role was not simply their sense
of humor but the manner in which they
treated their audience. Unlike those of us
who see Hollywood's biggest night as an
unredeemable exercise in self-absorption
worthy of our eternal scorn and ridicule,
the Oscar's best hosts always maintained
a sense of fondness and respect for the
industry, regardless of how much they
delighted in skewering it.
With choices like Chris Rock and Jon
Stewart as the respective hosts in 2005
and 2006, the event's producers seem to
be aiming for an edgier ceremony that can
bring in an increased youth demographic.
Stewart, host of "The Daily Show" and
pop-culture messiah for millions of col-
lege students and 20-somethings, is an
intriguing choice for a few reasons.
Apart from the overtly political
nature of his humor (and his ability to
reach beyond the typical Hollywood
depth of "Bush is a terrorist" in his
critiques), there is the fact that many
of Stewart's best jokes involve tearing
down moneyed, pompous organizations
like Hollywood. In contrast to previ-
ous hosts, Stewart conceals no sense of
affection underneath his layers of ridi-
cule. So while it seems assured that his
trademark panache will instill a sense of
amusement into a ceremony where it is
generally in short supply, it remains to
be seen whether his acidic wit will jive
well with the sensitive, preening group
of celebrities seated in front of him. In
short, success is no guarantee - even
for a demigod like Stewart.
So to all you hopefuls out there, wait-
ing for the day when you can use your
comedic skills to take Hollywood's
biggest night by storm, remember this
much - hostin' ain't easy. It's a com-
plex, difficult world, filled with high
expectations and low performance lev-
els, dry mouths and sweaty palms and
multiple lame references to Brangelina.
But with a whole lot of dedication and
a little bit of luck, perhaps one day you
can become the host we've all been
waiting for - because you wouldn't
just be hosting for yourself - you'd be
hosting for America.
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Jon Stewart, anchorman of "The Daily Show," will host the 78th Academy Aw
SHOULD WIN George Clooney
SCREENPLAY will win
Great Oscar moments
of the past 20 years
By Imra. n Syed / Daily Arts Writer
SHOULD WIN "Match Point"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
"The Constant Gardener"
"A History oViolence"
"The Constant Gardener"
Best of the Rest
Recapping the less
By Amanda Andrade and Jeffrey Bloomer
Castle" are deserving nominees, but
expect a victory for the universally
adored "Wallace & Gromit in the
Curse of the Were-Rabbit."
Though "Good Night, and Good
Luck" boasted beautifully innovative
cinematography, "Brokeback Moun-
tain's" achingly beautiful landscape
shots deserve the trophy - not to men-
tion the film's tremendous momentum
will almost certainly ensure its vic-
This is a race between lacklus-
ter films, "Pride & Prejudice" and
"Memoirs of a Geisha," both of
which featured splendid costuming.
If the Academy's typically political
voting scheme prevails, however,
"Walk the Line" may end up with
The audience favorite "March of
the Penguins" is nominated after a
box office streak this summer, but
"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the
Room" has tremendous buzz and
Perennial Oscar favorite John Williams
penned a wonderfully evocative score for
"Memoirs of a Geisha," but the lack of
industry acclaim for the film will hurt his
chances. The Academy will try to reward
"Brokeback Mountain" in every category
they can, and the soundtrack is a flawless
compliment to the film.
Foreign Language Film
Though we won't pretend to have
seen any of these films, South Africa's
"Tsotsi" would appear to be the favor-
ite. We'll get on seeing that, and you
should come. Popcorn's on us.
1993 - Steven Spielberg avoids becoming the next Mar-
tin Scorsese (the greatest director to never win an Oscar).
Though he was 0-4 in his first four attempts at the best
director award, he finally wins for "Schindler's List." Spiel-
berg would go on to win the award again in 1999 for "Sav-
ing Private Ryan" and is nominated this year for "Munich."
1995 - Having won the previous year for "Philadelphia,"
Tom Hanks becomes the first in history to win back-to-back
best actor awards for his title role in "Forrest Gump." Opt-
ing to avoid the sentimental nature of his previous speech,
Hanks declared, "I think if I'm nominated for anything next
year, there'll be a wave of suicide jumpers from the third
tier of the Chandler Pavilion." Oddly enough, his acclaimed
performance in "Apollo 13" the next year did not garner a
1997 - Best support-
ing actor winner Cuba
Gooding Jr. goes a little
long in his acceptance
speech, but screams over
the sound of building
music, determined to finish
. 1997 - The most expensive movie ever made and the
highest-grossing film of all time, "Titanic," tied the record
with 14 nominations (Jim Mullen of Entertainment Weekly
joked that the film received one nomination for each life-
boat). The James Cameron helmed epic went on to win a
record-tying 11 awards.
1999 - An ecstatic Roberto Benigni leaps, jumps
and twirls his way onto the stage in perhaps the most
authentically exuberant acceptance ever. Benigni
became the first actor in a non-English-language role
to win the best actor award, and his "Life
is Beautiful" was also named best foreign
2004 - Long to be remem-
bered as one of the most
successful night for a sin-
gle film in Oscar history,
"The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King"
wins every one of the 11
awards for which it is nom-
inated, including best director
(Peter Jackson) and best picture.
Alright, entertainment journalists
haven't scrambled to deconstruct the
race for best animated short and your
Oscar betting party probably won't
put high stakes on the best cinema-
tography contest, but there's more to
the Academy Awards than just the
big ones. Here's a look at some of
the Oscar races that too often
Best Animated Feature
The brilliantly macabre "Tim
Burton's Corpse Bride" and Hayao
Miyazaki's lyrical "Howl's Moving
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