Lost in all the discussion about "Titanic's" phenomenal Oscar-night performance (it won 11 Academy Awards, tying the record with 1959's "Ben Hur") is the fact that James Cameron's $200-million epic won more Oscars than Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant and Charlie Chaplin combined in their entire careers.
Karl Van Asselt, who writes the "No Kidding?" column for World Features Syndicate, has compiled a list of some prominent actors and filmmakers who never won Oscars (excluding honorary wins), which includes Hitchcock, Grant and Chaplin, as well as Cecil B. DeMille, Peter Sellers, Edward G. Robinson, Errol Flynn and Greta Garbo.Hmm. Are we sensing a pattern yet? Not to say that "Titanic" was undeserving of its Oscars in the technical achievement fields (such as Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design), but giving a 194-minute film a Best Editing award seems like a real stretch, to put it mildly.
Before I'm bombarded by hate e-mail missives from all the "Titanic" and Leonardo DiCaprio fans out there, it is worth noting that I did enjoy the movie (I even gave it a three-star review).
But is this really the greatest movie of all time? It's certainly the most expensive (at least for now), and definitely the most successful at the box office . . . until the next "Star Wars" trilogy hits theaters.
- THE LAST WORD ON THE LAST WORD ON OSCARS: At least one reader seems to have misinterpreted or misunderstood the final paragraph of my story on Monday's Oscar telecast.
For those who didn't read it (shame on you!), the last couple of lines stated that "the event was marred by . . . some self-congratulatory bits, such as the Oscar `family snapshot' that seemed to drag on for at least 15 minutes."
That's not to say that it wasn't a nice gesture on the part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it means that this sequence should have been done earlier on in the telecast - or better still, in a separate special that could have treated the subject of previous Oscar winners more in-depth (like including interviews with them).
Of course, that special could also include longer clips of previous acceptance speeches and other noteworthy Oscar moments, which were also addressed too casually and dismissed too quickly during this year's ceremonies.
- FROM THE NYAH-NYAH-NYAH DEPARTMENT: Nobody likes a bad winner, but after the amount of grief I took from co-workers and Oscar-watchers over my predictions for this year's Academy Awards, I feel vindicated by what happened Monday night.
For the record, I was right on five of my six predictions, with my from-the-heart guess that Joan Cusack would win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar being the only gaffe. So at the risk of sounding smug: I told you so.
And yes, this sudden case of the smarts doesn't come close to making up for last year (an abyssmal four out of 10). It's just nice to be so right. Almost too nice (see below).
- FROM THE OOPS-I-GOOFED DEPARTMENT: Getting back to the subject of Deseret News readers, a couple of them chided me for an incorrect statement in last week's column, which addressed some anachronisms, and factual and continuity errors in the movie "Titanic."
According to the "goofs" subheading for the "Titanic" listing on the Internet Movie Database Web site, the dime Rose (Kate Winslet) gives to Jack (DiCaprio) to sketch her au naturel is a Barber dime, which was minted between 1892-1916.
So for what it's worth, I was wrong, or at least guilty of not checking out the story well enough. But for all those who haven't joined the " `Titanic' Apologists Club" (and there are a lot of you out there), it might be worth checking out the movie database site (http://uk.imdb.com/search.html) to see just how many mistakes there are in the film.
- OSCAR-WINNING QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I used to spend many nights on the floor with my father watching old '30s and '40s and '50s movies, and would question me . . . about Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston and John Huston. So, by the time I actually left (home) at age 17, I had a pretty good background in film."- Kim Basinger, winner of the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her work in "L.A. Confidential." Basinger also thanked her father during her acceptance speech
- FILMMAKING QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I just couldn't do a whole action movie. When I imagine a movie, I imagine characters. I don't imagine all of these action sequences and hanging a narrative within that." - Richard Linklater, co-scripter and director of "The Newton Boys," now playing in theaters